Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What Changes....

Why is it when the kindergartners see the big orange bus coming down the street they continue to sit atop the snow mountain they are playing on and give you that "deer in your headlights" kinda look? You slowly roll up to their stop...one car behind you, a garbage truck heading towards you a block ahead. The kindergartners are still staring at you...then Mom appears in the doorway screaming "Johnny! The bus is here! Go get on it"... and off they go running--- but not towards the bus, back towards the house where Mommy is yelling because they can't hear what she's saying... and she grabs them and starts them back off towards the bus...now 3 cars stopped behind you and the garbage truck stopped in front of you... but all of a sudden they need one more kiss-kiss --- and she pushes them off again and then you know what starts? The WADDLE..... no longer can they run like they did back to the house.... they're bundled up... heavy boots, snowpants, snow jacket, big mittens, face mask, hood up over that...scarf around the neck and heavy backpack dragging them down. You've now sat with your flashing lights on, door open a full 2 minutes... the people behind start to rev their engines, the garbage truck driver is ready to pounce and up the steps they come...and you think "whew"... but forget what comes next.. .the big search for the perfect seat which they can barely get into because of the large sized backpack attached....finally, you can close the door and let the traffic through hoping the garbage man doesn't flip you the bird since you've now made him late on his route. During your next route, you see a different kind of loading scenario...it's junior high kids...all crowded together at the stop, all acting out, hyper from sugar breakfasts, and some pushing the others out onto the street in front of the bus. When you crawl up they all rush the door, pushing the front runners into the glass so you can't even open the door to let them onboard.... they all rush in cluster-style to the BACK of the bus... no problem in finding a seat for those folks. When you get to school, they're all standing before you can even pull up to a stop...anxious to get in the building to see what Katelyn calls the "low-down on what's up?". Then you do your final route of the morning...it's high schoolers and indeed you see another completely different scenario. They don't stand in groups...if there is more than one at a stop they stand aside... solo status... completely zoned out in their headphones... or cell phone conversations. When you crawl up they're glaring at you... almost blaming you that they have to ride your bus rather than have a car of their own to get to school. They're also cranky cuz "Driver, can't you see I'm freezing standing out here cuz I don't have a coat on and I'm not wearing any socks either?" They too have no problem finding a seat...its the one right on top of the rear heaters. There's no chatter on this bus. Modern day technology has ended that.. no need for the bus radio on either. I count as they deboard the bus...23 riders, 21 of them with headphones on or texting or talking on their phones. One of them verbally thanks me for the ride. I wonder to myself...what happened to making friends on the bus? What happened to playing in the snow before I got onboard? and What? Kissing my mom goodbye?

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