Stuck in School Bus Limbo.

ALBERTA 1975-84 (SB) SCHOOL BUS plate and stickersImage by woody1778a via Flickr.

A school bus with flashing crimson lights suddenly appears in front of my car, squeaking in ancient brakeage tongues before creeping to a stop.

“You Move. You lose your phone and radio privileges.”  The bus driver speaks from a microphone.

But I’ve got an itch on my blind side.

To further drive home the point, a satanic red octagon extends from the side of the bus, bearing the silent screaming word, “STOP!”

No more confusion here. Foot meets brake. Foot hates brake and wants to break it off. No such luck. Foot is stuck in a dysfunctional relationship while I wait for the start of the school bus hustle.

It commences with a shriek. One child, now two, then three, bounces down a driveway the length of three football fields, heading toward the school bus with mother tagging behind.

She issues orders. “Hurry up. Don’t fall. Don’t forget your lunch.”

How could they? She cradles three lunch boxes underneath an arm like footballs, a charlatan coach on a Hail Mary run.

The minutes tick by, as the three inch-like forms approach the bus at amoeba speed. Five-minutes later, the children begin the Mt. Everest climb onto the bus, while mother catches up, breathless, her chest heaving, the results of a sedentary life, parallel parked on the couch in TV Land ─ too many Bon-Bons, too little time on the treadmill.

My heartbeat quickens. I anticipate an imminent bus launch from the curb. But wait! There’s more mother.

“The lunch boxes!” she screams. “You forgot the lunch boxes!”

As if there was a remote possibility of that occurring in an unfrozen hell. “Humph,” I grumble, unaware of the diabolical plot soon to unfold.

With the one, two, three sprouts planted in their seats, mother grabs the handle inside the door and hoists herself up onto the bus.
“Oh, God. No!” I scream, a helpless witness to a commuting crime.

Her rear baggage disappears, as she ascends huffing her way up the stairs. Hunched over, gasping, her shadowed form limps down the aisle toward the rear, sucking up seconds, then minutes with each intake of breath. She stops and leans against a seat. In slow motion, she hands out a lunch box to each DNA pod. Then mother says “Goodbye” and heads back to the front, an impossible feat with just her two feet.

Hobbling past the offspring of others, mother approaches the perimeter of the bus driver’s lair. She grabs the handrail and turns. “Shut off your iPod,” she warns. “Or I’ll report you.”

I’m ready to report her to the commuter hit squad. One less parent left at the curb; one less tardy employee paying for stolen time.

The bus driver lifts his arm, his middle-finger extended, throws a shadow across her back. A blunt yet surreptitious gesture, as mother disembarks empty handed from the bus.

The door shuts. The engine revs to a rumble. Red lights blink then stop, as the sign slips back inside the bus.

I release a deep relieving breath. Only ten minutes of my life wasted here. I’ve got more to spare before my midlife downward hyper-spin to the otherworld of indentured teeth, adult Pampers, and car key dementia.

The bus jerks to a start, while mother sloths her way up the driveway dragging one foot behind. She looks to be about thirty-five, stuck amid the harrowing onslaught of motherhood, a precursor to midlife-hood, then down-under-hood where you linger in limbo, sitting in an idling car behind a yellow school bus stuffed with souls, heading toward hell for a serving of their just desserts.

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15 Comments Stuck in School Bus Limbo.

  1. ReformingGeek

    LOL! Freakin' hilarious, Lauren.

    I almost felt sorry for that woman's excessive rearage. I do feel sorry for her DNA pods.

    I seem to always get stuck behind the bus that stops at several houses and NO KIDS EVER GET ON! What's up with that?

  2. Lauren

    Mrs. B: My God. That was you clutching a pint of Bon-Bons. I accept your apology but next time at least toss me a Bon-Bon while I'm asphyxiating from the fumes.

    RF: The excessive rearage slows her down. That's why she can't keep up with the pods.

    You must be stuck behind a haunted bus. Did you ever see the driver? Was he wearing a black hood and holding a scythe?

  3. mommapolitico

    LOL! Imagine how the bus driver must feel! You could not pay me enough to do their job – duty on the front lines!
    Great piece, as always, Lauren. Keep making us laugh – we need it in this crazy world, Girlfriend.

  4. Snuggle Wasteland

    LOL! I agree with mommapolitico – I would NEVER want to be a bus driver. My mom was a teacher for years and she used to say she wouldn't drive a school bus 'without a whip and a chair'.

  5. Lauren

    Hi Greg: Thanks so much. Took me several days to write this last week. I miss the days when I could write endlessly. Yet, it was endlessly for free.

    Heidi: Thanks!!! I can't stop with the school stuff. It's all your fault! : )

    SW: Driving a bus seems like a rather masochistic job. I think a stun gun might be in order.

  6. Leeuna

    I'm so happy those days of getting the kids off to school are over. And I'm with the others who said they wouldn't want to drive a school bus. They couldn't pay me enough to get me to do that.

  7. Lauren

    Leeuna: I got stuck behind a school bus yesterday. It stopped five times before the driver turned off the road. I think the windows are set high so no one can look inside the bus and see the children terrorize the driver.

    Ziva: LOL. Love it! Your mind has a mind of its own.

  8. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

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