The Wheels On the Bus, or some crap like that

I got into a fight with a school bus driver today. My kids don’t even ride the stinking school bus.

If you are a school bus driver and your panties are in a wad already, this post may just be devoted to you. Because the school bus drivers who aren’t bullies, who love our kids and take pride in transporting them safely every day – those school bus drivers are silently nodding their heads because they are probably just as sick of the bully types who make them look bad, as the kids and parents are of dealing with them.

I had a bully of a bus driver when I was in junior high. All my life I had walked to school, until we moved half way through grade 9. That half a year was the only time I ever rode a school bus and I thank God for that, because it was miserable. The other student bullies were bad enough, but the driver was a special kind of mean. We got on at the first stop, and if she arrived early on freezing cold winter days she’d park down the street and sit there, leaving us shivering in the cold until it was time to pick us up. When it got warm outside, if she was ticked off she would make us pull all the windows up so that the bus was stifling hot. Now that I’m writing this down it does sound way more abusive than I realized when I was 14, but adult perspective does that for you I guess. I vaguely recall getting into an argument with her for being a tyrant over some thing or other, and ending up in the office over it, telling them just why I was mad and why I wasn’t sorry either. They didn’t know what else to say so they sent me on my way. Now, before I come across like I was combative with adults, let me just say that it was always quite the opposite. I got along better with adults, and most of my teachers, than I did with most of my peers. The only authority issues I ever had, were abuse of authority issues. The only arguments I ever got into with teachers or bus drivers or authority figures, were arguments involving them being jerks and nobody else feeling like they could say so.

Fast forward to now that my own kids are in school. We live close enough to walk when it’s nice outside, but today we drove so that Rosalie didn’t have to wake up from her nap until the last possible minute. The school is located in a massive field that also houses a junior high, an outdoor rink, a bunch of soccer fields and a community center. The entire street around this field is a bus zone for no good reason that I can tell. You could park 50 or more buses around the perimeter of this “bus zone.” The first week of school is always a treat as the new parents and some of the returning ones (who must have amnesia), have forgotten where the school buses park. We actually stand and wait for the calamity that ensues on the first day of school. It’s mildly entertaining. The buses pull up, the drivers get obnoxious and blow on their horns until people come running to move their cars, and within a few days everybody parks in such a way that the buses have ample space. There is probably something wrong with my sense of humor to find this funny. You can totally judge me.

But now there is this one guy, who drives a bus but not for our school, and is there to pick up a kid like every other parent. There *is* space for this guy to park his bus. But he insists on pulling up, laying on the horn if anyone is in his way, and driving like a butt. I’m sure he’s got places to be, but that’s no reason to be a bully to the *other* kids and parents who also have places to be and manage to do it every day in a pleasant and courteous fashion. NO REASON! That horn scares my baby and why? Because he’s got his man-period every day at 3pm? Seriously dude. Time to be nice like everybody else. I’m trying to picture what pick up time would be like if all the parents were as rude to each other as this bus driver is to everybody else. It would be not very nice, is what it would be.

Well today, bus driver man got mad because someone had the gall to park where he wanted to park and leave their vehicle sitting there. He couldn’t even honk to make them move. So naturally, he drove up beside the car that was last in line ahead of the gap where he normally parks. And the lucky winner of his wrath was little old me. He picked a fight with the wrong minivan.

So when he went off on me, telling me that *I* can’t park on the street because it’s a bus zone, I fired right back at him. I may look like a mild mannered minivan mom, but I’ve got a mouth on me that makes my husband blush, and I’m quite prepared to use it when adults start throwing tantrums like little children. I asked him why he’s not bothering with all of the other multitudes of cars parked on the street. I told him he’s just another parent picking up their kid, and we’re not going to clear the entire street for him. He got flustered and threatened to ticket me if I park there again. I told him he’s being an asshole. I’m sort of sorry, but sort of not. And really – what a silly thing for a grown man to flip out over, on a mom with a van full of kids no less. Somebody else took your spot so now you’re going to take it out on me? That’s bullying. And it’s not nice. And it scared my kids who had no idea why the mean dude driving a bus was getting mad at their mommy. 

Bullying is not okay. I did write a note to the school’s principal to let him know that the disgruntled bus driver may go off on all of the minivan moms one of these days and write us all tickets, which would probably not go over very well. I plan to keep my phone in hand so I can video this guy if he goes nuts on me again.

But it’s not just him. I see bus drivers driving like total butts now and then, and I wonder why on earth anybody is allowing them to transport children.

The lady who drives the kindergarten bus is a real gem, too. One day, the spot she parks in was taken by parents. In fairness, she could have parked in front of those 2 cars where there was a vast amount of space, but she chose to park her bus across the entire road, blocking it to all traffic, instead. When she finally realized how out of control she looked, she did a totally unnecessary 17 point turn, or something equally as obnoxious, to pull up and park. All the dramatics, and for what? I took a picture of this, but then deleted it because I didn’t think I’d ever use it.

I realize I have a tendency to become combative with adults who act like butts. I could probably just roll my eyes and walk away, or drive away, or whatever. I’m not sure where it started, but I’ve always been this way. We’ve been doing this thing with our kids, who are young and learning how to deal with bullies themselves, where we tell them to use their words first. You know – tell the bully NO, and be firm and stand up for yourself. If something is wrong, there’s nothing wrong with saying so. In fact, somebody needs to say so because if everybody rolls their eyes and walk away, how will anything ever change?

Tomorrow when we go pick up Mateo from school, we will be singing The Wheels On the Bus, or some crap like that, in honor of the cranky bus driver. While I have no intention of starting a parking war, because who has time for that nonsense, I won’t be finding a new place to park or paying parking tickets if the dude decides to start handing them out. I’ll leave space for the buses like I always do, and leave well enough alone. The last thing my kids need is another scary run in with the mean bus driver getting mad at their mom. Yikes!

And ps…to all the kind, funny, polite, and courteous bus drivers – thank you 🙂 Your job is important and we are lucky to have people out there who spend their time keeping our kids safe – whether it’s day to day or on field trips once in a while, it all matters, and it doesn’t go unnoticed when you’re doing a great job. To the bus drivers who show up early on cold days and spare kids from the cold, you are angels. To the ones who watch out for kids being bullied, you are heroes. Please keep being awesome. It gives the cranky ones something to aspire to, and us parents someone to thank 😉

copyright (c) 2013 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved

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One thought on “The Wheels On the Bus, or some crap like that

  1. Pingback: We’re Still Here and With a Few Links for You! | {the} Mothering Well

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