Every morning, without being aware of it, I thank the bus driver as I hop off. A polite habit that isn’t universally shared.
Today I was the only one to do this at my stop, which got me thinking. Memory broached the darkened, oily waters.
Back 30 years to the cool old Otago Education Board red and cream Bedford school bus. We lived on a sheep station in the hills, and the trip to school totalled an hour and ten minutes one way – so long that for my first year at school I used to attend only four days a week, taking Wednesdays off. And in the wintertime the teacher would prepare homework for me to do for when the inevitable snow blocked the road.
The bus driver was a Mr Morrison, a gruff but kindly chap (as many bus drivers seem to be). Occasionally he would have to growl at the rowdiness down the back of the bus, but he would only really get grumpy when a kid vomited in the bus. Which I did twice, during my three years of travelling, holding it in for as long as possible and then forlornly trying to catch it in my cupped hands before it spattered the floor.
The bus would pull up to each family’s mailbox – in most cases large enough to hold the milk and bread the the Rural Delivery person would also deliver – and on jumping out the kids would sing-song chorus:
Thanks for the ride, Mr Morrison!
But enough of this.
Next: I pull my slippers on and develop an obsessional interest in listening to Wayne Mowat. And insist on blogging about it.