So here I am again, the new year of school, waiting for a schoolbus like I used to do way back in the day. Sickening.
My folks were never placed to drive me to school. They both worked early enough that if they were to drive me to school I could have helped the janitorial staff do the pre-5am clean up. So, it was the schoolbus for me. At a heart-breaking 6:15 in the morning, but it gave me time to worry and reflect and work myself into a troubled foam before I got to school for 8am.
My daughter is in the same boat, more or less. Neither I nor the wife drive to work anywhere near either her old school or her new one, so it's the schoolbus for her, too. Not quite so desperately early, but early enough, and she's a lot more independent than I ever was at that age, and a lot less prone to worry. Still and all, it's the first morning of the year going to a new school (sixth grade!,) with a new driver, and so naturally, in keeping with the program, this morning was the strangest.
See, this was the morning where we knew that no less than five buses were going to go whizzing down our little quiet country lane, and we knew that the School Board in it's infinite wisdom had not assigned ANY of these five drivers to pick up my daughter, so a bout of calling and assigning on our part ensued. My mother is good at bureaucracy, having worked her entire life for the Air Farce, and over a weekend she secured a driver and a name, and this morning began The Long Wait.
It's aggravating enough to have to have to wait for a bus. It's more aggravating when you have to pick one out of five, having only a vague notion of what time he's going to arrive. So, breakfast was hurried, tensions were mounting, and we were at the road at 6:25, just in time to watch not one but the first two buses of the morning go whizzing by each other (and our driveway) at Mach 2. Confusion ensued, but since it was early we stuck it out.
Fortunate for us, because after an interminable wait a third went by, falteringly, as if he wasn't sure he wanted to stop or not. He didn't, come to find out. He went on, faltering his way down the lane until the stop sign at the end, where he wheezingly went on about his route.
Curious glances were exchanged. Checks of the clock were performed, and we watched a lone soloist take his tiny Piper across the sky. At least HE seemed to know where he was going and when.
With the clock's digits creeping up on 6:40, just past the "car/no car" time point, a fourth yellow box appeared on the lane. It was creeping it's way up the road, faltering, hesitating, like a new raptor trying to catch it's first rodent, and I thought for one crazed moment that Bus #3 had decided to take another stab at it, but no, this was The Bus, because as soon as he spotted us standing at the driveway like a couple of confused Mormons he accelerated, braked, and was here.
Handshakes, brief introductions, and the covenant was set. 6:40, and 4ish in the afternoon, and thus our school year pact was sealed. Now all I have to do is get used to being awake at 5:45 in the morning again. *choke gasp wheeze falter*