i'm not exactly sure how, but this morning i managed to cut out quite a lot of little paper t-shirts while riding the bus. (and they look darn good, if i do say so myself.) this was a feat not even i predicted, and i'm pretty confident in my multi-tasking abilities. it's not that the ride is too short or that the kids are too needy, it's just that our bus driver is too ridiculous. the driving around here is a bit insane anyway, but he just takes it to a new level. to begin with, his chosen english name is Uncle. yes, uncle. and he answers to it. i've tried. add to that cut-off jean shorts, a tolerance, if not love, of kids and the desire to get to his next clients as quickly as possible and you have a recipe for an interesting ride.
he will do just about anything if it means arriving at our destination more quickly. you want to turn left onto a street with 2 lanes of stand-still traffic each way? no worries, just nudge your way in and assume they will move. construction forcing you to make a 5-minute loop in order to get to the apartment building entrance? it's ok, just go the wrong way down that one-way street. it's only a couple hundred yards. you started to take the wrong exit on the freeway? just back up and get on the right one, the cars behind you will move.
sadly, riding with uncle might be the highlight of my day. every taxi i have taken since the 2nd week of school has felt completely tame by comparison. which is saying something, because that first couple weeks they seemed insane.
of course, the enjoyment of the morning and afternoon bus rides is probably compounded by what little communication we are able to manage with our driver. he likes the kids, but i think he is glad he doesn't have to deal with them. you just know that if you look up when they start doing something ridiculous, there will be a great look waiting for you in the review mirror.
my favorites, though, are the morning assessments of our timeliness and the comraderie established when the adults are obviously having a bad day. we had a particularly stressful one a couple weeks ago and as we pulled into our apartment complex at the end of the day, uncle held out his pack of cigarettes to us, as in, "need one of these today?" we politely declined, but it makes me smile even now, just thinking about it.
so here's to you, uncle, for making my schooldays just a little bit brighter. you're a little crazy, but god knows i love you for it.