Let me begin by saying: I don’t know how school bus drivers maintain sanity and functionality in their chosen line of work. I’ve been a passenger on school busses a few times for field trips and I come unhinged at Mile One of the trip. Today was no exception. Our 2nd Grade class went to a local historic site to see old buildings ill-equipped to deal with 21st century technology like running water, toilets, electrical outlets and phones (cell phones are this century’s equivalent of sending the most able-bodied child to run up the road a tick to let the neighbors know the British are coming, expecting tea and crumpets with varying amounts of submission and loyalty to the Crown). I toyed with the idea of bringing some knitting for the ride, but changed my mind thinking I might get to a point of self-mutilation if armed with even knitting needles enduring any ride from school to the planned destination and back again. Not to mention how the fair amount of jostling and bumping involved in said ride might render me sightless. Knitting needles are for knitting yarn, not impaling eyes ~ no matter the amount of mental strain or desperation. Needless to say, the children were experiencing varying degrees of boredom. I spent time pointing out that there was NO TV back then. Small shock there. And that big tin can with the handle under the bed, there? Well, that was your bathroom if you didn’t feel like making your way out to the Necessary in the middle of a cold winter’s night to do what’s . . . y’know . . . necessary. A resounding chorus of ‘Eeeeewww’ ensued followed by continuing bathroom humor and chatter. Fun for them.
Of course, my most fun part was getting to the textile demo. I get to play with someone else’s wool and check out the looms and spinning wheels. I couldn’t touch a wheel, let alone try one (as chaperone, one must contain one’s self and set an example), but it was fun carding a rolag with the crew. And then we got to churn some butter which is even less amusing than say . . . impaling one’s self with a knitting needle on a bus full of screaming kids.
The ride back to school is when I had the neat idea of bringing ear plugs on future field trips. I’ve been to rock concerts (they’re still called that, aren’t they?) and endured the screaming crowds, the blaring speakers and the surges to the front row. That din and chaos pales in comparison to a bus ride back to school from a field trip. Since I can not safely knit under such circumstances, I’ll tote ear plugs.
And I say again, unto All School Bus Drivers Everywhere ~ Thank you for transporting our children safely from home to school to trips and back again without driving directly into other large moving vehicles or off bridges just to quell the interminable noise. Thank you for being sane, alert, and functional despite the melee in the back of the bus, despite the blood-curdling screams, despite the sarcasm of pre-teens so that they may be joyfully deposited at their destinations. Bless you and your nerves on unbending, unmitigated steel. That you all manage your careers without therapy and ear plugs is a miracle. I am going to go have a lie down myself . . .