Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Okay. I'm a retiree who now does a job I enjoy. So a bad day for me ain't so bad. But today stretched my patience.
I'm currently driving the bus of my dreams, D824. It's a fantastic bus that has been prone, however, to glitches. This morning, while it was still very dark, the bus overheated at the corner of Lamar and Corinth. That makes two times this year I've had malfunctions on Lamar St. Twenty minutes later, a mechanic arrives, notices the bus has no coolant, sees a leak, and declares the bus inoperative. The bus lot dispatches a "spare" bus for me so I can proceed on. BTW, I always arrive very early for my run...just in case something breaks down...like this morning.
The spare bus broke my heart. It was P3066, a 14 year-old dog with 148,000 miles on the odometer. And, it had been sitting on the lot for months, unused, with its windows open. There was a nice layer of dirt and dust on every seat. I hurried to my first stop. The waiting girls climbed on with scowls on their faces, having gotten used to plush D824. I had them stand as I took the only rag I had and did my best to scrape the filth off the seats. It was ugly but I got the kids to school on time.
A fellow driver took pity on me and loaned me decent bus for a field trip I had today. Every school has to have hands-on bus evacuation training, and today I was dispatched to Truett Elementary. Teachers are supposed to conduct the training, but upon arrival, I got the news that they wanted us, the bus drivers, to do their job. So, I spent the day teaching groups of 50 kids at a time on how to save their lives if the bus stalls on a railroad track...or worse.
I returned to the bus lot in hopes of getting D824 back. I figured it had a leaky radiator hose, easily fixed. Nope, they said. "Your fan is tore all to h___ and water pump is busted. It's so bad, we're bringing the manufacturer here tomorrow to look at it." Oh, brother. That meant I had to drive another "dog" this afternoon. They gave me D226, another 14 year-old bus with 142,000 miles on it. At least the the seats were clean, but the floor was covered with enough detritus to fill a dumpster. So for the second time today, I was Molly Maid, doing a cleaning job that the previous driver passed on to me. It ain't supposed to happen that way, but I work for a pretty loosey-goosey organization.
I have another all-day field trip tomorrow, taking a group to far southeast Dallas County to an environmental center way out in the woods. I'll start the day in another "dog", but fortunately, a co-worker has agreed to let me drive his very nice bus for my trip. It had better be a better day.
Posted by Tim Perkins at 11/18/2008 07:52:00 PM