I’m starting to notice the beginnings of Fall- cool weather, candy corn, and a fleet of SUV’s and minivans parked on my street. Yes, the first days of school, ever the harbinger of Fall, have come to Edwardsville. Although it’s been 14 years since I was in elementary school, the school building across the street continues to play an important role in my life.
Every schoolday between August and May, I have to take a different route to work and allow lots of extra time to get wherever I’m going. Not, as one might suspect, because of all the kids running amok. No, the reason I can’t get anywhere is parents. Parents who drive enormous vehicles to pick up little Billy and drive him back to the McMansion. And not just a few parents. Hundreds of them, in hundreds of enormous vehicles. They’re like giant steel locusts, honking and cursing each other while they rush to protect their young from the dangers of the schoolbus.
Do all of these kids have a bus allergen?
Not that I blame them. Schoolbuses are terrible. Every ride on the bus is an assault on the senses, and not just for a few moments, like a porta-potty. Schoolbus routes are designed to take you within sight of your home and then make a giant loop to drop off 45 other kids before it finally lurches to a halt in front of your door. All you have to do during the ride is shut your eyes, breath through your mouth, hope you don’t get hassled by some jerk or barfed on by some sissy kid, and you’re home in no time!
Could this be why everyone in this country secretly (or overtly) hates mass transit (specifically buses)? I believe so. Anyone will gladly ride on a train (“isn’t that what they use in Europe? How drole!”) or ride a ferry across a river, but just try and get them on a bus! Not in this lifetime!
I’ll be taking a bus to Chicago soon, so I’ll let you know whether modern buses are able to un-traumatize me.