Thursday, June 05, 2008
The Bus Garage at the End of the Universe
This little house, while seemingly your basic post-war brick rambler, is actually geographically -- and, perhaps, metaphysically -- at a unique point in the universe. Oh, it may seem to be a mere cluster of houses in the middle of rolling farmland. But in reality and beyond, it has formed a vacuum of a very specific nature.
We are at the vortex of every school bus in the county.
It isn't enough that our neighbor is a bus driver. But we are also on every bus route. Including The Short Bus.
This fascinates Dirtman to the point I want to move the office or cover every window with duct tape. Every morning at precisely 7:17 a.m. -- not 7:16, not 7:18 -- 7:17 a.m., the parade begins. And Dirtman provides the commentary.
"He (our neighbor) better hurry up. The Short Bus is about to round the corner." He obsesses if he doesn't see our neighbor board his bus on time or if he hears another bus approach in the distance before he sees a particular numbered bus pass the house. Dirtman is worried that the whole ballet will fall apart if one bus is ahead of the other, which very well may be, but certainly not his problem.
It just occurred to me that our current position in the universe may actually be ideal for my brother John Boy who, while other kids wanted to be astronauts or doctors or firemen when they grew up, always aspired to be either a garbage man or a school bus driver.* He was really impressed with where we're renting only because he saw that our neighbor (who is also our landlord) drives the school bus to supplement his autobody repair business.
"I guess he can't let people just drive his bus for fun," John Boy said wistfully, eyeing the bus.
"No," I said. "But I'm sure he'll let you line up his dining room chairs in a row and install your stuffed animals and little sister in the back chairs while you sit in the front chair and make motor noises while steering the lid of the spaghetti pot!"
Of course, the dogs are only just getting used to all this activity going on in front of the house every morning. Because tomorrow is the last day of school.
*He ended up being a cartographer for the federal government. That explains a lot, doesn't it? And, incidently, when he wanted to drive a bus professionally there was the caveat that no one actually board the bus. He wanted to drive an empty bus.