Fall has arrived in central Texas and the temperature has plummeted to the mid eighties. I had forgotten what it meant to sweat, I mean really sweat, while we were away on our west coast tour this past summer. We came back to Austin smack dang spang in the middle of August. It was like broiled soup with a side of fire ants and mosquitoes to spice things up. Within a week I was back on the bus driving my new route. During that first week back I realized my mistake. I forgot to pack the two or three extra T-shirts I so desparately need in the unairconditioned bus. I also forgot to disinfect the seats from the summer route and football games. Football season also starts in August and I had the misfortune of hauling a few of the high school teams to and from their games. Did you know that they never wash those shoulder pads? Picture this:
It’s August and I’ve recently returned from frolicking around the very cool west coast. It’s 103 in the shade and I go to the high school after my route. The boys have been practicing in the afternoon heat and are pumped for the big game. They pile into the bus and I’m nearly knocked out of my seat by the smell and the game hasn’t even begun yet! We crawl to the game in rush hour traffic. I’m trying to stick my head out the window to breathe some refreshing car exhaust but I can’t reach and I can’t very well hold my breath for an hour. So I endure.
We finally get to the stadium and the team shuffles out of the bus. It’s a great relief, although an echo of the stench remains so I grab my little guitar and find a spot in the shade.
After the final buzzer I brace myself for the stampede. All 25 windows are wide open and the fan is on high. It’s a losing battle. I don’t know how I didn’t pass out on the way back to the school. At least the coach didn’t order the kids to close all the windows. They sometimes do that as a courtesy to the driver, to save me the trouble. That’s when it really gets bad. I think that is why they’ve installed the little red panic button on each bus.
I made it back to the bus barn, then to my car and the air never smelled sweeter. The next day I went to work armed with a bag full of T-shirts, disinfectant and paper towels.
It’s only 85 today but it’s creeping back up to the 90s and I have a football game later this week. Send thoughts of roses and fresh air.
-Mr. School Bus Driver Man Sir