One Year In

I had my last field trip a year ago today. There was talk of the coronavirus that was wreaking havoc in other parts of the world and the Pacific Northwest but Texas didn’t seem particularly concerned.

I ran my morning route that Thursday morning, as I would any day. After my last drop off I drove to an elementary school to pick up my field trip group. I had a pretty full load, somewhere between fifty and sixty humans, including kids, teachers and chaperons. The destination was the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, where they would be sharing breathing space with several groups from different schools. After the trip I proceeded to my afternoon route to transport my 120 or so students home. Later that evening I had a gig at a local bar that wasn’t well attended. People were beginning to get freaked out about the new coronabug.

I’m horrified to look back and think that I might’ve been a key cog in a super spreader event, but what did I know then? Some people knew a lot more because school was closed the next day, the last day before spring break. We went into spring break with a sense of fear and foreboding, thinking this kind of thing doesn’t really happen here and now. We thought it might blow over in a few weeks but we all know how that played out. No need to go into what we’ve all been experiencing for the past year all over the globe.

It’s a year later and the face mask has become as ubiquitous as socks and our hands are a lot cleaner than they used to be. It’s Friday and I clocked out a little while ago, entering spring break with a tired old fear humming in the background, but also with a sense of hope on the horizon.

For now, we take field trips of the imagination. My copilot is a six year old boy who sits in the front seat. As we leave the school yard every afternoon I ask him where we’re going. He says, “Dinoland, to see the Brontosurus and T-rex!” I say, “I forgot to charge the Cosmic Dwizzle Bazimperator! We can’t travel back in time without it.” He points to a compartment above the door and says, “There’s a generator in there. You can charge the Cosmic Bazimperator there!” I say, ” What are we waiting for? Plug it in!” And we’re off to Dynoland, simple as that.

Some days we go to other planets, other days to parallel universes. Today we went to the land of Milkweed and Metalweed. Milkweed, according to my copilot, has an acid strong enough to melt a bus. Metalweed is, of course, metal that grows out of the ground and can destroy a bus if we hit it. Then there’s the snowcat. It eats snow and school buses. We were okay for a while since it snowed twice this season, but now that it’s warmed up, the snowcat is hungry and looking for school buses to eat. It’s dangerous work but I’ll gladly rise to the challenge, at least until we can return to museums, parks, and the like.

Stay safe and healthy out there. We’re not out of the woods (or Dinoland) yet!

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