Driving Kids

One summer we had some schedule problems here in the family. Our way to deal with these problems was to send our daughter to day care until one of us got home. Of course, while she was there she talked about her school and how I was their bus driver. They had a school bus they use for field trips on an irregular basis but are always having driver problems. They asked me if I would consider driving field trips from time to time. Always the helpful one, I told them yes but that I would need at least 2 weeks notice.

The bus at Epic Arena.

When a date and time was worked out, I was issued the keys to the bus. Having never driven their bus, I turned up an hour early to check it out and prepare. After doing the visual portion of the pre-trip, the next part was getting it started. This was kind of worrisome as it had some controls I was unfamiliar with. Not willing to be beaten by something mechanical, I kept pulling, pushing and fiddling with different controls until I got it started. I'm not sure how long the bus had been sitting but I refused to carry any passengers until the tires were pumped up and the oil in the front axle was topped up. Dealing with these items put me at the school about 40 minutes late but at least I felt better about the bus.

The last few trips were to take the kids to a corn maze in Greeley. I have the most fun with the little kids (pre-schoolers); they are just so full of questions and willing to try anything. The older kids (12 to 14) are just so full of acting tuff and getting into trouble; it makes you not want to do anything with them. For the older kids, I just try to be there for them when they need someone but am not afraid to get on them when they start doing any really stupid stuff.

I guess the regular school bus drivers aren't very helpful, because after the field trip was over, the adults were very complimentary of me and the way I make things easier for them. I still don't know what they mean; but if it helps them, I guess Ill keep doing it.

Just before Christmas, I drove a few more field trips for them. Two were to Epic Arena, first to go ice-skating, then to go swimming. For ice-skating, I wasn't invited to join in so I just wandered about and visited with Princess Epic. On this trip, all the “caregivers” joined in lacing on skates and slid about picking up sprawled kids. The next day for swimming was a different story, only one of the caregivers ventured into the water. I was surprised to learn that none of the kids got lockers, instead, they got changed in the changing room then simply heaped their clothes onto the bleachers surrounding the pool. Again, I wasn't asked to join in but at least by now the caregivers would acknowledge my existence.

The next trip was to Skate Palace here in Loveland. I had been to Skate Palace before so I pretty-much knew what to expect. The place was the same as I remember but the experience was very different. In order to get all the kids there, I had to make two trips (first trip was about 26 kids, the second with about 32). Being December, and cold, I was surprised the first group had to wait outside until the second group had arrived. It didn't take the first group long to warm up once their skates were strapped on. For this trip, I was asked to join in and even though I'm not much of a skater, I took them up on the offer.

I spent a good lot of my time there helping two kids at a time. I'm not sure you could call it helping when all I was doing was dangling a kid from each arm while their skates flailed against the floor. There were several activities designed for kids to take advantage of while skating, instead of just going around in a big circle. One very LOUD activity was doing the Hokey-Pokey, My ears were still ringing an hour after Id left the rink! Another activity not only made me sad but also made me disappointed that I was male. This activity was the “couples only” skate. All the boys would line up along one wall of the rink while all the girls lined up along the wall opposite. The boys were to skate across to the girls and choose one to skate the couples round. Well I guess the idea was good but the outcome is what made me sad and disgusted. The hoard of boys would skate to the girls, maybe a handful of the girls would be chosen then the boys would rush away shaking their heads. I felt sad to see all the rejected girls holding out their arms in the hope a boy would choose them. My sorrow turned to disgust to watch the laughing, macho boys skate off the rink leaving behind little clumps of dejected and sobbing girls.


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Copyright 2009 Pokie Parmidge