My First Late Night

Being at the bottom of the bid, there wasn’t much to choose from, so I choose nights. Moving to the night shift didn’t come easy, in fact, the words kicking and screaming come to mind. I just couldn’t imagine being able to sleep-in in a “morning” house. Everything that happens in our family seems to happen in the mornings, what was going to happen now?

My schedule was now, driving Route 61 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Nightlite or Route 63 on Friday and Saturday. Report time for Route 61 is 5:55pm and I get home about 2:00am, whereas, Route 63 has a report time of 7:15pm and I’ll get home around 3:45am. So seeing family at breakfast is out, heck, seeing them before 10am on days off is out! There is an advantage though, I found I can get a lot of things done in the day, take a nap then go to work. I have actually found this mix of time very attractive. A lot of the projects I’ve been putting off have actually gotten done.

My first few days of the night shift went well, I was thinking this was going to be a breeze, then came Friday. I guess I should have known something was up when I saw one of the old night shift drivers coming off shift. He asked how I liked working nights, I said it was ok. He then asked if I had ever driven the 2:05 run before? I said no and he began to laugh, not another word was said. As I left to head out to route, the dispatch operator shouted a “Good Luck” to me. I was starting to get a little worried but thought, “what could happen?”

Most of the evening went as the other nights had gone, light rider ship just going here and there. As the time got later I got a few drunken women going home, few with passes but convinced me they were students. On the last run, I’m supposed to arrive at Old Town Square at 2:00am and depart at 2:05am. What I didn’t know was all the bars close at 2:00am along with Old Town. When I turned the corner on Mountain Ave. I could see Old Town Square. There were three Police cars and a paddy wagon parked in the bus stop and people everywhere, like an anthill that had just been spaded over.

I pulled into the bus stop as best I could behind the Police cars and opened the loading doors. The Police started shouting and directing people to the bus. The bus filled quickly but people kept getting off, then back on. No one showed a pass, few paid. When I asked to see passes, I was quickly quieted by the throng shouting obscenities at both me and the Police. When it seemed like we had picked up everyone, I closed the doors. At this point, the very loud partiers started banging on the windows with their fists shouting, “FUCK THE COPS, FUCK THE COPS!” I felt it would be prudent to leave the Square a little early to save any windows being broken. We are supposed to radio in when we pick up a drunk, so, I did so. Well, the dispatch that night was Gina. Gina has a very soft voice and under normal circumstances is hard to hear, under these circumstances, impossible. There was so much noise behind me in the bus that Gina didn’t hear what I had said and asked me to repeat. I turned up the radio volume and asked her to repeat. This went on for some time until my radio was at full volume and I gave up.

At this point I was trundling down College towards Laurel. My ears starting to ring from all the shouting voices when the scent of cigarette smoke filled the air. I pulled over and stopped the bus. Threw open both doors and shouted “no smoking in the bus!” I was informed the offending parties had put them out or gotten off the bus. As I turned up Laurel, again the air filled with smoke, this time it was Marihuana! I again stopped the bus, got on the radio and asked for Police assistance. I still couldn’t hear the radio but gave my location and situation. I again opened both doors, this time I got out of my seat to see what was going on. When they saw me they threw their cigarettes out the back door and said sorry. One fellow said I was smelling cigar smoke and that the fellow smoking it had gotten off the bus. When I returned to my seat someone else was sitting in it trying to get the bus rolling. After a bit of shouting I got the person dislodged from my seat. What seemed like a very long time with no Police showing up, I called in on the radio to disregard and continued on to the transit center at CSU.

At CSU I was faced with another challenge, who stays on and who transfers? Levi had come over to my bus to see if he could help. Slowly we made our way through the riders and sorted who goes where. With luck I was able to finish my first late night without any further problems. I remember that night, coming home, laying in bed with my ears still ringing from the noise. All I could think was “I can’t do this, I’ve got to find a better job.”


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Copyright 2009 Pokie Parmidge