pressing on...


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he is a bus driver

After going to today's departmental orientation session, I am walking back to the corner of University and 13th so that I can pick up the northbound 8 towards my apartment. I look down at my watch and realize that the southbound 8 should be heading this way pretty soon as well. I look up at the sky. It is becoming overcast, and it appears that one of Florida's famous mini-storms is brewing.

As I make the turn around the bend onto what becomes NW 13th Street, I see the southbound 8, true to my prediction. Another look at the sky confirms that this would likely be the better choice to sitting and waiting for the northbound 8, the arrival time of which I just realize I don't know.

I'm not at the bus stop, but luckily the University/13th traffic light is red, giving me just enough time to break into a jog and flag the driver down. He lets me on the bus, and I show him my ID card.

10 seconds after I take my seat, rain starts to fall. I thank God for timely buses.

We are heading south, but I know that it'll be going back north eventually. I have nothing more on the agenda for today, so I sit in my seat and relax.

Bus stops, people exit. Bus starts again. Bus stops. People get on, people get off. Repeat until we get to Shands Medical, the southernmost point on the line.

"End of the line," the driver calls out. People get up and exit. I am not one of them. A young female student does not leave either.

"This is the last stop on the line," the driver addresses me. "Were you trying to get somewhere else?"

"I was going back up to 23rd," I reply, wondering if I'm going to have to get off of the bus and find my way back somehow on a bus service whose routes I'm still learning.

"You have to pay again, a student?" the card again. "Yes, sir," I say, the relief evident in my voice. The Gator1 ID card makes another appearance, and I'm free to ride back to my intented location.

The bus driver explains. "Yeah, the system's based on a one-way, one-fare rule. You have to show your card again if you're a student. At least, you're supposed to have to. I don't know if all the drivers check it or not."

"I understand. You're just looking out for yourself."

He swells up a little bit, proud of his attention to detail. "Well,'s part of your job."

I tell him that I didn't know; I'm new in town. He directs me to a magazine rack anchored to the back of his seat; in it are the new routes for the upcoming year. "Just came out this week," he says.

I grab one and thank him. I'm leafing through it as we wait for the bus to start its northbound route. The driver can't leave before a specific time.

After about 5 minutes, the driver makes his way around Shands and back to 13th Street. Just before the turn, we are stopped at a traffic light behind a white Stratus. The light turns green, and the Dodge doesn't go off the line as quickly as the driver would like. He motions toward his horn. "Letting off a little steam," I think to myself.


Apparently, he needed to let off a little externally. The Dodge complies.

We travel back up 13th and reach the stop right before the road my apartment is on. It's the closest one to my complex, but it's still about a half-mile walk to my apartment. It'll have to do. I press the strip by my seat to signal the driver. He comes to a stop, and the doors open.

"Thanks for your help, sir."

"Have a good evening, now."


Blowing off steam? Try visiting NYC or Philly if that's the case... you will find much steam to be had there. If my horn worked, I would have joined the ranks myself. I learned to get annoyed just like everyone else when I had to wait until the light actually turned green to go. There are many intersections in Philly with signs that say "Wait for Green". And, yes, they ARE necessary. I can't tell you how many people will start to go when the opposing light turns yellow. I had a scary experience with that once, but that's another whole story. Have a great day!

Ah Brandon! How I miss you so! I'm glad that you are having fun riding buses there. Has the novelty of pushing the little button by your seat worn off? I think that'd be so much fun! Has school started for you? Keep up the exercise routine. It'll pay off. I actually got exercise this past Saturday. It was nice to run. Plus I have that whole goal of not putting on weight now that I'm out of college. Be good and God bless you to bless others. ;O)

School buses are un safe and they should have seat belts and alot more stuff to keep the passengers awake and attentive when they are riding to scholl or anywear else for that matter. I think that the busses should have security guards so that ppl wont try to take over the bus with knives or other foreign objects. Thanks for takeing your time to listen to my thoughts about the bus safety in america and the porb. I think we have today!

As a driver in California for over twenty-five years, there have been many times I have suspected that an individual was carrying a weapon. However, in todays society ones civil liberties, and rights to privacy can be in direct conflict with what may be deemed (SAFE). I don't doubt that weapons have passed by me, one time or another in the last twenty five years, society has changed, acountablity and dicipline have become shrouded with grey areas. Retirement is close, hopefully close enough.