Sometimes losing is a good thing. This week was proof of that. See, I lost my part time job.
Many of the kids on my bus are hellions. Not all of them but we’ve got plenty with less than privileged circumstances and the seams do show when you apply stress. Throw them together on a school bus on a Friday afternoon, add a couple guests whose only intent is to misbehave, and stir. Chaos. All caught on tape and reviewed by my manager.
So on Monday, about a half hour before afternoon route, I was told that I was being “let go”. There was an altercation between two little kids and one was left with an ugly bruise. The principal asked to see the recording and that recording didn’t go down well with my boss.
Now he told me I was spotted by the Highway Patrol truck inspection and there were students standing (duh, they’re always trying to do that – it’s a constant battle). The inspection officer told the bus manager rather than giving me a ticket. See, any ticketed violation, we get fired. So we’re careful or at least as careful as we can be. Regardless of speed I am always on alert for Highway Patrol or Williams County Deputies. I’ve been told before that the fine for the driver if passengers are standing was $250. Our manager, who has been known to exaggerate for effect, said now it was $1800. Um, OK. I couldn’t find that online but who knows, maybe it’s not in the North Dakota Century Code. But anyway, he had to let me go. Or so he said…
I’ve worked my ass off this year. I only took two days off (for which I got a substitute), ran way too many broken buses back and forth between the school and the diesel garage in a neighboring town, started my bus in minus temperatures every morning for a month, put up with kids and parents, etc. I’ve been dependable. I also let the manager know that I was not coming back next year. I’d had enough. This puts him in a serious bind because finding drivers is next to impossible, not to mention ones that will not only do their route but drive a bus with no electrical to a diesel garage when it’s twenty below. I was an asset that was hard to replace. I suspect there was some resentment to where I was leaving things. I can’t prove it but it sure smells like it.
I was coming down with a cold on Sunday. Yes, it is highly likely I picked it up off one of the disease carriers on the bus. The little ones will even eat food off the floor so wiping their nose before poking at the bus driver is not out of the realm of their thinking. Monday afternoon I was dreading having to drive because I didn’t feel good. Thus, I didn’t feel angry when the manager drove away. I felt relieved. The last three days have been hell as I haven’t been able to sleep, my nose runs like a sprinter, and my headaches are colossal. Getting up at 5:25 am would have killed me. So yeah, no working this week has been a blessing. I’m set free.
As I stated before, this year has burnt me out and now I got my reprieve. So this week, I’m in recovery mode. Trying to rest, trying to get well, and starting to do small things around the house. I got a haircut. I moved essential summer items from the Family Truckster to the Mercury Land Yacht. The stronger I get, the more I’ll do. I might even try to mow lawn tomorrow. And I’ll do it all without worrying about my schedule or dreading to deal with another five-year-old meltdown or a sixth grader who just fakes being sick just for the sake of attention. I’m done with that shit. I’m set free.
We’ll get by now. Got some cash saved up and there’s content development/market research projects coming in. My wife is just relieved it’s over; she’s watched me deteriorate all year. I second that. I’m set free.