The Driver’s Seat.

002Have you ever wondered what bus drivers need to do when they need to grab a bite to eat, or nature calls? They do what you and I do: they keep a mayonnaise jar stashed under the seat and…er, I mean they pull over and stop somewhere.

For a short time I was stuck daily with a driver who insisted on stopping at a McDonald’s on the route. This was in spite of the fact that she was always running late. She blamed the previous driver for this, but it never seemed to be a problem on days when someone else was driving. Maybe it really was the previous driver who’d held her up, but the substitutes didn’t spend most of the trip turned halfway around in the seat talking to someone standing behind them.

One day she was ridiculously late, but that didn’t stop her from stopping at McDonald’s. Somebody at the back yelled, “Hey, I’m late for my job! Can you skip that today?” She turned around, looked at them, then slowly got off the bus. While she was still in McDonald’s another bus went by us. I watched it longingly, unable to savor the irony that I’d have been home sooner if I’d taken a later bus. I even thought about jumping into the driver’s seat myself. Somebody else, I thought, needed to drive this bus.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thought so. The next week we had a different driver.

8 Comments

  1. kdcol

    I haven’t seen that Seinfeld episode in ages! I don’t know if I’d want Kramer drivin’ the bus!

    Yeah and I believe the mayo jar/bottle thing only would work out for males.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      “People kept ringin’ the bell!” That line always cracks me up. And I think it says why you would want Kramer drivin’ your bus. With a robber and a severed finger he still made all the stops. That’s dedication!

      Reply
  2. Gina W.

    I won’t hijack your post but I could write a long, long comment about my experiences riding the bus in Russia. *Southern accent*: “I done seen things I never thought I’d see before”. Once when it was late and I was the last passenger on the bus, before I could get off at my stop the driver pulled me into his lap and kissed me. Naturally I panicked and pushed myself off of him and RAN LIKE THE WIND. I probably should write about this at some point. It will be part of my series, “Strange Men Have I Known.” I was 21 and faster and stronger back then. Nowadays I’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry about bus drivers wanting to kiss me which is an upside of growing older.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now you’ve really piqued my curiosity about your bus riding experiences in Russia. And also made me glad I stuck to the Metro and cabs when I was there, although I also had a Russian guy try to kiss me.

      Reply
  3. Jay

    Driving a bus must be a tough job. Obviously people want to get home, or get to work, but they’re still people with needs and I certainly wouldn’t love the whole bus waiting for me while I did my business.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s a very tough job, which is why I generally cut drivers a lot of slack. Having to leave the whole bus waiting is usually the least of their concerns. The bus attracts all kinds of people.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Where exactly is the mayonnaise jar? And is this related to the location of the sauerkraut?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Traditionally the mayonnaise jar is kept under the seat, but the sauerkraut should be stored somewhere else. In Korea they traditionally bury it in the ground. They call it kim chee, but it’s more or less the same thing, as explained in the M*A*S*H episode when Frank Burns sees locals burying what he thinks is a land mine. He digs it up and Hawkeye says, “Congratulations, Frank. You’ve discovered sauerkraut.”

      Reply

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