A few weeks ago I wrote about Chucky, the kid who sat at the back of the school bus, and it got me thinking about the city buses I ride where I usually sit at the back. It’s where the engine is so in the winter it’s the warmest seat on the bus which is great, and in the summer it’s the warmest seat in the bus which isn’t so great, but I can sit off to the side. I’m not sure why I always go to the back of the bus. Unlike Chucky, who drew attention to himself by sitting at the back, I do it to be small and unobtrusive. I don’t go dancing down the aisle greeting everyone, although that would be kind of fun to do and get some laughs. And I go to the back to leave seats for other people at the front of the bus. The wheelchair seating is at the front of the bus, and there’s more space for people with kids in strollers up at the front too.
Something I really hadn’t thought about, though, is that, unlike school buses, city buses don’t have an emergency door in the back. I’ve also heard stories of kids who had a tradition of opening the emergency door at the back of the bus and jumping out, which makes me feel like I missed out. We never even practiced going out of the emergency door. My school thought it was good enough to show us a filmstrip about how to get out of the bus in the event of an emergency so if we’d ever needed to get out we might have been stuck there waiting for the beep so we could advance to the next frame, but that’s another story.
What I realized is that, while the city bus does have a side door halfway down the bus, there are also emergency “doors” in the ceiling, one at the front and one at the back, and it’s one of those things that’s strangely unnerving. Sitting in the back does suddenly seem like a better idea, even if it’s in the hot seat, because the back of the bus is elevated, so those like me who are short in stature will have an easier time reaching the ceiling. Supposedly there’s an emergency door in the ceiling of elevators and that’s always bothered me because, first of all, I’ve never seen one, and, second, I’ve never been in an elevator where I could reach the ceiling. That also means that tall people need to sit closer to the front of the bus, and it makes me wonder if there’s a certain height requirement for bus drivers. Sure, they need to be able to reach the pedals, but the seats are adjustable, so has anyone stopped to think about whether the driver could reach the ceiling? And I wonder what kind of emergency would block both bus doors forcing us to go out onto the roof. Whatever it is would probably have the bus surrounded so I hope it’s something like water and not lava or acid or raw sewage. I do, however, feel strangely reassured that the bus company has never given us instructions on how to use the emergency escape hatches via a filmstrip so if there’s an emergency we won’t stand around waiting for the beep.
I always sit in the back too because the view is better. The bus driver could do a little talk like the flight attendants.
It would be really fun to have the bus driver do a little safety talk but they’d have to do it every time new people got on, and I’m not sure how many drivers would do it even once.
After watching many Die Hard and Lethal Weapon movies thevemergency doors on the roofs are in case the bus lands on its side. But that’s just an assumption. I doubt you trust buss driver drives like Keanu Reeves in Speed so you have nothing to worry about.
I never thought about the bus landing on its side, but, yeah, that would make the emergency door on the roof really useful. Now we just have to worry that some passengers might be, ahem, a little too wide for the emergency door.
I have thought about elevator doors many times because I have an irrational fear of falling elevators. My husband did have to use the sunroof to exit a vehicle once, so the bus doors made sense to me. The elevator doors, on the other hand, require a friend to be in there with you who doesn’t have an irrational fear of elevators and does have strong shoulders. But once I am out the rescue hatch, what then? Someone fixes the elevator and then I get squished or have to take hold to the greasy cables? There is just so much to consider and if I am falling to my death in an elevator, do I have time to consider all the possibilities. The only hope is to fall so fast that it forces me to the top of the lift and I can escape watching the carriage fall beneath my feet. Yes. I have thought about this far too much. I’ll stop–at the ground floor please.
Kristine Laco recently posted…I Get It–You Love Fall
Your fear of falling elevators is, at least, completely irrational–elevators are equipped with a safety device so that if the cable snaps they’ll hold in place. What happens once you get out of the elevator, though, is another matter, and it’s why I’ve never understood the point of an escape hatch in the roof of an elevator, unless it’s to allow someone who’s coming to rescue you a way to get access. Yeah, let’s stick with that–let someone else climb down the elevator shaft.
You may try to be small and unobtrusive, Chris, but your kindness, creativity, and humor are as big as a bus.
Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2485: Easy for people to get in touch
Your comments are never small and unobtrusive, nor are your ideas. I’m always ready with a thank you when you drop by.