I had to make a quick stop at the store on the way home from work, and I screwed around just long enough to put me right smack in the middle of the daily "fresh children delivered straight to your home" time slot, which I am pretty sure is actually the 7th level of Hell. It added about 30 minutes to an otherwise miserable experience, and I swear I came within a half psi of blowing a tube in my head.
Let me tell you about this fine piece of legislative bullshit that has been enacted in New York, and probably in other states as well. I won't concern myself with these other states, since I don't actually live there and so don't actually care. You bastards fry your own fish.
When I was a kid, we had a school bus stop. Let me give you the definition, since the word seems so archaic now, and these things apparently don't exist anymore. A bus stop is a designated spot where people wait for a bus to stop. A school bus stop is a designated spot where students wait for a school bus to stop. Not so hard, right? When I was a kid, we all walked to this designated spot in the morning in a big group, and we all stood there waiting for the bus in a big group, and after school we all walked home in a big group. There were fights, cigarettes, snowballs, chewing gum in hair, thermos bottles that ended up filled with a mixture of glass shards and milk -- but it was mostly harmless. If you missed your bus, you ran like hell to another street and caught the bus on the flip side. If you missed both of them, you ran home and pissed off your parents, who then had to bring you to school.
Now, thanks in small part to perverts who prey on kids, and in large part to inneffectual politicians who need to pass laws to justify their existence, coupled with a sensationalism-addicted media that makes national news out of every child who is snatched off the street by their divorced mother or father, there is no such thing as a school bus stop. The bus now stops at each and every house that has a child in it. Every single one. And the biggest pound-you-in-the-ass part of this law is that it doesn't matter how close together these houses are.
At some point Mayor Quimby got up on stage and said, "We will drop each kid off at his or her house, and there will be no exception. Remember, I'm protecting your kids, so vote for me on Tuesday."
The net result, if you happen to be the poor bastard behind the bus, is this unfortunate series of events and thought processes:
On the two lane country roads near my house, this will happen for no less than 5 miles. You have no way off the road, and no way past the hell bus. And you have no idea how long five miles really is until you've been breathing diesel fumes and traveling approximately .5 miles per hour for close to a half hour.
1. The stop sign flips out, the bus stops, you stop.
2. The kid or kids who live in this particular house stand up in the aisle, drop their gloves, pick them up, forget something in the seat, go back for it. You can see all this through that floor-level back window on the bus door. (Jesus kid! It's right behind you! Pick it up. That's it, now move!)
3. Finally getting their shit together, they saunter toward the front of the bus, taking their time, chatting with their little friends. (Pick up the pace for the love of god! I don't have all day!)
4. They jump down off the bus stairs, and slowly cross the street in front of you, stopping in the road to tie their shoe or adjust their backpack or hitch up their ridiculously large hiphop pants. (MOVE IT, YOU LITTLE CRAP WEASEL!! Screw with your shoe on the sidewalk, not in the road, OK??)
If they're younger, they stand 3 deep at the open door and wait for fat-mom-in-the-sweatsuit to waddle her ass out of the house to the end of the driveway. (Oh finally, here she comes. Hey, Fatass! How about getting out there a few minutes early and waiting?) Once there, she chats with the driver of the bus for a few minutes (stop talking! Just STOP TALKING NOW, you housecow), then finally grabs her rugmonkeys and walks back toward the house.
5. The bus driver waits a minute or so to make sure all the children are seated and pulls in the little folding stop sign. (Thank you God. We're moving. Is the bus empty now? Shit, I think I see a lot more feet. I can't count heads with those damn high seat backs. They should bring back the low seats and that face-high steel grab bar we had back in the day.)
6. The bus driver then pulls ahead 100 feet and stops at the next house. (You've GOT to be KIDDING me! He was just there! He moved like TEN FEET! What the FUCK??)
After about the 3rd or 4th house in the space of 300 feet, you want to jump out of your car, jimmy open the bus door, climb inside and yell "LISTEN UP! I've got places to go. If ANY of you little shits live on this street, STAND UP NOW and GET THE HELL OFF this bus. If you don't do this, so help me god I will drive this bus past your house at 50 mph and bounce your lazy, prepubescent asses off your driveway like so much Sunday newspaper. GOT IT?"
Oh, they know it pisses you off to sit there and wait -- don't think they don't. They see your death grip on the steering wheel, and the frustration on your face. They laugh at you and point, because they have all the time in the world. About one out of every ten times you get one of these:
I just wave back and smile, and think, "Yeah, you just wait. Fifteen years from now it'll be you sitting back here cursing at the bus and getting flipped off by 14 year olds. Except that you'll probably be driving a rusty 1999 Aztek and the only thing you'll be late for is your shift at Taco Bell."