It seems like the bus brings out the worst in every person. You can put the most quiet, obedient, valiant kid there is in a school bus, and within ten minutes he’ll turn into an evil rage monkey providing hell for the bus driver. Or he’ll just stare blankly at the seat in front of him for the ride. As one of our bus drivers once told another driver, “They all just sit there, like they’re mesmerized. And the kids in the back, they just….” He trailed off.
The students on my bus are not the most quiet, obedient, valiant kids to begin with, and so our bus ride is usually loud and filled with insanities. As a result, we cycle through a lot of bus drivers. (I count myself as a member of the “sit there like they’re mesmerized” group, so I have nothing to do with this craziness.)
Anyway, this all brought me to my latest idea: A daytime soap about people who drive school buses! Surely there is no better way to show the human race than to show them at their lamest. The main characters would be Don, the friendly yet spunky driver who doesn’t mind the kids in the back and always gets in trouble with administration; Harry, the ex-New York-cop who doesn’t take any crap from anyone, least of all high schoolers; Janet, the hard-working caffeine-addicted 20-something who drives the bus as her third job and is slowly going insane, both from the people who ride her bus and the off-duty stressors; a variety of obnoxious personalities from the back of the bus; and so much more.
The show would be crap, painfully stupid, most likely; but that’s beside the point. Here’s a few scenes from the pilot ep (all true stories; the only thing I made up was the personalities of the drivers):
- Don is taking up both lanes of the main entrance to a suburbia, which annoys a slightly-drunk Mexican or Italian guy in a flat white car, so the guy drives up to her and yells for her to “get on one lane!” This escalates into a shouting match between Don and the guy, which climaxes when Don yells for the guy to “go to your own country!” and drives off while he is protesting his American heritage.
- A kid close to the back, Travis, watches every day as the bus drives right next to his house but, instead of turning right to where it is, turns left, only to eventually loop around and catch Travis’ house from the other side. This is because there are other stops in the left direction, but there’s no reason the bus can’t turn left and loop around the other way. So, one day while Janet is driving, Travis shouts “Right! Right! Right!” and she absent-mindedly obeys. When Janet realizes her mistake, her bus is too big for her to turn around, so she’s forced to drop Travis off, leaving him the victor.
- A very rowdy day on the bus. Harry turns around and shouts the age-old threat: if the kids in the back don’t settle, he’ll turn the bus around and drive back to school. The only difference is that, a little way down the road, he actually does go back. The kids get real scared and quiet as soon as he does, and treat the driver with respect for once. Harry’s victory comes at a cost, though; a dozen screaming parents angry that their kids got home half an hour late.