Saturday, 2 October 2010

Another Accident For The Accidental Bus Driver

It was a bad start to the day, acceptable in the middle and piss pot poor at the end, when the Accidental Bus Driver lived up to his name.

3.30am and the depot is dark and locked. The new bus awaits, parked in the corner. The front door will not open. I think it is because of my naivety and lack of knowledge which is causing the problem, though later I find out it is just one of the bus's quirks. So rather than risk being late, I creep round the back and climb in the rear door. Not an elegant sight. A fatty such as myself puffing and panting and resembling one of the unfit contestants on Total Wipeout.

The additional price to pay was the mud and grease that I collected on the way. There was mud everywhere on my jacket, trousers, shoes and therefore many Size 15 muddy footprints down the aisle of the bus. It did not matter, because the weather was torrential rain from beginning to end and there was plenty more mud to gather.

The school in Merseyside were regulars and four hours later they were boarded and we were on the return journey. There chat was rapid:

"My Mum calls me Willie," said William. "I don't like it. I don't feel like a Willie."

"Are we there yet?" said another child. "I want me dinner."

"You mean lunch," replied the teacher.

"No me dinner."

"You don't say you want a 'packed dinner. It is a 'packed lunch'. So even when you say dinner it's lunch." And so it went on. As did the rain. It was tropical. By the time we reached the coach park in a field, the bus was caked in dirt.

I dropped them off and came back to the depot. The boss and the other drivers watched me reverse into the depot. They waved enthusiastically and seemed to be shouting hearty greetings, until I switched off the engine and opened the door, only to hear:

"What've you done? You've bumped the new bus - you idiot."

At the back bumper there was a small dent and a chunk of plastic missing. I must have driven over a bump in the field. My name was dirt.

"It's not the end of the world," said the boss restraining his anger. "I might like to remind you that the place you hit is the only bit of the bus I have had painted." I felt depressed. It will amount to weeks of teasing and jokes, after the anger has died down -the Accidental Bus Driver at it again.

I must remain philosophical. It could have been worse. My afternoon at Hexham races was curtailed as I felt I had to make amends in a small way by doing some cleaning. That proved to be the best decision of the day. The Irish dead cert that I was going to plunge my wages on was beaten a neck.

The money will have to go to another cause. The bookies' loss will have to be the mechanic's gain for the overtime due to repair the dent.

Oh well.

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