It's been a while since I wrote to you, dear readers. It's the holiday season, and I've been busier than a one-toothed beaver in a grove of tender timber. I'm sure you have been too. But still, you're buying my book. Thank you. I hope to do you justice with my words of life from the driver side. You honor me by paying to read it, more than you could ever know.
This time of year, I wax nostalgic. I'm humbled by your taking time to read whatever rolls off these nimble fingertips from the mind of a simple bus operator. Usually, I have no idea what will come of a post. Other times, I actually have a clue, no matter how clueless I may seem. After all, I've only driven a handful of years where many of you have been at it countless times more. Yet, we're all subject to the same roll of the wheels. I'm here for you. I'll write what I see, hear or feel and hope it resonates at the same octave as the hum of your wheels. If not, that's the nature of blue collar life.
We're all just people who simply do a job. Isn't that the muse of today's workforce? Doesn't matter what occupation, we're all just trying to get through our day with a minimum of hassle from people or management. We finish a day, ingest our respective poisons, rinse and repeat. We shoot for a weekend which disappears quicker than it comes, then suddenly we're back on the job, wondering what happened to that Friday jackpot. It's so elusive, we sometimes find ourselves chasing it even as we're living it. Dreams come and go, but work tends to follow us like a hungry dog with no home awaiting it.
It's so appropriate that Dr. Seuss placed "Whoville" upon a snowflake. Humanity after all, has existed only the briefest moment in time and space. Snow eventually melts, taking all those sweet little Whofolks in Whoville into eternity. Before we know it, our "working life," as we know it, has passed. There comes the time we drift off into a retiring golden goodbye. Our lives are two-thirds (or more) finished, and our youth is a figment of a faded imagination. We see youth board our bus, without a clue that they're living what we remember so tenderly, something so golden that it passed through our hands without our knowing we were greedily spending it. I'm jealous of youth, when I realize what I ignorantly squandered. Nowadays, I'm simply biding my time until that golden sunset, but I'm happy nonetheless. I have a family who loves me in spite of myself. Sure, I wish there was "more" to life than I already am gifted with, but it's all a wash. I have so much more than others do, it's embarrassing to dream of more.
Almost every night, I'm so lucky to have a conversation with my sons. One of them lives on his own, and we have such deep conversations it's like I'm talking to my 22-year-old self. There are so many of my missteps I wish he knew about, but he will trip on his own. There's not much I can tell him except to watch where he's going, remember his mistakes and roll with the changes those trips will take him. He's lucky to have his youth, and I'm thankful to have such a connection with him as he takes the tentative steps I once took. He'll someday be at the point I face today. Hopefully, he'll have more wisdom regarding which way to turn than I have now.
"When we're hungry, love will keep us alive..."
--Timothy B. Schmidt
For so long, I've lamented upon what I don't have, while I should be thankful for what I do. As the sun sets on this year, I'm often reminded to be grateful for what treasures I've found. My wife has helped me realize that our now is more important than whatever dream seems more pressing at any given moment. Today's dream is realized: you're reading this.
I'll be driving a bus this week. It's not what I am, but it is what I do. You board my bus, I give you a safe and hopefully smooth ride. We interact for but a microsecond in your daily lives, but it's more than that. I'm rolling some large transit wheels, looking for danger every inch we travel. Your safety is my utmost concern. When you exit the bus, you may not know it, but I've performed a myriad of safety protocols all designed to keep not only you, but all around my 20-ton beastie, safe. Mission accomplished, several hundred times each day. It's an honor to do this job, and you just rolled with the Deke. I'm but one of a thousand. Thanks for riding along on my personal journey.
Merry Christmas, happy whichever holiday you choose (or not) to celebrate, as we approach yet another Winter Solstice. May the East Wind be always at your back, and sunshine light your path ahead. Peace be with you, and yours.