10 Aug Frank Jackson
Happiness is a Warm Bus Driver
You have fallen in love with the bus driver. She has all the qualities you have come to love in a person – punctuality, calm under pressure, dependable, with the bus driver, you always know where you stand. Literally she tells you to stand behind the yellow line. And you do it. Because you love her. Because the bus ride is the best part of your day.
She picks you up effortlessly and you shimmy your way through the back. She checks in her gigantic rear view mirror to make sure you are safe, before starting off. You look at the time on your phone to pass the time. You will not be late for work today, because of the bus driver. She waves at her friends the other bus drivers as they pass going the other way. You wonder what her day will be like without you. You worry, because you care, because the bus ride is the best part of your day.
At work you are late for a 10 am meeting with your supervisors. You are locked inside a spare unused office crawled under an unused desk biting your nails and red-eyed. You already miss the calm of the bus ride. You hear the footsteps of your supervisors stampede past the door as you whisper “turn off the light” repeatedly to yourself, a reference to the movie Jurassic Park.
At lunch in the breakroom it seems there is a lot of commotion going on. You get up to investigate. Amy is walking ten feet in front of you in the hallway and you’re attempting to seem like you’re not following her especially since your crush on her has become obvious. In the breakroom a small fire is coming from the middle microwave, you stand in the doorway, Ted pushes you out of the way with a fire extinguisher and it’s later explained to you that someone had left chicken in the microwave for too long. You happen to leave the breakroom just as Amy enters, you move right and she moves right and you run into each other, she moves left then you move left and it happens again. You try to relieve the awkwardness by momentarily dancing a jig in place in front of her which she finds puzzling, and finally you shimmy your way through the door and back to your cubicle.
The meeting with the Supervisors is rescheduled for the afternoon. Supervisor #1 accepts your apology for missing the morning meeting, but also says, “Son what we’re really worried about is we’re not seeing numbers like we need to be.”
Supervisor #2 is nodding in agreement. He says “The beginning of the year, your numbers were good. On par.”
#3 says, “But now we’re noticing a difference.”
Supervisor #4 brings up a power point with a chart showing your numbers sharp decline from January to now.
Supervisor #5 says “The business you’re bringing in is at best, not acceptable. And at worst…”
Supervisor #1 finishes his thought, “It could be subject for dismissal.”
Supervisor #6 says, “Now see, we like you.”
#4 chimes in, “Sort of.”
#6 continues, “Enough to see this as a blip on your work transcript.”
Supervisor #5 says “I’m sure we’ll begin to see better results, say within the next 2 weeks.”
“Otherwise,” Supervisor #2 says, as Supervisor #1 is already saying, “It could be subject for dismissal.”
You cough a little. “Well, I still haven’t been notified as to what I do here, each week I’m assigned to a different department, with a new supervisor, given a new list of non-associated tasks, I’m not even sure what the purpose of doing them is, and frankly, I don’t know what it is our company even does, will someone ever explain that to me?”
Supervisor #7 says, “We consider everything you just said as hostile insubordination and I will get started on the necessary disciplinary paperwork.
Supervisor #8 says, “We’re not trying to come down on you.”
#4 says, “For now, we’re letting you know you’re still a valuable member of this team.”
#9 says, “Look at how reassuring our smiles are.”
Some are not smiling.
#7 says, “We just want the old you back.”
#3 says, “You can turn this around.”
“Otherwise,” #6 says, as #1 is already saying, “It could be subject, for dismissal.”
Your bus driver works a day longer than yours and is all smiles as you shimmy your way comfortably in place. The ride home is as welcome a relief as you will have all day. The ride is routine, with the same cast of characters getting on and off at their scheduled stops. You watch the bus driver in her gigantic rear view mirror, the side of her face cinematically profiled. On the bus, you cooperate well with others. You think to yourself, We are all on this together, and in an uncertain time, in an uncertain world, though we are forced to eventually get off, and head toward our own personal chaotic lives, there is always the bus driver who will be there tomorrow and tomorrow to pick you back up again.
Frank Jackson loves everything and everyone. He lives in Brooklyn, NY and also on Twitter @frankerson.