My old bus suffered a malfunction the other day (turbo sucked in an oil seal and commenced to blowing a tremendous quantity of smoke). The interesting thing is that the engine ran great--better than it's run since Christmas--or maybe I was simply distracted from it's lack of power by the hilarity of the massive amounts of foul smoke. Turns out it was spraying unburned oil out of the exhaust pipe which adhered to the back of the bus. Fun stuff.
Of course this means that I had to have a spare bus. I don't like spare buses for many reasons. For example, some spare buses have had raccoons. Pigeons are a regular participant in early morning exercise. Can you imagine an old fat bus driver trying to chase a damn bird out of a bus? How about an old not too fat man cleaning raccoon crap off the driver's seat?
I'm not going to discuss the shop's attentiveness or ability to repair the buses, we'd be here all day and then I'd probably get fired. Put simply, a spare bus gets driven a lot, driven hard with little attention paid to it's health or well being. Oh, sure, we have to perform a pre-trip inspection, but not as much attention to detail is paid to a spare compared to an assigned bus.
I've never felt unsafe in any school bus. Stop calling the DOT. They hassle us enough as it is. The bastards sometimes sit on the street outside the bus barn flagging down each bus as it leaves just so they can check if we have our drivers licenses with us. Ok, sure, that dumbshit that didn't have hers TWICE could be to blame, but the DOT has been doing this for years. Somehow they always know when a bunch of buses will be parked waiting out a field trip. Boy, they raise hell then. Any little thing wrong....
So anyway, today's spare bus had a gob of sticky gunk on the steering wheel that I was unable to clean off of it. I tried to clean it off, too...I'm thinking one of those old men sneezed on the steering wheel, OR maybe he was a little sick the other day, was using a cough drop and decided to save damn thing, you know, like old people do; they save stuff. Some people save EVERYthing, and they're called hoarders. Some people save useful stuff, but get a little out of control with it. Often it's excused due to having live thru the depression when there was uncertainty where the next bale string or margarine bowl was going to come from.
Back to the cough drop. I think the old fart had been coughing coughing coughing and finally broke out a cough drop, and since it was near the end of his shift he decided to save it by tilting the steering wheel as horizontal as possible and then stuck it on the area right next to the door open/shut buttons. Yes, the door controls are on the steering wheel. Pretty sure the engineers that designed this were union employees. This bus is parked outside in the sunshiney delightfulness, which causes cough drops stuck to the steering wheel to melt and adhere to the steering much like the snot the old guy had sprayed onto the windshield....well, let's just sum it all up by saying they could use the stuff to retread tires. BTW, there was suck a coating of something on the inside of the windshield that I was able to write a message for the next poor bastard that has to drive that bus.
I didn't expect to get my bus back for at least a month, but I was surprised with a call on the radio, which I expected them to say: hey, you fat bastard, you're late getting to the school! but they said that my old bus was done and I could retrieve it/swap at my convenience. I agreed that I would. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they also repaired the hood of the bus; one hinge had fallen part...which I discovered the other day. Ok, I discovered it a few weeks ago on the first really warm day and actually considered fixing it at home. But....I really didn't feel like donating a bolt to the company.
So maybe I should have quit before that last paragraph...because it wasn't funny at all. If you'd like your money back, just ask...you can have the cost of admission to this amusement park returned to you if you fill out the form in triplicate, mail it to my POBox, but I can't return it to you for at least 6 weeks, and I don't mail to PO Boxes. Sorry...it's the least I can do.