The story you are about to hear is true.
The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
For instance Dennis Uniforms will be called Cheap Ass Uniforms or CAU.
Warning: The following is more an admission of gross stupidity on my part. Let it be known that this in no way reflects on my fellow Drivers nor on Tri-met my employer. The stupid is all mine.
The life of a bus driver sometimes feels like one of those sitcoms about the minutia of daily life, Faux Pas and most of all a trail of compounding errors of judgement. like in Seinfeld or Curb your Enthusiasm.
That’s my life or it was my life just a few days ago.
Lets for the sake of argument assume that my life is a sitcom. Here are the episodes so far.
Episode 1 “THE SET UP”
Life of a bus driver revolves around Uniforms. For some reason, lets call it tradition, we must have our Uniforms to be a bus driver. This isn’t just any Uniform, Tri-met, who I drive for, contracts their Uniforms from the prestigious Cheap Ass Uniforms or CAU to be short. We are each allotted a set amount of money for uniforms so hurray for free money right? Wrong! CAU has consistently raised prices, while at the same time dropping quality. All this time our allowance has stayed the same. Now you are hard pressed to buy the uniforms you will need for a year.
This has made for some interesting complications. I have pants with half sized pockets, I have shirts with the wrong buttons on half the shirt, but the biggest villain is the cargo short pants. Buying these pants have become more of a gamble. Like going to Vegas except not fun at all.
Episode 2 “Failure”
So I have these pair of Cargo short pants that after wearing them one time the zipper assembly simply ripped out. They still zipped but on one side they were not attached to the pants, they were wide open! Worse yet the pocket had opened up as well. So in my rage I was going to toss them out and chalk it up to one more example of CAU when my Girl Friend with the best of intentions chimed in with “Hey I will sew those up for you”
Thus were born Pantzilla (CUE: GODZILLA ROAR)
Episode 3 “The Battle of the Pillows”
In this episode we will establish that my girlfriend and I have this ongoing battle. See she likes throw pillows on the bed. She likes to make the bed every morning and I like making the bed as well so we see eye to eye on that, but I don’t like the useless throw pillows that have over the years slowly multiplied, until now what to do with the throw pillows in our smallish bedroom when we are in the bed has become an issue.
In my way of thinking those throw pillows should have a nice place on my Girls side of the bed, after all she wanted them right? So I throw them on the floor over there… only she wakes up before I do in the morning and she retaliates by throwing the pillows on my side of the floor.
You might think this has nothing to do with Pantzilla but it will my reader, it will
Episode 4 “To Be FIxed”
The promise to fix Pantzilla that was last June. Like everyone we have a long list of priorities and Pantzilla was way low on that list someplace behind cleaning bird poop off the back porch and taking clothes to Goodwill. So they sat on the pile of fix later clothing. Only a funny thing would happen from time to time, either through accident or carelessness Pantzilla would make it’s way back into my proper uniform rotation.
This lead to me having embarrassing encounters with my family who took a strange sort of joy of not only pointing out the open zipper situation but laughing at me endlessly because it happened again.
I would try to get rid of these cursed pants but they would always, somehow end up back on the “to be fixed”
Cut To: Pantzilla sitting on the to be fixed stack (CUE: Godzilla Roar)
That brings us to this week's episode. Episode 5 “Pantzilla”
The day I call Pantzilla Day happened because I was in a hurry, I had worked late into the night and had a morning work shift that was 9 hours after the last shift ended. This is the minimum time we get between runs. So I get home, shower, eat and go right to bed. No life for a bus driver! Then Iget up and go back to work all hurry hurry hurry!
In my defense I was dizzy and stumbling around the room getting dressed as fast as I could that morning. Somehow, maybe science can explain it. I put on Pantzilla. I zipped them without looking. Remember they zip up just fine.
I then began my morning ritual, car key in left pocket, house key on key ring in right pocket. Wallet in right leg pocket, phone in chest pocket. I double checked. Yup that’s everything. I stood up and my house key slid right down my leg unfelt landing on the pillows on the floor soundlessly… Remember episode 3 about the throw pillows
`So now I rush out of the house. I have 20 minutes to get to work but it only takes me 5 minutes to drive it. Only… only… On my way to my car I realize that to my horror I have the freaking Pantzilla on. WTF! Yup sure enough. There it is, my wide open crotch, my only saving grace is that my underwear is also navy blue. I run back to the house… and I reach in my right pocket and feel and feel and feel… there is only the hole in the bottom of the pants pocket
I’m now locked out and in pants that won't zip closed.
My rage builds and I’m desperate but not break a window desperate. I do the math, 5 Minutes to get to work, I have 20 Minutes, so that leaves me 15 minutes to solve this problem. My mind races. I got it!, “I will stop at Walgreens drug store and pick up… wait what are they called? Safety Pins… Good old Safety Pins they will save the day.” That took me 2 Minutes after writing off breaking window, calling girlfriend and other time consuming ideas. This left me 13 Minutes to go, plenty of time.
CUT TO: I’m screeching into parking spot and running inside the Walgreens drugstore untucking my shirt as I go in the hopes of gaining maximum coverage. I dash around like an idiot for a minute or two keeping my open fly pointed away from anyone I ran into. Finally. a worker points me in the right direction, 10 Minutes to go.
Perfect! an assorted pack of Safety Pins! That’s just what I need. Some large, some middle sized some small, Perfect! I run to the front, Careful to keep my nether regions angled away from the happy teller. I happily pay, best money ever spent.
SMASH CUT: To Me in my car in the parking lot, desperately fumbling with the “Sealed incase of Nuclear war” Safety Pins with just 8 Minutes to go, I hold them over the passenger's seat incase the plastic case ruptured, it did. Lucky the spray of Safety Pins it only made my job easier to find the ones I needed.
I leaned back my seat and began to tug and pull on my wayward zipper and pants trying to get them into alignment. After several minutes of exasperated yelling and tugging I got things lined up. Grabbing the largest Safety Pen, I paused, 6 Minutes to go.
I don’t know how you come down on the entire “Sharp and pointy things near your private parts debate” but I exhaled looked at the roof of my car for a moment then, with the study hands of a surgeon I began to… wait what?
For some reason these pants, Pantzilla! could not even make it one outing without ripping but now, NOW! IT’S STRONG AS IRON. I bend one Safety Pin… Time keeps ticking, I exhale look away, grab another Safety Pin and with all the force I can muster stab my thumb, I bite my lip and keep going. There! Done….
4 minutes to go
Then another, carefully but… no another fail… time keeps ticking.
I get the last large Safety Pin and with extreme care make two then three attempts to stab myself in the thumb. I look down and yell, then look up I beg the transit gods to assist me. Then looking down It works! That’s two oh dear lord let that be enough.
2 Minutes to go
I am exhausted, I grab my Camera and for some unknown reason snap a pic.
1 Minute to go… I do some recalculation. I have a 5 minute buffer for travel time to work but I’m halfway there so I have enough time. Pant’s fixed, 6 minutes to spare and I'm halfway to work. Who’s a winner! ME!
I exhale and look up with a smile of pure success. Right into the eyes of a woman. She is sitting in the car parked nose on to me. She is looking at me with that “I can’t believe I just saw what I saw” Our eyes lock across the expanse of the hoods of our cars.
It then runs through my head like a little movie what she had seen from her angle. A man run into his car, then began to fiddle with his crotch area with great attention. All the antics of frustration, exhaustion, moving around and yelling… and then horror crosses my face as she pulls up her Cell phone. Did she see my Uniform? Does she know I’m a bus driver. To her I’m not the guy trying to get to work. I’m the pervert who is pleasuring himself in the Walgreens parking lot.
I’m torn, should I go explain it? No that sounds bad and then I do the next worse thing. I start my car and burned rubber out of the parking lot because that doesn’t look bad at all right?
CUT TO: Me exiting my car at Powell Garage parking lot, I’m running for the Bullpen. I feel it, more then hear it when the first Safety pin breaks free… I’m desperate now, I have to report in. I untuck my shirt again and in freezing rain take off my coat and hold it in front of me.
I will have to fake it all day long.
CUT TO: BEDROOM INTERIOR DARK
I’m Walking into my bedroom later that night… I take off Pantzilla, I pause, Walk over to the garbage can and stuff them in there as deep as I can. As I’m pulling my hand out my middle finger snags on an open Safety pin, I bite my lip and shake my head.
Finally! they are dead and gone. Never to be seen.
There you have it. Now I wait for a complaint to come in. A complaint I will have a hard time explaining to my managers.
Well that’s every episode of my crazy bus driver life so far. I’m sure there will be more, until then, “Roll Easy My Friends”
FADE TO BLACK: