Sunday, May 20, 2012

BUS STORY # 289 (Field Trip)



This morning, we pull up to the stop just past Wyoming, and a guy in a bush hat steps on board, shows the driver something, then announces, “Field Trip!” About 500 La Cueva High School students then board the bus.

OK, 500 is an exaggeration.

But there are an awful lot of them, and they fill all the empty seats and aisle and every spare nook and cranny in between. They’re on their way to UNM and an anatomy lab. I consider making a joke about the student body going to the anatomy lab, but think better of it.

Our driver does a wonderful job of looking out for the riders who need to exit between Wyoming and the stop by University Hospital. It’s impossible to hear the pull cord signal back here, so either she’s closer to the speaker, or else she’s got a visual signal of some sort up there. When she does stop, she keeps her eye out for the riders exiting. It’s taking them a while to worm their way to the doors.

By the time we reach San Mateo, where the junior high kids going to Wilson start boarding, there really is no more room on the bus. The driver stops for each clump of kids and assorted adults and explains we are full and apologizes.

She doesn’t have to do this. She could have changed the signage on the front of the bus and on the sidewalk side to read “Sorry. Bus Full,” and just sailed on past the stops. She’s a sweetheart.

One of the high schoolers standing beside me notes a lot of “those kids” at the stops have skateboards. “Dude, it’s all downhill from here.” He’s referring to the fact that every west-running street east of the Rio Grande runs downhill from the mountains toward the river. Theoretically, they could push off from any of the stops and just coast all the way to school.

Then he adds: “They buy these expensive skateboards, then just walk around with them.”

Even at my age, I know better. The little kids are into tricks. They’re the ones over at Skateboard Park when school is out. And at the bus stops, they practice standstill jumps and pivots and balancing while everyone else who’s older is texting or tweeting or otherwise working their electronic toys. It’s the big kids, like the ones I see around the university, who use them for transportation.

So how is it this old man knows so much about skaters?  All those field trips on ABQ RIDE, that’s how.

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