My normal 20 minute commute from my office in Boca Raton to my home in Delray Beach via A1A took 45 minutes tonight.
No accidents. No detours. No intrusive seat belt check.
Just one big, yellow school bus.
When I was a kid in grades 6, 7 and 8 my school was two-and-a-half miles away from my house. Since my bus stop was half way to the school and it took me less time to walk, I only partook in publicly funded transportation on bad weather days.
But times have changed.
Gone are the days of seeing a group of 15 or 20 kids huddled on the street corner throwing the finger at passing cars and beating up the younger ones while waiting for the bus. Now they get door-to-door service with the bus driver acting as their personal chauffeur.
As I drove behind the bus, I watched the bus stop at house 1221 and let a young girl out. Then the driver pulled up to 1225 and let out another. At 1249 a mother was waiting at the end of the driveway with her car to drive her kid up the driveway. This ritual continued for the remainder of my journey.
When former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, was interviewed following his criticism of a Pittsburgh football game being cancelled because of snow, he said we’re a “nation of wussies.” Our parents and grandparents may agree with him. How many times have they told us about their 38 mile trek to school when there was 10 feet of snow on the ground, a hole in the sole of their shoe, newspaper stuffed in their coat for insulation and no gloves to protect their fingers from frostbite?
I can only assume that lawyers are behind the elimination of school bus stops in an attempt to limit the scope of a school district’s liability.
But at what cost?
I’m sure fuel bills have increased, the brakes on the busses don’t last as long as they used to, and those blinking lights – well, they need to be replaced more frequently now.
I wish we could go back to a simpler time, but we can’t.
But I can adjust my schedule to leave five minutes earlier to avoid the bus.