I work in Mayberry meets Deliverance

Posted: February 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

I drive a school bus for a living.  I have worked in Milwaukee and some relatively large cities in Wisconsin, but now I work in an extremely small city in Tennessee.  It is like the evil Mayberry.  It is so small, everyone knows each other, but drugs and poverty are rampant there.

This is a lighthearted story I am going to tell, so let’s not get into all the sad, sordid details at this time.

A school bus driver actually has some power. I bet you didn’t know we are able to basically write tickets, did you?  You know when you see a school bus with their red stop sign out and they are letting kids off the bus? If someone goes through that stop sign, we are to radio it in immediately and that person will get a ticket, along with a rather large fine for even first offenses.

Well, in Milwaukee, if someone went through your sign, you hurriedly got their license plate number and called it in.  There were so many cars that you had to be sure to get the plate number right.You radio in to base the number, they write it down, and when you get back from your route you wrote up the ticket.

Monday morning when I was driving my school bus, I heard on the radio a woman named Susie Jane radioing in to the base to talk to Mary Jo to tell her that someone had just went through her stop sign.  She said, and I quote, “Susie Jane to Mary Jo.  Mary Jo, I just had a car go through my stop sign.” To which Mary Jo replied,”Who was it?” Susie Jane said,”It was the red car.” Mary Jo knew exactly who she meant! She asked,”You mean the one owned by the lady(it sounded like later)  over on Walnut street?” Susie Jane confirmed,”That’s the one!”.

Now I want to point out a couple of things about this little interaction that took place.  First, the place I work is so freaking small that all she had to say was,”It was the red car” and the lady knew exactly who she meant. Secondly, unlike in the city, the buses do not have their own frequency so we share the same frequency as police and truckers. It is basically a public radio. I have been warned to be very careful what I say over the radio because every trucker, policeman, and more importantly, citizen will hear whatever I say as long as they have a police scanner monitor.  And since it is Mayberry meets Deliverance out there, everyone has a police scanner! So, now everyone knows the lady with the red car who lives on Walnut is getting a ticket! No wonder gossip is so present in small towns…

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