Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Highway to hell

I lived on a farm in a remote little rural town, called Geranium, which at the time, boasted a district population of 80 people.

Our farm consisted of cereal crops, sheep and .....pigs.

We went to the local Area School, which catered for kids from the general region, from grades K-10.

My Mum would drive my brother and I to school in the mornings, but we would take the bus home. We were the first stop on our bus route.

I must say, I never really enjoyed the school bus ride. I was a painfully shy child, and my brother and I were the youngest kids on our bus, which would have otherwise been filled with rowdy intimidating high schoolers.

For the entire 5 years I rode that bus, I barely said a word.

Occasionally, I would be forced to speak; like when I would ask Mrs Clothier- the bus driver, to please drop my brother and I off at Grandma's house. Grandma's house was the next property over, perhaps a mile or so down the road from our place. Nevertheless, practically every time I was expected at Grandma's, Mrs Clothier would forget my request, and drive right on by.

On such occasions, pangs on anxiety would shoot through my chest, my mouth would suddenly dry up and I would pray that Mrs Clothier would suddenly remember my request.

Usually she didn't. She was probably on autopilot, trying to tune out the boisterous shenanigans going on in the back of the bus.

Somewhere between my Grandmas house and the next town I would drag myself to the front of the bus to remind Mrs Clothier, with the eyes of ridicule piercing my back and snickering from the other kids clanging in my ears . Never did any of the other kids speak out for us; perhaps they were having bets about how long it would take for me to fess up.

Our place resided alongside a highway. The bus would normally drop us at the front gate of a large circular track that wound its way to our home.

In the summer there was always a lingering fear that a brown snake was lurking in the scrub and bushes beside the gate; sometimes this was the case. Mostly, any rustling in the dry grass was put out of mind...out of sight out of mind.

If this weren't enough, my brother and I had to suffer the predicable taunting and humiliation that went along with being pig farm kids.

Whenever, the bus doors flung open for us to exit, a relative chorus of booing and hissing would spring forth from the older kids on the bus, which sounded something like this "PPPPPOOOOOOOO, YOU STINK!"

This chorus of discontent was generally followed by roaring laughter and a gaggle of teenagers falling over themselves in self-congratulation about how funny they were.

I never looked back; never said a word....just descended the bus steps and kept on walking, day after day, after torturous day.

No one ever mentioned it at school or taunted us in the school yard, but knowing that 9/10 bus rides would ultimately result in the same scenario, and bracing myself for that kind of humiliation, every single day from the age of 5...well, it just lead me to HATE THE GODDAMN BUS!


shishyboo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shishyboo said...

oh god the school bus! Hell on wheels for shy kids, I know exactly where you're coming from. I was a teasing target too, the last day of school in year 9, I threw up on the bus (from a tummy bug). EVERY single person piled off the bus at the next stop, it took me years to live that down. At least I can laugh about it now...
sorry deleted it by mistake :)

Heather said...

I used to ride the bus too, during elementary school. We were the first pick up in the morning and the last one at night. It was a long ride. I remember kids getting rowdy. I remember a boy who used to cry everyday when his mother put him on the bus. His name was Duffy. It's amazing what sticks in the old brainbox. :)

strauss said...

Oh Shish, I sympathise. That sounds like a traumatic experience, and in year 9 no less.
Teasing on the bus sucks, you can't even get up and leave.
I would love to hear more school bus stories :)

Catherine said...

Ugh. THE BUS. Thankfully, I think I've blocked out most of my REALLY BAD tortuous memories. Gotta love the body's survival mechanisms.

I'm truly sorry for your experience though, Strauss.