I often heard my grandmother and in-laws talk about going on bus trips and so I assumed it was something you did when you got older. Apparently, I am officially older.
The red letter day happened last month. I can remember red letter days on the large paper calendar with tear off sheets that the local bank provided elementary schools back in the day. It was exciting to count the days to the next red letter day that signified a day off from learning how to count or say the ABC’s. At the end of the month the teacher would walk over to the calendar in her teacher sounding shoes and tear off the page so we could get excited about the next red letter day. I might be older, but I can still remember some important things.
Anyway, back at the ranch, or in this case-bus, I noticed some peculiar things about bus tours and specifically, the seating on those tours. First, the tour company said seating was first come, first serve. An interesting approach for older people on a bus tour, but it worked out differently than I envisioned. I thought, you show up 45 minutes early, you’re the first person on the bus and you get to sit with your friends who also showed up 45 minutes early. But I was wrong. Everyone showed up and waited in the holding area until the driver reported for duty, which was 5 minutes before the scheduled departure. When he said, “All aboard,” it was like he lowered the green flag at NASCAR. No, I’m not a race fan, but I have always been interested in the partying they do on race weekend.
I watched in amazement as people started running for their spot on the bus. “Will those who get on first see something more than those who get on last? I thought. “Are there premium seats or does everyone want one close to the toilet in the back corner of the bus?” That was the last place I wanted to sit so I didn’t care, but when I got on the bus I noticed there wasn’t a toilet in the back corner of the bus. So why the rush to pick your seat?
The second peculiarity-not a word I’ve ever used before-was the announcement made by the bus driver. He said, “The seat you are now in is your seat for the entire trip. There is no moving to another seat.” “What on earth happens on these bus trips that requires such an announcement?” I thought. I looked around at the other passengers and I picked a seat.
It all reminded me of a bus ride I took back in elementary school when we went to the circus. We ran to get certain seats on the bus-usually the ones in back of the bus because the teacher sat near the front-and we were stuck in the same seat for the entire trip. That was so the teacher could see the bad kids and easily determine who was missing when we got back on for the ride home. Plus, if you messed up your seat, you were stuck with it. Hmm, that’s interesting.
I learned a lot on my first bus trip. Next time, I’ll know how it all works. After all, I am officially older.