When I was at West Heritage, there was a bus, but I didn’t get to ride it because it was for the kids who lived too far from the school (and as of 5th grade and beyond, not far enough to be absorbed into East Heritage). I was not a bus virgin, though, as I did get to take a bus to the four preschools I got shuffled around to (something to do with brute-force correction of a speech impediment before the district either gave up or decided they’d done all it could and I could be sent into normal Kindergarten). And, of course, there were field trips! Each grade level got at least two a year. I know, right? Considering how broke California is, that sounds almost lavish by today’s standards.
You learn very quickly about Bus Culture. Silent Lunch? Screw that, try enforcing a Silent Bus policy. Now, I get that there’s a reason to discourage excessive chatter on a bus (safety, being able to listen for the train) but wow, do tensions ever run so high on the bus, and you are guaranteed to encounter two groups of scary people. First you have the (unfortunately underpaid) bus drivers, who are already on edge and thus tend to be very very shouty and easily butthurt by the second party, the bratty little kids (in my experience, these have always been boys) who do it for the lulz. I am hard-pressed to recall teachers riding on the same bus as the rest of us for field trips, but rather, the parent volunteers would do so in their place, because I’m sure if the teachers rode on the bus for the field trip they would have surely ended such shenanigans. The parent volunteers, of course, didn’t have the authority to do squat aside from gently suggest we take things down a notch, and the drivers didn’t have clearance to boot disruptive kids during field trips for obvious reasons.
Being an introvert and one who disliked drama, I tried to get a solo seat where possible (even if we were assigned seats, as soon as the teachers went away people would shuffle about to sit with their friends), usually close to the front because all the naughtier kids veered towards the back. However, over time I would find that getting solo seats was a far easier task than avoiding the lulzmakers. I could find at any time my daydreamy gaze out of the window seat rudely disrupted by some punk-ass kid behind me putting up his feet behind my head. Creepy. Of course, as soon as I would kindly ask that he, you know, NOT DO THAT, he’d continue doing so anyway for the lulz.
Sigh. Well, at least it wasn’t like in that one preschool bus that had seatbelts… and some jackass would hit me with them. No, really. Why the driver didn’t do anything about it, I don’t know.
Today’s post is brought to you by this piece of roflcoptery and I can tell you with reasonable certainty how things escalated to this point. It’s not about how easily butthurt we have become over the years, or how we should just let people fart… it’s more about stupid kids doing stuff for the lulz. In this case, the farter was already pressing the driver’s buttons, and breaking wind leads to exasperated driver hitting his limit and either turning the bus around (yes, I’ve seen this done… though not at the elementary school level and not during a field trip) or delaying departure so he can summon a proctor/administrator to remove the little brat from the bus. I’ve seen similar blowups like this happen. Farting is nothing new (though novel!).
Well, since we’re talking about buses, may as well follow up on field trips and such since I mentioned that earlier. As much as West Heritage tried to dress these up as being educational or at least culturally-relevant, that was totally bullpucky– they were thinly-disguised excuses to GTFO for some fun. Surely, there was learning to be done, except it wasn’t of the sort you’d find in books or classrooms. Of course, we still had to deal with the daily pest that was the poorly-named Daily Oral Language/Journal doubleteam, but once that was in the can, we were shuffled to the front gate where you’d see this train of buses, 3 or more. You could fit roughly one class on a bus, exceptions for the combos since they tended to have higher populations.
Really, despite my dislike of obnoxious lulzmakers, I actually preferred the bus rides and the extended lunches over the actual field trips themselves. The rides let me, again, space out and watch the world go by and I could get away with not having to small-talk it up with my peers. The exceptions were if I could get a solo seat near the front of the bus, where the parent volunteers (and rarely, teachers) tended to congregate. I wasn’t really interested in chatting it up with them unless they started the conversation, I suppose it just felt… safer to sit near them.
Field trips tended to be all-day affairs and as such, teachers silently lumped all the recesses together into one big lunchtime after the actual event before heading back to campus. The buses would all pull into a large park or playground and unload everyone, the teachers and parent volunteers would distribute the brown-bag lunches (I’m pretty sure all the permission slips made it a point to state that you had to brown-bag it) and for the next 70-90 minutes it was happy hour.
What was the most WTF field trip? (Because, you know, this is Weird Heritage, so it was always WTF.) To this day it would still have to be first grade, Medieval Times of Buena Park. (Except we didn’t get the food. Likely a cost-saving measure. Still, boo!) It was so obviously a thinly-veiled connection to the medieval era unit in social studies, but, dammit, it was fun. And for the record, West Heritage was Team Black and White Knight. (I can’t remember if our at-the-time de facto rival Windrows Elementary was in attendance, but someone had to root for Team Green Knight.) I’m considering a return trip with the full package, later this year… that could be a fun little blast from the past, no?