I imagine it is human nature to label or typecast the peripheral characters in our lives. For example, I have referred to a certain type of passenger as a “Princess.” I don’t know…maybe it’s just me. Bus drivers are characters that float in the peripheral, and many are fascinating. One regular #54 driver is either a chick with sideburns or a man with boobs. After several weeks of observation, I am still not certain as to which. Today, I give you The Tour-Guide. She is my favorite bus driver as well as ‘type’ of driver. She almost makes me look forward to going into work for an 0530 overtime shift. Rather than greeting the four of us at 6th & Robert with an insincere “good morning” or a dull stare, she sing-songs “wakey-wakey!” Using the microphone with unmatched skill, she proceeds to announce the stops in a calming, NPR-style radio voice, as well as in a timely manner: “Next stop; Rankin Street…and now, St. Paul Avenue.”
I so greatly appreciate her careful articulation and mastery of the English vocabulary that I forgive the fact that she blows into the microphone before each announcement. She is the only driver who pronounces Albion correctly, for godsakes!
“Alright…coming up is Sibley Plaza, which evidently is…closed. Hmm…and has been moved due to construction…just not sure where…”
The stop at Sibley Plaza is the last stop before the airport. There are at least one dozen airport employees waiting in the street behind a barricade. The driver pulls in as close as she can, lowers the hydraulic step, and chats quietly with the boarding passengers. When we reach the lift gate at the airport, our tour-guide leaves us with her final thoughts:
“I don’t know what to tell you about the sign posted saying that the Sibley plaza Maynard street stop is closed…it’s an enigma. I’ll ask my supervisor about it tonight…until then, I guess you should just take it at face value.”