Joey’s on my bus again. It’s just the two of us this time because everyone else has had the good sense to get home early. For being spring it’s still really fucking cold out.

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, there are some things that you should know about Joey. He’s very sweet, in a child-like kind of way and he means well. He’s also really annoying at times and I’m pretty sure he’s schizophrenic. The former can sometimes make up for the latter.

Oh, and, for the record, I never give out my name or the town where I actually live because let’s be real, people are fucking crazy and I’m not about to lead Crazy to my Facebook page or invite Crazy over for a beer.

Joey makes his way to the front of the bus. “It’s just the two of us now, Beautiful!”

“Yep, it appears to be so.”

“Where do you live?”

I say, “Moss Landing.” It’s my stock response to the question and it’s close enough to the truth.

Joey gets excited. “It’s almost as pretty in Moss Landing as it is in Boulder Creek. Oh, I bet you have a nice house!”

“Yeah, it’s pretty nice, I guess.”

“And I bet you have all kinds of really nice things!”

“Um, yeah, I guess so. I have some cool stuff.”

“What about art!? Do you have any art? I have some PIECES at home.”

I can’t help but laugh at the way he exaggerated the word “pieces” like it’s some kind of special art world term that makes him sound extra knowledgable. “Yeah, I have some nice art. I have a few artist friends.”

“Do you want to come to my house?” He stage whispers to himself “(No, she doesn’t. She wants to go home.)”

“Ha, no thanks Joey, I need to go home.”

“Yeah, okay, I know. You probably want to go home to your really nice house with all your nice things.”

“Yep. Hey, your stop is coming up.”

“Oh yeah! Okay! My stop!” “(No, she’s not coming home with you. She has to go home to her house!)”

I pull off to the side of the road and watch him as he gathers up his bags. He looks like he could be someone’s uncle or brother. Dude just got dealt a shitty hand. I resolve to be a little bit nicer to him from now on, or at least try to be. He tries my patience, but let’s be honest, most people do.

He looks up and tries to catch my eye. He smiles and waves at me with his little boy smile, “Goodbye beautiful driver!” Then he blows me something like 4 kisses in quick succession.

I can see out of the corner of my eye that he’s waiting for me to turn and make eye contact with him but I don’t. Resolving to be nicer doesn’t mean being stupid. If I make eye contact I’ll spend the next 5 minutes trying to get him to shut up and leave. I smile at the steering wheel and  busy myself with the defroster. I give him a little wave, “Goodnight Joey, I’ll see you soon.”

He blows me two more quick kisses before jumping out of the bus and scurrying up the hill toward his house and his PIECES.


Joey and the Irish Peach

It’s 11:04pm, I’m driving the last 35 to boulder creek and I’m stopped at the light on Front street at Soquel. It’s late and I’m tired and all I want to do is go home. I can see someone frantically waiving at me from the bus stop in front of CVS. Fuck. I can’t tell who it is but I know it’s probably not going to be good and I’m already over it. The light turns green and the waiving gets more frantic. It’s a guy and he’s running back and forth between the curb and a shopping cart. Back and forth, back and forth, three times in quick succession as I slow for the stop.

::sigh:: It’s Joey.

Imagine Mister Magoo as a drunk schizophrenic that likes drugs except without the glasses and you’ve got Joey. He’s bent over the shopping cart, digging through a pile of recycle. “The bus is here! The bus is here!”

“Hurry up Joey! I wanna go home.”

“The bus is here! The bus is here! Come on man, the bus is here!”

He’s yelling at the bundled up lump of a man sitting on the bench that obviously has zero interest in Joey or the bus.


“Yeah, okay m’am I’m coming!” Joey runs over and taps the lump on the shin with is foot. “The bus is here!”

The lump yells, “Fuck off you fucking asshole!”

“He doesn’t want the bus Joey, lets go!”

“He said he wants the 71!”

“Joey, this is the 35.”

“Yes m’am, I’m coming!” He jumps onto the bus with an armload of stuff and a big black trash back that’s nearly empty. He runs to the back of the bus.

“You gotta put money in the box, bro!”

“I ain’t got 3 arms!”


Joey comes running back down the aisle. “I just need to get one more thing!”

“No more things!!”

“Yes m’am, but can I at least get my jacket?”

::sigh: “Go on, get your jacket.”

“Yes m’am, thank you m’am” He bends over the shopping cart to rifle through it some more. “I can’t just leave all of this recycle here…”

“You can and you will or I will leave you! Ain’t nobody got time for you and your recycle right now.”

A voice from the back of the bus yells “I gotta go to work!”

A second voice chimes in “Hurry up!”

Joey jumps back onto the bus with his jacket in the crook of his arm, three empty water bottles in one hand and a laundry detergent container in the other. He stands at the fare box trying to stick his hands in his pocket to get at his money. “I have it right here!”

::sigh:: “Have a seat Joey, you’ve earned it.”

“Thank you beautiful!” He walks down the aisle to the back of the bus. “She’s beautiful isn’t she! She’s a beautiful Irish peach!”

What the fuck is an Irish peach? It doesn’t matter. I settle into tonights soundtrack for the last 35. It’s the sound of joey’s recycling bag skidding back and forth across the floor with every turn, occasionally punctuated by shouts of “Goodbye! See you later!” as people exit and “She’s a lovely peach”, periodically, for seemingly no reason other than to remind himself of my Irish peachy goodness.


Dumbass in the herd

There are plenty of reasons that I hate driving around the university. If you care to count the reasons you can start by counting the students and when you’re done with that you’ll be pretty on par with the sum of my problems.

Dumbass: Hello driver!

Me: Hi.

Dumbass: Wow, this is a really nice bus!

Me: Mmhmm.

Dumbass: I’ve never seen a bus this nice here on campus before!

Me: Uh, yeah, it’s one of the newer one’s in the fleet.

Dumbass: Why don’t we get it up here more often?

Me: ::sigh:: It’s shorter than the ones we usually put on campus to shuttle you and your peers around. There are so many of you that the shorter busses don’t make sense up here.

Dumbass: Why are you driving it today?

Me: ::sigh:: I am only forced to drive around campus twice. The majority of my work is elsewhere so I get to drive a shorter bus.

Dumbass: Hahahahaha!! You drive a short bus!!!

Me: Yes, I drive it but you’re the one riding it.

Dumbass: …oh, yeah…

His friends erupt into laughter and I don’t even try to hide my smug smile. Then I silently wish myself a happy 4/20 and continue on because he’s just another dumbass in the heard and it’s going to be a long night.


Oh the 35…
I had a group of kids that were being obnoxious so I yelled back to them “Hey! Could you guys be a little less annoying!?”

The girl says “Just a little?”

I say “I’m a bus driver. I have a very high tolerance to these things but you…”

One of the boys says “yes m’am. I’m very sorry m’am.” And then he turns to his friends and says “Come on guys, calm down.”

Hahaha! Yes! Only on the 35 can you be straightforward and get a good result.

As the kids get off they come up and apologize for being disrespectful and annoying! 😆