Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shuttle Bus Days

I went out for another dog walk this evening and had another encounter. We were midway through our walk heading north on Shoalcreek when I noticed a woman putting a sewing machine in the back of her car. She smiled as we walked past and I then recognized her from my UT shuttle bus driving days. She rode my bus 3 times a week for a decade. I drove the Enfield route from the mid 80's to the mid 90's and she always got off at the turnaround every MWF. Her son also drove the UT Shuttle

I stopped to chat with her briefly (yes it was her) and we continued on our way. On the way back home, I started reminiscing about my days as a driver. I had put much of that chapter of my life out of my mind (though I have the occasional nightmare where I am driving the bus from the first passenger seat and I can't control the steering as I smash into car after car.)

I was a different person (sort of) back then. I was wild and care free, absolutely living in the moment. There were numerous occasions of dalliances with the fairer sex in the back of an otherwise deserted bus parked at the turnaround (while on break, usually.) Girls seemed crazier back then.

It won't be useful to reveal any of their names they know who they were and two of them live within a mile of me to this day. I am not bragging, that's just the way it was back then. Many of the drivers would congregate in the bus terminal employee parking lot and smoke a joint before picking up their keys and folders to the buses at the beginning of each work day.

There are quite a few stories I won't begin to tell, but I can relate one. Back in August of '86, my friend Leslie graduated UT with a Sociology degree. We were very close back then and she talked me into driving her and her roommate Tracy around the Enfield route with a cooler stocked with champagne and beer. This was a rare Saturday route as it was during second summer session finals. They lived right on the route and were waiting on me outside their front door with a cooler when I pulled up just after I began my afternoon shift.

The cooler was stocked with the aforementioned champagne, orange juice and a 12 pack of Busch. The UT shuttle buses back then were the orange and white Blue Birds that had stereos so we put in a cassette and drank and drove around campus and out to the turnaround near Lake Austin Blvd and back again and again. After a couple of laps, I called my roommates to come join us and soon we were all in good spirits cruising around my route. I don't think 3 passengers got onboard during my 4.5 hour shift.

I dug out a photo of the event and absolutely have no idea who took this. It was probably a passenger I knew. Anyway, from left to right (Kevin Cooper, Jim Casto, me without beard, Tracy Truesdale and Leslie with Kevin's brother Stuart in the doorway.) This wouldn't go on today. I have crazier stories, but those will NOT be published!

AUG '86