Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bringing up the rear

It was a split shift kinda day: a morning express run to Civic Center in Miami followed by an afternoon piece on the 50. T'was St. Patrick's Day, so I felt safe in assuming most folks would be in an ebullient mood for the holiday. Some holidays have come to transcend cultural heritage and somehow unite us all regardless of the day's origin; apparently everyone's Irish in the middle of March and Mexican in early May.

After the Miami trip, as I neared the garage there was a bizarre billowing fog drifting down from the slopes of Mt. Trashmore, its peak poking above the clouds. It was a puzzling phenomena since the weather wasn't cool that morning. Perhaps it was a harbinger for the day ahead.

Later on, I took over for the morning 50 driver at the NETC and headed north. Up at Hillsboro, I made a mental note to photograph the old red caboose that probably hasn't moved in decades, right at home with the old warehouses as a backdrop. These moldering relics of the past are disappearing and it's good to take a snapshot before they're gone. The side of the caboose facing Dixie Highway still bears a streaked yet vivid red coat.

A train delay ate up about ten minutes on the next northbound at Flagler Drive. Three engines hauled the endless quarry cars piled high with Dade County limestone like a hundred-humped camel.

After crossing the tracks, Big Boy Hot Rods generally has some custom pick-up or monster truck sitting right on the shoulder of the hairpin curve, making it impossible for a 40-foot bus to swing a clean turn in a single lane.

At one of the stops along Oakland Park's stretch of Dixie, there was a familiar face. Rarely a rider, she's often to be seen hanging out at various bus stops. A mature woman with bleach-blonde hair, she's a fan of form-fitting clothing but keeps it decent. She's flirty when she sees me and the wink she shot my way was in character.
"Where's your green?" I joked with her, alluding to the holiday.
"Right here!" she exclaimed before turning around and grabbing both denim-clad cheeks.

The rest of the afternoon had some full-moon type weirdness:
 -For some reason people think they can beat a red light even though the road ahead is closed for a train crossing, backing up traffic. At Sunrise northbound, cars blocked the intersection when we got green thanks to these short-sighted motorists, causing us to miss a light cycle. The domino effect was that we hit red lights at every intersection for the rest of the trip.
-In Deerfield, it was chaos as at least a dozen marked and unmarked BSO cruisers were racing about, one even coming head on toward the bus.
-At Hillsboro, two big box trucks had a fender bender at the front of the left turn lane, forcing us to turn from the middle lane and backing up traffic at the worst time of day.
-On one southbound, I caught my leader at the NETC. To get some separation, that bus was instructed to drop off only - all the way to Central Terminal. This meant I would be the only one picking up for all that distance. Now I love to help out my coworkers and can sympathize with running late, but this happened to coincide with an early release day for the schools. So by the time I rolled up to Lauderdale High the platform was covered with waiting teenagers, and I already had a seated load. I had set a personal record before when I carried a double rush-hour load on the 22, but this surely topped that. Even today I don't know how we all fit in. There must have been some lap-sharing.

For our last southbound from the north layover, a couple regulars were waiting; a middle-aged man and much younger man, both on work release with attendant ankle bracelets. The older gentleman recites some verse:
"Get on the bus, Gus! Get with the plan, Stan!" as he swiped his pass. I thought it was clever at first, then realized through the haze at the end of a long day that these were familiar song lyrics, albeit paraphrased. Not one to be outdone with words, I resolved to continue the game at our next meeting.
"A little late, Nate!" he sneaked a last one in as he stepped out...

Enough about endings, time for beginnings: summer routes have begun! I'll be on a variety-pack schedule: 2, 10, 60, 42, 441 Breeze, and 95 Express 109. So top to bottom, side to side, with a little Dade and Palm Beach thrown in, I'll be all over Broward County. See ya out there...

1 comment:

  1. Since this post, the caboose was moved when the old storehouses were demolished. Fortunately the caboose is in good hands and after 16 years in its previous spot was recently moved to a permanent home at Deerfield Beach City Hall. Story here: