Sunday, June 19, 2016
Bringing up the rear
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...