Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Field Trip
Jennifer Flaten

The bus rattles over a crater-sized pothole causing my seatmate to bounce into the air. On her way down, she slams into me. The force of that blow sends me sliding into my other seatmate. Luckily, we avoid rapping skulls.

Since I am in the middle, I channel Moe from the three Stooges and tell my seatmates to spread out. Even though I am folded into the seat like a praying mantis, I use my elbows to nudge my seatmates in order to hurry this process along.

Suddenly, the bus slaloms around a corner, the force of the turn sends the three of us sliding towards the aisle, employing special mom skills, I use one hand to grab a kid and the other to grab onto the edge of the seat to keep us from shooting across the aisle into the other seats.

After we reposition ourselves in the seat, I look out the window and much to my dismay; I see that we are less than half way to our destination. Great, I am not sure if I can make it much longer. My ass fell asleep about three miles ago and I am pretty sure I am now deaf or at least hearing impaired.

Earlier another chaperone told me a morbid tale about a different bus trip where a passenger died in the onboard bathroom and now I can't help but think 'lucky devil'.

What should be a quick trip home is turning into crawl because inexplicably the driver chose surface streets. We are at a stoplight and considering that, we are 20 cars back I have serious doubts we will make it through the light before 2010.

With Herculean effort I resist the urge to run, okay since the aisles stuffed with children it would be more like shove and push, my way up to the driver, grab him by the shoulders, and ask, "Why the hell didn't you take the highway? Who in gad's name takes a bus filled with children the long way?"

Ah, the bus, it is a special level of hell...I am wondering what I did in a previous life to earn this karma.

What with the noise that resembles a jet on takeoff and the seats that keep a chiropractor in business, I don't care if you drive a sardine can on wheels, after the bus it will feel like a stretch limo. If the windows weren't so small and perpetually jammed shut I would seriously consider jumping out one.

So, how exactly did I find myself squeezed into a seat that barely fits two average sized children, but instead now holds one adult and two smallish children?

Well, in a moment of weakness I caved in to the repeated pleas of "can you mom, can you puhleeeeze come on the field trip". Usually, I wiggle out of field trips, I blame it on my boss and how I can't take off work. Uh, well, now that I am *ahem* self-employed I really can't use that excuse-no can I. So, I reluctantly said yes to the field trip.

I was playing the odds because in our school, many moms volunteer for field trips. Many insane moms, who enjoy torturing themselves but I digress. We have so many volunteers that they draw names for the "lucky" chaperones. Since, I am normally; incredibly unlucky in raffles and such I was really counting on not winning.

It is not that I don't like field trips, I like field trips, it's just that I don't like other people's children and a field trip is all about spending time and ultimately being responsible for other people's children.

One of the reasons I agreed to this field trip is that it was a two-fer. All the third grade classes went on the same day, so I figured I could get credit for going on a field trip for both girls. Not so, says daughter #1. She is demanding I take a separate field trip with her. Damn and double damn.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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