Absolutely no chance to read in the last couple of days. I’ve been learning how to drive a monster 17 tonne machine, also known as a bus, capable of carrying up to 90 other humans. I’ve learnt to navigate through the wide and insanely narrow streets of Sydney suburbs without destroying life, property or my sanity. It’s an intensely physical job, with response times in the microseconds, as opposed to the at least minutes what I’ve been accustomed to over the last few years. Feedback is instant – either a honk from a fellow road user, a destroyed rear-view mirror, or a damaged bus. The instructors are hard, and the men and women doing this driving are interesting characters on their own.
It’s a project I wanted to do for a while – learn to drive a bus. I’ve got my heavy vehicle license a couple of weeks ago. I’m eligible to drive a variety of heavy vehicles that have a single axle at the back. And as a self-inflicted capstone to this project before deciding to do this part-time, I’ll be driving a bus over the Sydney Harbour Bridge with potentially 90 people on board. I’ve never driven a car through Sydney CBD, so beginning this service from the heart of the city as my first episode driving is both exhilarating, and nerve-wracking. I do have a mentor beside me for the next few weeks until i’m comfortable driving on my own. The days will be at least 15 hours long, given the long commute I have to do to get to the bus depot, with a 4 hour break in between shifts. The wages are near poverty level, and the stories of the people who are on the same cohort as me have been eye-opening. I’ve made a couple of good mates already, and am amazed at the optimism despite the hard, blue-collar work that is bus driving. Huge respect to the craftsmen and craftswomen that are bus drivers, after what I’ve experience in just the last 48 hours.
To bear up under loss, to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief, to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close, to resist evil men and base instincts, to hate hate and to love love, to go on when it would seem good to die, to seek ever after the glory and the dream, to look up with unquenchable faith in something evermore about to be, that is what any man can do, and so be great.
– Zane Grey, author
The thing I missed the most in the last couple of days? Music, whether making it or listening to it. You can’t listen to music while driving a bus, or use a mobile phone. A great sacrifice to make indeed!
50 Baroque Pieces