Recognized Social Butterfly

Bus Drivers: Go Figure!

Bus Drivers: Go Figure!


Last week, I witnessed the diversity and perversity of the drivers of Hawaii’s TheBus.

Without warning, a hyperventilating bus driver stopped the bus at a public park.  Leaving the bus in gear, he lurched into one of the bathrooms. After a couple of minutes, he returned to the bus, greatly relieved. 

A super animated bus driver said “giddy-up” as he accelerated after every bus stop, and he picked up speed so rapidly that it was challenging to stand or to get up while the bus was moving. Oblivious to the passengers who struggled to maintain their balance in the aisle as he spasmodically drove, he made sure to mention “watch your step” as they departed pretty much intact.

A low-key bus driver stopped at a red light near the Convention Center. Next to her was a car whose driver tried to make a legitimate right-hand turn but was stymied by a gaggle of pedestrians erratically moving between both sides of the crosswalk.

When the light turned green, the car stayed put, not wanting to hit a new wave of pedestrians. The bus driver, meanwhile, having no room to swing around the car, violated the aloha spirit: She repeatedly and callously honked at the car to move, even though the line of pedestrians continued to shift back and forth. Why was the up-until-then impassive bus driver continually whacking on the horn? Perhaps it was repressed anger that needed an outlet. Her willfulness could have forced the bedeviled driver of the car to injure pedestrians if he or she prematurely edged through the crosswalk. The car remained in place.

Just before the light turned red, the cautious driver saw an opening and safely maneuvered through it. The irate bus driver could then move enough into the far right lane so that she could proceed once the light turned green. Reverting to her previously self-contained demeanor, she drove as if nothing potentially dangerous had just occurred at the crosswalk. Thankfully, the rest of the ride was uneventful.

Blatantly ignoring the rules, a bus driver encouraged a nearby passenger to keep up a two-way, boisterous, rapid-fire conversation with him. The passenger, who looked like, spoke like, and gestured like Joe Pesci on steroids, engaged the bus driver for over five minutes. Both of them rattled on until the passenger got off the bus; no longer able to kibbitz with the bus driver, he then started to talk to a couple of birds perched on a fence.

The temperature in Honolulu doesn’t vary much from day to night or from one season to another. On the other hand, the temperament of the bus drivers is unpredictable. Vive la difference!

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