Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Neither Rain Nor Snow
There's a kind of running joke in my family about how my mom walked me to the bus stop for only the first year we lived in Alaska, and thereafter granted me full independence for bus stop journeys. I was nine years old at the time and the bus stop was about a quarter mile away. I'm sure my independence was mostly granted because of the way below zero temperatures and total darkness.
I do not recall being particularly upset by this, but I find it amusing as an adult to tease my mom about her abandonment.
Then Cubby started taking the bus here. After a week or so of taking him to the end of the driveway--all of about 100 yards from the house--to get on the bus, and being out to meet the bus when he got home, I was all, "Yeah, you just go on out there on your own, Cubby. I trust you."
I am my mother.
But I really do trust Cubby. I trust him to wait by the side of the road, to cross the road when he's given the appropriate signal by the bus driver, and to come right into the house in the afternoon.
Charlie, however, I do not trust. And not just because he's only four, either. Cubby probably would have behaved exactly the same two years ago as he does today. But Charlie is not quite so rule-abiding and never has been. I would not put it past him to get mad at Cubby and go racing off down the road, or into the woods, or . . . well, I just don't trust him.
So now we all go out in the morning to wait for the bus, and Jack and I are always outside to meet the bus in the afternoon, regardless of the weather.
This is no small thing in this climate. One morning last week our entire driveway was a sheet of ice covered in a layer of rain, which resulted in a Three Stooges On Ice situation with children prat falling all over and the dog getting in everyone's way. It was hilarious, if irritating.
We've been out in the rain, and the sleet, and the snow, and almost total darkness. Today just as the bus arrived to drop Cubby and Charlie off, I noticed it seemed to get suddenly darker. I looked to the west to see a wall of fog blowing at us. It was cool to watch, but probably not so cool to the bus driver, who had to drive right into it.
I may not enjoy having to be out in all weathers for bus stop duty, but at least I don't have to drive the actual bus in those conditions. And for that, I am extremely grateful.