Last Bus Out

Yesterday was Bastille Day. Tomorrow I will be giving three weeks notice at the transit company, not to take another job but to live a different life. I chose this date last March. This is the second time I have moved up my departure date from the universe of jobs. I was not ready to go full-time last September but my number came up early due to the rapid attrition rate. I did not have time to prepare for the rains or install my new system of perimeter alarms – still in their boxes. Clearlake is a high crime area.

In January I had been working six day weeks for four months, doing damage control from the rains the best I could, when I was hit with another nasty burglary, losing a bicycle, a moped, and my precious kayak. That really hurt. I decided to finish the year, earning one paid vacation and a 20% vested in the company plan. I simply had to get my life back as soon as possible. These six day weeks are only for people who live to work. They are not for people trying to keep a writing and performance career from going completely cold.

Two months later in March, Spring had arrived along with police raids on my knoll. It was a spill over from pot farm frenzy down the road. Of course there was no warrant and no apologies – not even for impounding my dog. What could I do? I had no time to shop for a lawyer. I was too busy working six day weeks with nothing open on Sunday. I could have filed papers myself if I had the time to finish my civil procedure course. But I didn’t. These stupid six day weeks forced me to kiss the jack boots of our masters like a good little peasant. Police have no respect for working people.

I decided the next day after I posted my “Pot Police and Pirates” blog to quit as quickly as possible. Forget the vacation and the 401. My tight calculations meant trading money for time. Leaving in early August meant I would have just enough time to rebuild for Winter. At this date, Social Security would give me $1179 per month. I prepared a budget based on this number. I won’t be eating out often or buying much equipment or supplies.

I would have liked to drive the bus for a couple more years, maybe more part time. The problem is work is supposed to add more to your life than than it takes away. Retiring from jobs early so I could get serious about my work reminds me of not being able to begin my true education until I left college. Professors would sometimes hint that the real deal was outside class.

Future plans for a third act promises an interesting show for my useful life. Let’s see, I have a succession of one hour plays to write and produce. There’s the changes in slam poetry performance and judging I want to popularize. My experiments in dramatic video editorials have annoyed so many people I simply have to do a lot more. I’ve got a couple full length plays and screen plays in mind but I won’t make a habit of these old school genres.

I suppose everything else would fall under performance art. Everything would be put on video from puppets, found art crafts, to themed bicycle, kayak, and run events, to videotaped radio shows, cheesy video and parody contests to rustic and medieval salons. There are no limits when you have your health and lots of time.

Maybe I’ll get my teaching credential back and offer to teach a killer economics class. I can’t do that driving a bus six days a week. This will be after I finish my civil procedure course so I won’t have to worry about getting sand kicked in my face anymore by small town goobers.

A bus driver continues to build skills through experience after their official training ends. Many things can only be learned or discovered by doing them over and over. This human capital represents value added for the company and the public. When drivers are forced to leave the result is lost investment in human capital and value for the passengers. The drivers who are forced to leave often have to preserve their own human capital in their personal life. People have values and interests outside work that require maintenance.

Mismanagement of driver hiring and retention has damaged both Lake Transit’s and the drivers’ human capital. In my case, I’ve waited as long as I could to prevent total disaster.

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