Holy friggin hell, what a week. Thank Zod tomorrow's Fri, errr, whaddya mean it's only Wednesday tomorrow?
I'm not sure how much more of this negativity I can take. Yes, I know it's only a couple of videos to Joe (and Jill) Public, but I'm writing from the driver's seat. If you're reading this to find me ranting about videocams on buses, look elsewhere. I'm no Gary Quaele. I've been submerged in cyberculture for far too long to think little things like privacy issues and city bylaws are even relevant enough to mention when this city gets into its Jackson Pollock video painting of the modern bus driver. Gary, if you're reading this, please check out the video description. F.U. A.T.U. is a shorthand version of how people feel about our bylaw defense.
How does this affect the common blue collar driver?
Imprimis, the union's official response makes me feel stupid. (Which is why I smartly used Poe's favorite word for "Firstly" in an attempt to feel smartly)
Secondly, it fills my Drives In Circles Inbox with piles of "Your overpaid", "Monkey could do that" kind of mail.
Thirdly, it makes every conversation I have for a few days a defense or condemnation of a colleague.
Lastly, it's embarrassing when another video surfaces just as I've come up with a good blog defending good bus drivers.
Now there's absolutely nothing I can do about One, Three or Four.
The second one however, I can respond to.
I am overpaid in relation to retail salespeople, and underpaid in relation to other professional drivers. I personally took a significant pay cut to work at OC Transpo because I wanted to be around to raise my kids. I realize that the fact that professional drivers are not university educated is bothersome to some people, but in all honesty, unless you are using applied science in your day-to-day job, chances are you overvalue your university degree. Go to any insurance company call center, throw an eraser, and you'll hit seven arts degrees.
Professional drivers have a very high earning potential, especially if they have an aptitude for business. There is no shortage of work even during a recession. Don't let the sideburns fool you.
Which leads me to the following question: Can a monkey drive a bus?
Technically, yes. I'm sure a monkey could drive a bus given the opposable thumbs and penchant for scratching bum. The legs are a little short, but current accommodation laws could compensate for that. But let's see a monkey talk on a cellphone while driving.
Picture your last long trip in a car somewhere. Got that in your mind? Maybe it was a five hour jaunt down to Toronto. You stopped a few times for Timmy's, hit a bit of traffic, but you made it, right? You were glad to stretch your legs at the destination. You gave a little stretch, twisted the torso, and felt a little groggy. Am I close?
Add three hours to that five hour drive. And do 500 transactions. In Traffic. And answer 100 questions. Throw in a dispute over who should pay for your gas. And a drunk guy who wants to pretend you're his buddy. And a few loud high-school students who wont move for your pregnant sister. And just for fun, make every other car on the road do something stupid to get in front of you. Make a few of those cars flip you the bird.
Now do that every day for a week.
And still show up on Monday to do it again.
I chose this job, and I'm not looking for sympathy. Driving is easy; that's why everyone in Ottawa is so good at it.
But a monkey could not do this job, even if after the actions of a few of my colleagues make me feel like one.