What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

28 July 2010

Sit Down While Going up Mountains

There's a sign at the front of every bus I've ever been in that reads something like, "No Standing Forward of Yellow Line While Bus Is In Motion."

Sometimes it's a white line.

The Austin buses have yellow lines, though, and the sign reminds me of a happy little story that I shall share with you now. It could be titled: "Little Susan Rides the Bus."

I didn't ride the bus in kindergarten, and the story of my coming & going from school as a five-year-old is certainly worth telling, but not in today's blog. So there I was, the first day of first grade, new school implements safely packed into a new backpack, waiting for the Big. Scary. Bus. And scary it was; when it pulled up, I seriously hesitated before I could pep talk myself into getting on board.

The bus driver (who has known me since I was born, by the way; she lives pretty close to my parents), smiled and was very encouraging, and assigned me to a seat next to a very, very kind sixth-grader who reassured me that first grade was going to be wonderful. (She was wrong, actually, but no point in ruining a good story.)

It was about a 20-minute ride to school, in the course of which I tried to take everything in. And "everything" included that mysterious sign up front. I could already read going into the first grade; I had the basics of phonics and had learned to "sound it out". My reading was at the Little House on the Prairie level (seriously-- I read it the summer before I started first grade), which, I have since learned, has no hard words. Except maybe "massacre".

So, very slowly and carefully, I read every word on the sign, until I got to the strange word "motion". Obviously, sounding it out was not going to work. (And while I'm sure I will tell my children the same thing, "sound it out" is dumb advice for English speakers.) But I was too timid to ask even the nice sixth-grader next to me, and it was getting louder on the bus as more kids got on, and I was not about to draw attention to myself. So I took a couple of stabs at it, and decided that it said "mountain."

I have a vivid imagination, and even more so did the six-year-old me think vividly, so I immediately had a mental picture of the bus going up the side of one of those mountains we saw every summer in Kentucky. I could imagine that it would be a very bad idea indeed to stand in front of the yellow line, or even to stand up at all, while the bus went up such a steep slope; you'd fall backwards!

And I got all the way through first grade satisfied with that explanation. And it's still the first thing I think of when I see the sign.

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