Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Riding on the Boy Bus

It had to happen. Just as when you haven't been picked for jury duty for years, and the summons is on its way in the mail... it's that little feeling that tickles at the base of your skull, near the pituitary, and works its way up. Your turn's next.

I had that feeling before I even got to the buses. On larger field trips, the students are separated by gender: boys on one bus, girls on the other. The girl bus is rank with privilege: good smells, lady-like laughter, and enjoyable conversation about shoes, makeup and clothes. The boy bus is...well...jammed with 13 and 14 year old boys. On this field trip to visit area universities, I drew the boy bus. My turn had finally found me.

I love my male students and female students equally. I enjoy the direct communication style of boys; their take charge attitudes, and their budding gentlemanliness. But the boy bus is...well...the boy bus. I was to be the only female on board this day on a lengthy field trip. I had some misgivings, but I pasted on a smile, even as I glimpsed my colleagues jovially laughing on the girl bus, and resolved to make the best of it.

I learned some things.

On the boy bus:

1. In your instructions to the boys as you are leaving the school, as you try to delicately broach the subject of controlling body odors (because of a prior bus incident found here) and fumble for words, the straightforward boys will understand when one raises his hand and says, "Oh, you mean for us not to fart too much?"

2. In preface to a question as to why a certain girl might act like she does, a boy across the aisle asks you, "You used to be a girl, right, Mrs. M.?"

3. The boy who is sitting immediately behind you begins his conversation with you like this, at approximately 30 decibels louder than normal conversation,  "IgotupSUPERSUPERearlythismorning!Howhasyourmorningbeen?Huh?Huh?OMG!OMG!WearegoingtohaveSOSOSOmuchfunonthisfieldtrip!!!" You see three Venom drinks in his open backpack (super-caffeinated energy drinks) and the empty cans of another two. You pick up the three and hide them away.

4. The boys have won a behavior incentive and get to choose the radio station that will be playing on the bus stereo system. They have chosen a heavy metal station whose catchphrase is "Loud and Proud, 24/7" and covers even the 7:30 AM hour. The air guitars and air drums being played all over the bus do provide a respite of entertainment from the battering ram active inside your head.

5. As you near the first university, a faint odor whiffles past your nose. It is only moments later, though, when a runaway train of smells barrels through your sinuses. Behind watering eyes and a narrowing throat, you investigate and find at least 12 boys liberally spraying themselves, their arm pits, and even their shoes with all manner of manly body sprays and colognes. Hair gel is being passed around and all variations of spikes are coaxed from short hair styles. In answer to your choked inquiry as to why, they smile and one answers, "College girls!"

6. On the return trip, allow yourself to become an active participant in conversations about Hemi diesel engines, which rims are the best for a Ford F150 truck, and how much torque is required to really pull a trailer up the hill near the school. Wantonly sprinkle the conversation with words like head gasket and turbocharger without regard or knowledge as to even what part of speech they are.

7. You imagine you are swimming in a sea of testosterone while they talk excitedly about the newest line of Case tractors, the great scope one of the dads got for a hunting rifle, and why A-Rod costs his team too much money. Look at your cute shoes and let your mind longingly spin what you could have been talking about on the girl bus, all the while nodding your head and pretending to understand what they are talking about.

8. Smile when one boy tells you he's glad you rode the bus with them because, "You're cool!" and other boys nod, smile, say thank you, and express their appreciation on the way out of the bus.

The boy bus...is...well...maybe not so bad after all.

60 comments:

  1. I think you were a winner. So were the boys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. vanilla: I was definitely the winner- I really enjoyed it overall.

      Delete
  2. All in all that was a positive experience for you, Shelly. A female teacher might feel more comfortable on the girls' bus but where's the breakthrough potential? It's good to stretch out of your comfort zone once in a while. That heavy metal matinee shouldn't have been too hard for you to take considering your love of punk early on. I think I would have enjoyed it myself! It's easy for a woman to fit in with the girls but it's quite an honor to be considered "one of the guys."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shady: My teenaged self would have loved it. My present self just can't handle it too well so early in the morning, but it was funny to watch them get so into their air guitars and drums.

      And yes, you are absolutely right- the most fertile place to grow is outside of the comfort zone!

      Delete
  3. we only have co-ed buses....that was hilarious!!! college girls hahaha...........


    you're cool!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY: Normally they're not segregated like that, but for longer, larger field trips, they've found it works better. They were a hoot, actually thinking they'd attract the attention of some college girls~

      Delete
  4. That was so much fun to read and I can surely understand why the boys were glad to have you on the bus. You are the coolest teacher I have ever known.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My dear Shelly, you know I have three boys, 10, 11, & 12. (13 on June 4th) You have just brilliantly described my average trip to the grocery. Pray for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chantel: Oh, my, Chantel- I thought I was doing well for handling it just one day! You do have my prayers!

      Delete
  6. Awwwww, I like how you ended that!! I knew when I saw the title, it was going to be a laugh outloud post and it was!!

    I love all the details you give, makes me feel like I'm there, smells and all!!

    I only have time for one post to read now, but will catch up soon.....love you and have missed you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jamie: I don't know how you found time to read any at all, but thank you, my friend! Love you, too, and I've been praying for you all!

      Delete
  7. There are some pieces of days that seem like you are in ...jail...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. esboston: And that bus could very well have been one when we started out!

      Delete
  8. Shelly,
    You made this seem like so much FUN. I raised two boys and could readily relate to what you were describing, and I can recall days when it did not seem like quite so much fun. :)

    Their room ALWAYS seemed to smell like gym socks no matter how many loads of wash I did each week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit, I would have preferred the boy bus myself. Being the mother of boys it's all I know, girls are so overwhelming I don't know what to make of them! Ha!!

      How fun you cool Mrs. M you!!

      Delete
    2. Marsha: It actually did turn out to be a lot more fun than I anticipated. Those boy smells can get kind of rank...

      Delete
    3. Saimi: I have only daughters, so it's always a little out of my territory to be the only female surrounded by 45 boys, but they really were pretty good kids today~

      Delete
  9. Boys.............lol Gotta love them, I can just imagine them spraying themself and trying to make sure they smell nice for the college girls.......lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jo-Anne: I think they thought they really had a chance there...ha!

      Delete
  10. Dearest Shelly,
    Your post today is so impressive because now I knew how the young boys are from your writing; haha, fun to read about the topic of the talks and the spray things and all.
    Oh, how educative to read you post!!! I loved to read Mr, Shady's comment and your reply, "the most fertile place to grow is outside of the comfort zone." I cannot agree more♪
    Love you always, xoxo Miyako*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. orchid: My dear friend Miyako, those boys were really wanting to make an impression- I think they thought those college girls would really be chasing after them- ha!

      You have such an amazing intellect and quick mind- your ability to grasp things so fast never ceases to amaze me. Thank you, my friend!

      Delete
  11. I wish to add a Japanese word to reward someone for the service.
    "otukaresamadeshita". Maybe the concept will be; thanking the effort and showing your understanding for the persons effort.
    Another Japanese word which cannot be translated in English.
    E-dic said "You must be tired" but it won't match for most of the cases we use the phrase.

    Haha, instantly I thought this in my mind. (haha, no need to reply this)
    Miyako*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Orchid: I LOVED learning this! My favorite things to learn about words and phrases and their meanings. It is a real bonus to me that I've now learned about otukaresamadeshita! I will remember this and look for the occaision to use it properly, although I can't do the Japanese characters for it. Lovely! Thank you, my dear friend~

      Delete
  12. What an experience and I am sure, when you were a young girl yourself, you probably wondered what they did on their bus..
    We are all curious about the opposite sex, and reading this made me aware of, how teen boys want to impress, older girls.
    They never appear to care? Yet they do, and they hide it well. I enjoyed reading this, and I had a laugh.. We get older and yet, the world remains the same all over..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crystal Mary: Oh, they so thought the college girls were going to be after them. I think they were a little let down at the end of the day when it didn't happen as it did in their imaginations.

      And you are so right- the older I get, the more I see things continue in the same manner, not changing much at all.

      Delete
  13. This was so funny, Shelly.

    I was a girl, too, you know...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pearl: I wrote this with "Right in the Guts" still slashing at my frontal lobe, and I see now how I could have framed things a little differently, but it's a pretty accurate representation of the day.

      Even for us "used to be" girls...

      Delete
  14. I spend my life on the boy bus, as my girl child grew up and moved! I've learned so much from my guys that I now feel like I have to switch modes of thinking when I'm around women and girls.
    College girls...

    It seems very proactive of your school to begin the college tours now. I like that idea and wish I had taken my daughter to different campuses when she was that age. I think it would have planted a seed that would now be a sturdy plant with roots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny: Life on the boy bus is never boring!

      One thing I thought was interesting at each of the colleges is the first main thing they each spotlighted was their food offerings; the styles, types, and varieties of each cafeteria. I guess they know 8th graders are really going to still be all about the food. We didn't start the college tours with my older daugher until late in the game, and she decided quickly what she wanted. It's exciting having a graduating senior! I'm glad we've still got two years to go with the younger one, though.

      Delete
  15. How interesting they have a girl bus and boy bus; the kids trips usually were free for all with girls and boys on the same bus. I think it was great that you got the boys bus! It was an adventure I'm sure you will always remember!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty: They started doing it like that because there were several little couples cropping up and they figured it would be easier to keep everyone on the up and up by segregating like that. And yes, I will always remember getting to ride the boy bus!

      Delete
  16. This is so funny! I burst out laughing when I read #2, "You used to be a girl, right Mrs. M?" hahaha.... Too cute! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn June: I just kind of looked at him when he said that, and then the light bulb turned on, and he said, "Oh, yeah. You know what I mean..."

      Delete
  17. Boys are boys. They're great, and they have their charms. Their charms just don't smell as good as girls though. When our youngest son visits from Utah we set up the blowup bed in my husband's office. He's neat, he's clean, but that room just smells like boy the entire time he's here. I guess its the smell of testosterone. In the case of my husband, I guess the smell of estrogen neutralizes it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Karen: Ha!!! I like what you said about estrogen neutralizing it- so true!

    ReplyDelete
  19. #2 made me laugh out loud, #5 made me cry for you, and #6 sounded like you'd finally turned to "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mode. I hope you threw in some info about flux capacitors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy: Oh, that was an assault on my sinuses! They just knew those college girls would be after them. Ha! And yes, I found out more about the inner workings of diesel engines and tractors than I ever thought I'd know!

      Delete
  20. good for you! you're in with them, that is a good thing!!!! my boys tell me horror stories about the boys in school and the teachers. One of my sons middle school teacher is now on the jury where my husband is the lawyer...how interesting is that?! God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annmarie Pipa: That would be maybe a little awkward, to be on the jury and have a student's parent be one of the attorneys, but sounds like they have it worked out. Thank you!

      Delete
  21. You nailed the ambience of the boy-bus. You deserve a triple decker hot fudge sundae with peppermint ice cream, nuts & whip cream. Funny post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gene Pool Diva: Oh, that sounds so good right now!

      Delete
  22. This was so well-written! I tend to do so much better with boys than girls. I take in foster-children sometimes and I won't take in girls anymore because of their ongoing drama with themselves, boys and everything in general. I can deal with smells so much better. I will borrow little estrogens from other people if I need to balance things out.

    I love how you used to be a girl once! Very funny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crack You Whip: "I will borrow little estrogens from other people if I need to balance things out." This made me laugh out loud!

      Delete
  23. A boy bus??? Shudder. I think it's good to mix 'em up. Keeps boys a little more mature. I enjoy working with girls and boys, but I don't wan to be on a bus filled with them!

    Thanks for the laugh. I enjoyed this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theresa: They don't segregate them on every field trip, but they did on this one. I think mixed groups dull the sharp edges of both sides!

      Delete
  24. I think the boys were so lucky to have you! And I bet you are a wonderful teacher. sandie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandie: How very sweet of you! They all enrich my life in more ways than I can count.

      Delete
  25. Ah...the boy bus. Nope, never happened to me and never will. In my day, we all sat on the same bus. Well, okay, we sat inside the bus, but you get me right? Right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HumorSmith: I miss the old days...

      Delete
  26. I never had a chance to chaperone boys. I grew up with four brothers younger than me ( all pubecent) and a sister. I do understand what you must have felt before venturing this bus. However you made it back safe and sound. Kudos to that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Munir: I was so glad that it did turn out to be an enjoyable time overall. Thank you, my friend~

      Delete
  27. Hi Shelly, this is Eva Ason, and I had to create a new blog due to my ex.
    Have a lovely day!

    Eva

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eva: I'm so sorry you had to do that, but I will look for your new blog so I can follow.

      Delete
  28. Great post. Those boys were lucky they had you.

    ReplyDelete
  29. That's funny. I hope I didn't cause our female teacher too much grief :)
    Rick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rick: I'll bet you didn't. It is just a little overwhleming to have them in such a large, undiluted dose. I did end up enjoying it, though~

      Delete
  30. What a brilliantly funny post - I loved watching this trip through your long suffering, much put upon, yet willing eyes, it was a hoot! Guess I can really empathise, my eldest went to an all boys school, and caught the coach there each morning. Have you ANY IDEA of the amount of drivers they went through? I suspect it was enough to stock their own residential wing down at the local loony farm - ah, happy days.. (nervous smile)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shrinky: Oh, I can just imagine- those poor bus drivers! Ha- hopefully they are recuperating at the loony farm...

      Delete

I love to hear from you! I also love to comment back.