Ode to the Shuttle Driver

In Features, Latest News by Maddy Garrett

7:50 a.m. – Sunlight breaks through the morning cloud cover onto my bedroom floor as the waves break on the shore of the cliffs below.

I go about my usual morning routine – coffee, oatmeal, a brief splash of water to the face, outfit change and an ounce of quiet time.

8:10 a.m. rolls around and I’m doing great on time; the shuttle should be here in about five minutes. I slide on my socks, then slip my feet into my boots. I steal a quick glance out of my Young dorm room window to look at the palm trees dancing in the wind.

But my eye catches something moving in the distance…

“Is that the… no… no!” The shuttle is a whole five minutes early and, before I know it, I’ve missed my only ride up the ungodly steep hill to campus.

“It’s fine,” I say to myself. “It will be back in 10 minutes.”

So, I pace my room for five minutes, bored and anticipatory of the shuttle’s return. I start to panic that I may be late for class, but I calm myself down with another sip of coffee and maybe a Bible verse about patience. “It’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine!” I tell myself, rather unconvincingly.

It’s now 8:20 a.m. and I see no sign of the shuttle from my window, so I walk down early to catch it right when it gets to the gate.

I stroll down the staircase and make my way along the palm tree and hammock-lined pathway to the parking lot. I sit down on the bench and await my knight in shining armor: the shuttle driver.

Five minutes later, I’ve lost my cool and so have the other 10 students sitting next to me. “Okay dude, let’s hurry up now,” I hiss under my breath. “Some of us have classes to catch and we aren’t getting paid for it.” I chomp bitterly on a granola bar as I anticipate the snarky glare of my teacher and peers as I make the walk of shame into class five minutes late. “It’s okay, Maddy, your identity is not found in what others think of you. It’s not your fault anyway!” This self-pep talk somewhat calms my nerves.

8:30 a.m. – I have checked the shuttle tracker eight times now and it hasn’t moved in a decade. Awesome. Any coolness I previously harbored has melted away in a fiery rage. That verse about patience that I read? Yeah, irrelevant. Leg bouncing, I contemplate whether I should just start hiking up the hill at this point. “No, he’ll come, he’ll come.”

“And just where have you been?” I whisper-shout to myself as the shuttle finally pulls into the Young parking lot at 8:38 a.m. Everyone grumbles under their breath as they step into the rickety old bus we call our chariot.

But before we head off, the shuttle driver takes a moment to step outside and smell the roses – how wonderful! “Get the heck back in this vehicle, sir! I’m already 10 minutes late!”

But it’s okay, this is the second time this week the shuttle and I have played this little game. Oh, how I love (and by love I mean loathe) hide and seek. Come out, come out wherever you are Mr. shuttle driver. Please. Seriously. Where are you?

Ah, long live the shuttle. Or, maybe not…