Author: Brad  |  Category: General, Humor, Jobs Careers

Just sit there for a minute and recall your most embarrassing moment. You know, that one that may well have happened years ago but still makes your face burn like a good bite of horse radish whenever you happen to stumble across it in a daydream.

You may remember that I drove transit buses for twelve years – one of my many long lost careers.

Buses are mostly big.  When you do embarrassing things in a bus, it’s often hard to be inconspicuous about it.  Believe me, over the course of a dozen years in the driver’s seat many memorable things happened, but most weren’t quite as blush-inducing as this one.

This particular morning I pulled out of the Madrona terminal next to Lake Washington headed down the 2-line for downtown Seattle in my 40′ electric trolley bus.  You may have seen them.  The kind with the poles on top that run up to catch high voltage from two parallel wires suspended above the roadway.

I’ll always remember it was 4:47 a.m.  The first bus leaving there in the morning, it was a commuter run.

Within about three miles I was next to being loaded with sleepy-eyed folks on their way to work.  Indeed, lots of them were sleepING and the bus was totally quiet as I wended my way through the dark, not-yet-awake residential neighborhood.

Having spotted several people at the upcoming stop, I gently slowed and eased the trolley to the curb, lining the front door up to receive the middle-aged lady first in line holding her travel mug full of hot coffee.

Flipping the handle forward, the air-operated door slapped open at precisely the same moment that three very strange and disconcerting things happened:  1) Inexplicably, the (did I mention old)  bus’s loud horn went off all by itself; 2) every hair on the back of every person’s neck within a two-block radius stood at attention; and 3) the middle-aged lady first in line holding her travel mug full of hot coffee, now looking as though her heart had stopped, launched her travel mug full of hot coffee into the air.

Mind you, this was no set-your-car-alarm-with-your-remote sort of beep-beep and it’s over.  No, this was a fully-mature, out-of-control bus horn that was now venting an obnoxious blaaaaaaaaaaast into the now fully conscious neighborhood…and…it would not stop!

Of course, all instantly wide-awake eyes were now on me.  What the he!! was that driver doing!?!

Well, what’s it look like he’s doing?  He’s slapping and clawing at the big horn button in the middle of the steering wheel.  No good.

He’s up out of his seat racing out the front door past the middle-aged lady first in line – who’s now chasing her travel mug full of hot coffee – to the rear of the bus where he’s yanking the power poles off the overhead wire.  No good.  Darn battery!

Oh look, now he’s back in the driver’s compartment crawling around under the dash looking for any wire he can get hold of to tear it loose!  Found one!  Now, rip that sucker outa there!

Ahhhhhhhhh. A corporate laying back down of hair on the back of our necks was experienced as the silence resumed.

As my late mother-in-law said under her breath one morning after I shut off the Vita-Mix blender, “That’s a blessing.”

Thankfully, once my forty or so passengers realized they had just endured a clear case of equipment malfunction as opposed to operator error, a forgiving wave of laughter swept through the bus and the middle-aged lady still first in line once again holding her travel mug full of hot coffee led the boarding parade up the steps, down the aisle to the rear seat – as far away from that horn as she could get.

A good twenty years now separates me from that incident, but as I sit here at my keyboard, my ears still ring with the memory of that ding dang bus horn and the deafening silence that “blessed” us all once I had murdered it!  🙂

What was your most red-faced moment?

You’re in Boardman Country!

Make yourself at home, but bring your own earplugs.


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9 Responses to “Red-Faced”

  1. Theresa Cahill Says:

    Crack me up Brad! It’s getting late, but I just had to stop by and see what you’ve been up to recently. Sat laughing my little buns off… however, I’m not that tired to wise up and not share any of my particularly embarassing stories… at least not at the moment LOL!
    .-= Theresa Cahill´s last blog ..Cats and Cat Lovers =-.

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Theresa!

    Glad you laughed. I do now, of course, but that five minutes of nastiness was not funny at the time! 🙂

  3. Karen Says:

    Oh my gosh! That is hilarious! Our car did that once. Mom was teaching me how to drive and I pulled up too close to a cement barrier. I must have hit it hard and with a punch because the horn started blaring. We didn’t know how to make it stop and had to drive home with it blaring. A neighbor ran out and pulled some wires to make it stop. Yikes!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Halloween Handbag =-.

  4. admin Says:

    @ Karen – LOL! That must have been incredibly embarrassing. At least everyone knew you were coming!

    @ Barbara – Wow, Barbara, so glad you were able to maintain control. Indeed, once in a lifetime would be one too many of that occurrence.

    @ V – Ah, yes, Emily, the learning curve we all endure to enjoy our modern technologies!

  5. Barbara Says:

    It was the 70’s, and I was driving over to my boyfriend’s house,(now husband) in Seattle, when my hood on the car flew-up. Never to this day, have I ever had another car do that. Scared the you know what out of me. Got out, slammed it down, and carried on!

  6. [v] Says:

    My car once started blasting its horn loudly. It was a new-to-me car and it took ages for me to realised that I had accidentally set off the alarm via a button on the key fob…

  7. Maureen Says:

    Ha! that is pretty funny. I can imagine the panic especially since it was so early in the am-
    I have many embarrassing moments; too many to name!
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..Generic Marketing System Confusion =-.

  8. ConnieFoggles Says:

    I’ve had so many moments where I wanted to dig a hole in the ground and not get out, but of course not one of them comes to mind right now. Suffice it to say, they linger with you for a long time.
    .-= ConnieFoggles´s last blog ..Mom Surgery Tomorrow =-.

  9. admin Says:

    Hey Connie!

    Ah, yes. The joys of embarrassment.