I clicked the ‘New Post’ button and promised myself i shall not write another ‘blogsistential crisis’ oriented post. I am anyway sort of bogsistential right now and seem to require and outlet for some verbal outpourings that i will now burden you, my frequent reader, with.
So School vans. Remember school vans? I can safely say that i was never a big fan of them. I lived far away from my school. In the sticks, you could say. Of curse these sticks were beautiful. With lush vegetation growing along golden beaches. Or what would have been golden beaches but for the lines upon lines of shanty dwellings slowly encroaching upon any visually relaxing spot of sand you could set your eyes on. These buildings vanished after the tsunami (the people fled in great waves before the actual waves came, don’t worry), but then the beauty of my dwellings are not the point here. although their description does serve the purpose of romanticizing the area i lived in and making me a little less goday in your eyes.
Anyhoo, since my school was located far away in the big city of Colombo, my parents hired the services of a succession of school vans to take me there. Cramped, noisy things these school vans were. And full of nosy, obnoxious, dirty kids. I remember in one van there was this one small kid who’d always be asleep when i got in, morning or evening. In fact, i really can’t remember him ever having his eyes open.
This kid had another particularly nasty habit. The vans are slap dash affairs you see. They cramp in the cheapest seats they can find in the most closely spaced formation possible; usually giving you just enough legroom to avoid crushing your knees. You are consequently packed in 5 kids on seat. And when this kid fell asleep his head would wave left and right, and eventually find itself comfortably placed upon the shoulder of the boy unfortunate enough to be sitting next to him.
If that weren’t enough, he would then begin to excrete thick drool which would slowly seep through his teeth and out of his open lips. It would then dribble down his chin and then slowly congeal on your shoulder as you look on, horrified. Of course, i didn’t stand for it. And eventually developed a well timed shoulder shrug that would send any heads foolish enough to alight upon me flying in the opposite direction. This went well enough until the guy on the other side caught on to what i was doing. And soon the said head started flying back to my side no sooner i shrugged it off. And so back and forth it would go.
Another obnoxious little terror i remember was the son of the van owner. He was under the impression that he could boss everyone about just because his father owned the van. No one else knew any better so they simply let him do just that. But this obnoxious little terror i somehow befriended and then we proceed to dole out our collective obnoxion to others, so they were marginaly happy times. There were fights galore. Some even came to blows, but most were verbal battles that were primarily decided on who could make the biggest threat.
But verbal threats can balloon to almost infinite proportions. And the fight would only end when it came time for one of the participants to get off. Usually this was me since i lived closest to the city. I would try and aim for a well timed parting shot. The affect of which was sometimes spoiled by someone pulling the back of my schoolbag and sending me sprawling out with a distinct lack of grace.
But by far the worst memories of my school van years came from sweat. Slick, smelly, unabashed sweat. They would clamber in, gorillas in kids clothing. Unable to wait peacefully until the van picked them up after school, these morons thought it appropriate to run what must have been multiple marathons judging by the bodily waste they were bathed in when they squeezed in next to you. When you’re young you wear shorts to school, and your bare legs would constantly rub against the gorillas’, resulting in a most unpleasant sensation.
To solve this, i went and sat with the girls. Who were considerably cleaner. I’d sometimes bury my face in a book to avoid the catcalls and jeers the boys would throw at me as a result. They obviously thought i was some shameless, pre-sexual pervert. But i knew better. And silence stills the storm.