Whenever I see one I think of an unfortunate grade five field trip to Martyr’s Shrine in Midland, which involved lunch en route. The details are unimportant—let’s just say it was a long time before I wanted another egg salad sandwich.
I blame it entirely on the bus.
I remember heat and diesel fumes and kids screeching and shouting and black leather seats stuffed with something like concrete and how you could feel every pebble and bump on the three hour road trip.
All of which made it difficult to read.
I hadn’t yet learned that reading in a moving vehicle makes me woozy. Or that the whole point of everyone singing was to ward off the woozy in the first place…
There was much ewwwing in my direction after the egg salad. Mortifying of course, but there was also less general shouting and screeching, which at least improved the ambience a titch.
I remember almost nothing of Martyr’s Shrine. It may be a big white building, it may be orange stripes. I think there are stairs and flower beds and I do recall a pile of canes somewhere and being told they belonged to people who’d come and been ‘cured’ by saying a prayer. I don’t remember doing so but if I’d been smart I would have taken the opportunity to say a little something for the trip back.
It seemed eons before I saw another school bus—or maybe I was just blocking them out. Then a few months ago, I notice I’m on some kind of Laidlaw route—following, passing, waiting behind, at least a dozen school buses each morning—each one a reminder of egg salad gone bad. I braced myself for life in a very uncomfortable world.
Oddly though, as time goes by and, annoying as the bloody things are with their little stop-sign power trips, habit of driving the speed limit, and the way they linger at railway crossings—which is so creepy and only makes everyone else wonder if they know something we don’t—it’s actually turning out to be a good thing, a kind of exposure therapy. The more I see them from the outside the less I think about their butt-numbing acoustically horrible bump bump bumping endlessly stopping and starting and stopping and starting and stopping and starting diesel spewing nausea tub insides.
In fact, I can hardly remember the whole Martyr’s Shrine fiasco. Martyr’s Who? What egg salad?
So nice to be moving on.