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I'm On A Bus

March 22, 2009 - Wes Burns
I've got this friend Jared.

Ever have a friend that seems less like a regular Iowan and more like a mad scientist? Somebody that, when everybody else was figuring out where to throw their graduation part, was too busy collecting scrap metal to be concerned with how many tiny turkey sandwiches would be enough? The kind of person that would wonder why everyone is surprised to see him moving a canoe at 3am?

This is Jared.

Here's the scenario: I'm finishing up work here at the illustrious TR offices. In between Tom and I discussing his vacation and Mark and Ross begging for Duke to loss to Texas (didn't happen) I got a call from my friend Matt. He told me "the bus" was coming to pick me up.

It took a minute to jog my often failing memory. I had heard Jared talk about buying a bus and converting it into a mobile electronics studio; like a plussed-up version of a news van. It seemed interesting but...who buys a bus?

I walked outside and got my answer. There it stood, resplendent in its glory. A school bus. I'm talking big, yellow, emergency back door and swinging stop sign school bus. It still says "school bus" on the front. School bus. Needless to say I was ready to take a ride.

The first order of business was to do everything on a school bus I always wanted to do as a child. Pull the door-open lever? Check. Pop open the roof emergency exit? Check. Switch on the stop sign? Check, although Jared explained that you shouldn't really do that as using the stop sign is frowned upon by law enforcement.

Once my friend Joe arrived, laughing at the mere sight of all of us standing around a school bus, we got underway. After Jared negotiated the intricacies of the parking lot we were on our way. We decided to show the bus to our friend Jeff who, despite Marshalltown's multiple viaducts and burgeoning graffiti scene, has chosen to live in the country.

This means highways. This means gravel roads. I was nervous. Not so much about Jared's driving ability (he used to drive a ladder truck for the city of similar carriage) but more so that the situation was entirely too strange not to fall apart at the seams.

It was an alarmingly uneventful trip into the country. We arrived at Jeff's house who, due to his two small children, felt it was best if we called him before we showed up. There was no phone call to prepare for the arrival of the bus. Jeff's succicent and stunned response summed up the experience nicely.

"That's a bus!"

Indeed Jeff, indeed. We figuratively and literally kicked the tires for a while then began our trek home. And by home I mean we decided to go out for a drink. What better way to arrive at a drinking establishment than in a full sized school bus?

We pulled around the corner off State St and were greeted by a scene filled with multiple police cars, unruly smokers and the apparent aftermath of some kind of scuffle. Without hesitation Jared deftly swung around the parked police cars, stopped on a dime, and we disembarked while Jared drove off down the street.

The lesson? If someone tells you they're going to buy a bus don't doubt them, they just might do it. Also-if you have a mad scientist friend and you find yourself wondering if their schemes are ever going to work, give them the benefit of the doubt. Someday they just might show up at your office with a giant yellow bus.


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