Thursday, May 3, 2012

End of school bus career?? A teaching moment.

Event: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2012

On May 3rd, the best job I've ever had came to an abrupt end. "Resign now or be fired!" said the HR director as softly as she could, in the company of the transportation supervisor.

It felt like an undignified end to a devoted 13-year service and I was left with a strong feeling of disquiet.

I was to learn subsequently (below) that I hadn't been properly advised that I could have had a union representative join me. Nor could the transportation supervisor prove I had damaged a travel bus as he had claimed and reported to the insurance adjuster. When I held firm that I'd noticed this damage during the pre-trip inspection, before taking the travel bus out on an early Saturday morning activity trip and had reported that fact on the trip ticket, he had to back off, acknowledging he had made a mistake. But the HR director drug out a more than ten-year old "reprimand" in my files to back up her decision, were I to challenge it.

To review, on late Monday morning, April 16, I was informed that I had come too close to a young mother and her tram at a corner turn that same morning morning, after driving the travel bus the previous Saturday. This was something I was unaware of having done and now very concerned about if my awareness and memory were failing me. A few days later I was presented with video evidence from the bus surveillance cameras, but did not have a chance to examine the video carefully. Therefore, I am not confident that the conclusion of the supervisor is correct. In any case, I felt I could not risk another such close call as on that Monday morning, if indeed it was as had been alleged.

So, regretfully, I am no longer a school bus driver. At least for the present.

As my disquiet continued to grow in the days following the termination, I wrote to a friend well-acquainted with such issues. He invited me to his home to talk and as we went over the circumstances in painstaking detail, he said I had a strong legal case for being re-instated if the video on closer examination does not show the bus "rocking" while making the reported turn and if the bus was in the street at all times. "If you popped that curb while making that turn as is alleged", he said, "it should be clearly evident in the video. You have to know what you are looking for. And because you did not have a competent representative with you at the viewing who knew exactly what to look for, you may have been wrongly accused. The termination decision rests squarely and only on that single event."

This brought to mind my recent  "anticipatory" dream where rocks like loose cannon balls are rolling towards my empty travel bus from a mountainside to the right. In that dream six weeks earlier than the termination date, I am able to stop the bus before damage was done and back up into a safe parking area off the mountain road. This was a heads-up to me then that "something" was coming from the "right" and that I should not go down that road any further. I did not know then how it would play out in real life, but now it had just manifested.

So, the conversation about the termination--and what precipitated it--is not over.

I now think of my poem Rainmaker, written in response to a dream long ago in a different "LA", but with the same theme at its beginning. For amusement's sake, here it is as a "teaching moment":


Rainmaker

I’m nervous as I sit in front
The third chair from the isle.
The man who sits before me
Now speaks but doesn’t smile.

“What is your journey here, sir,
Before you are retired,
And make no joke about it
The word is more like fired!"

Startled I woke that New Year’s day
As the dream began to fade,
And three days later on the job
My back just up and gave!

Down flat in bed my body lay
Retired by the pain
While outside great clouds gathered
And then began the rain.

As outer ragged darkness
Sent torrents raging down
I dimly came to be aware
The Master was in town.

His inner light began to glow
In a school room way down deep
To show me what I’d failed to learn
Long formal years asleep.

He came now as a rainmaker
From regions far away
Where Nature’s master rhythm
Is balanced night and day.

He took confusion on himself
Influenced from without
And as the inner struggle grew
Began to sort it out.

A rainmaker comes for inner work
Chaotic states to feel
And restoring balance in himself
New harmony forms congeal.

         * * *

"This is now my journey, Sir,”
I say back in the dream,
“To seek that place where rainmakers
Can learn the craft they bring.

“I know it isn’t far beyond
For I can see the way;
The longer are the strides I take
The sooner arrival day.

“Even detours to the right or left
Are harder now to take
As my journey speed increases
It’s less effort moving straight.

“So that is where I’m going now,
I hope you understand.
If not, that’s all right too, Sir,
But I’m moving to new land.

“I’ll return a later time then
When I’ve better learned my craft,
And if you’re here and still in need,
my work will make you laugh.

“If it isn’t fun to work here
Anxiously building your careers,
Why work to frantic sweat and toil
If you’re always in arrears?

“Send for yourselves a rainmaker
I know there’s one around
Who’ll better help than I can give
When invited to your ground.”

A rainmaker comes for inner work
Chaotic states to feel
And restoring balance in himself
New harmony forms congeal.

Los Angeles
Feb 78


To be continued. Click here.

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