PREFERRED MEMBERS? ARE THERE ANY PREFERRED MEMBERS ON THIS BUS? IF YOU ARE A PREFERRED MEMBER YOU MUST GET OFF AT THE NEXT STOP. AT THE NEXT STOP-IF YOU ARE A PREFERRED MEMBER-YOU WILL GET OFF THE BUS AND YOUR CAR WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE YOUR CAR, BECAUSE YOU ARE A PREFERRED MEMBER-YOU CAN GET A FREE UPGRADE. I REPEAT, AS A PREFERRED MEMBER YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A FREE UPGRADE. DO NOT SETTLE FOR JUST ANY CAR. AGAIN PREFERRED MEMBERS WILL GET OFF THE BUS AT THE NEXT STOP AND PREFERRED MEMBERS ONLY.
“Can you see the driver?” I loud whisper to my husband, “Does he have a bullhorn?”
My son and I are seated in the front right corner of the bus-not an iota of our driver is visible. For all I know, he is the disembodied voice of God. My husband stands over us. He holds onto the luggage rack above our heads with both hands. He lets one hand go to arch his spine back in order to catch a glimpse of the driver and whatever instrument he’s using to amplify his voice beyond what a human ear can bear. Just as his back bend is about to offer a clear view, the voice booms out again.
ANY CHAIRMEN? ARE THERE ANY CHAIRMEN ON THIS BUS? IF YOU ARE A CHAIRMAN PLEASE IDENTIFY YOURSELF.
The intensity of the blast almost knocks my husband to the ground. He stumbles to grab the luggage rack opposite us for support; had he missed it, he would have toppled onto a set of very important golf clubs. Their significance was recently verified by their owner who had an altercation with a woman who dared to board the bus before they did. My husband steadies himself.
CHAIRMEN? ARE THERE ANY CHAIRMEN ON THIS BUS? I NEED TO CALL YOU IN BEFORE WE ARRIVE IF YOU ARE A CHAIRMAN.
“Chairman?” I mouth to my perplexed husband across the aisle. Chairman of ABC Rental Car?
NO CHAIRMEN? NO CHAIRMEN ON THE BUS? I REPEAT, PLEASE ALERT ME IF YOU ARE A CHAIRMAN BEFORE WE REACH THE RENTAL AREA.
As I almost count a third second of blissful silence-a milquetoast, middle-aged man shoots up as if a cattle prod has jolted him from a deep sleep.
“I’m a Chairman,” he says with a breathless stoicism generally reserved for the likes of Indiana Jones.
WHAT? HOLY SH*#! LET ME STOP THE BUS!
The driver stops the bus short in the actual middle of the road. In the sea of honking horns and whiplash victims, my husband is jostled back to our side of the aisle.
Then there is silence-perhaps only because we are in the midst of a Chairman, but it’s silence just the same. Then some hushed tones and what we think is the breaking open of a previously untouched, What To Do When You Have a Chairman on Your Bus manual. A series of numbers are dialled. Our Chairman returns to his seat. Just when the driver has us back en route to the preferred member’s area-the bullhorn cracks again.
SIR. I NEED TO INFORM YOU, YOU ARE NOT A CHAIRMAN. I REPEAT YOU ARE NOT A CHAIRMAN. YOU HAVE MADE A MISTAKE ON YOUR RESERVATION AND YOU ARE NOT A CHAIRMAN. YOU CAN GET OFF AT THE NEXT STOP WITH THE PREFERRED MEMBERS BUT NO ONE WILL BE THERE TO GREET YOU PERSONALLY AS YOU ARE NOT A CHAIRMAN.
Oh my God oh my God oh my God. I look down at the floor and hold my breath. My husband puts a hand over his mouth and looks into the corner to conceal his laughter.
After all the preferred members disembark, we are the only people left on the bus. It drives us an additional twelve feet to our non-preferred stop. There is no one in line in front of us. We immediately receive a perfectly lovely four-wheel drive SUV and drive off.
“Here, I grabbed this for you at the checkout desk,” my husband smiles.
He hands me a Chairman application form.
published on Maison Loup
image: Indiana Jones-wikipedia.org
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