These buses were built in 1999 and have outlived their federally mandated 12-year life spans. When I first started working here in early 2001, these were the nice, new buses. Now they are the aged, despised, older ones. I still have a soft spot for them. I learned to drive on the 99's.
So, even though I haven't driven a bus on the road for over a year, I took one of these babies out for a spin for nostalgia's sake. It felt like old times. My muscle memory had everything down in just a few seconds - I knew instinctively where to find the four-way switch when I crossed the railroad tracks. There was a time when I spent six to eight hours a day sitting in these seats, after all. The familiar bounce as I drove over bumps; the slight jolt when the gears shifted; it felt like home, really.
I'm reminded of the words of that great philosopher, Dignan from Bottle Rocket:
"Best job I ever had...
working my way up, meeting people...
listening to stories."
Fare thee well, mighty warrior.