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307 West 5th Street Austin, Texas that the driver didn’t oversleep, or that the bus hasn’t broken down. The adventurer pulls up with his lights flashing red and yellow, and as he opens the door, they hurry in to escape the cold. One by one they file in, waving their bus cards, finding their seats. There are studious riders, quiet and purposeful; but others seem to attend school only to escape what’s at home, or to eat their only good meals of the day. The adventurer tries not to judge any of them. He remembers his own days as a “‘tweener,” and he was no angel. He caused his share of frustration and annoyance for teachers, and for bus drivers also. He takes them to school: through school zones, over bridges, around stalled cars, past fifty-year-old churches and sweet smelling bakeries. The sun peeks over the horizon, and the inside of the bus is filled with the sounds of sniffles, coughs, sneezes, and tired murmuring. A block from school, the kids begin to come alive, as they prepare themselves mentally for the insecure, anxiety-filled atmosphere of a junior high. The cafeteria will serve them either formula eggs, french toast, a variety of tasteless burritos, or McDonald’s-style pancakes. They will eat without complaint; as poor as it is, it’s better than anything they have at home, and it’s free. One by one, they pile off the bus, and the yellow banana adventurer wishes them a good day. “Be careful,” he adds, and a few answer, “Bye, mister,” in return. The adventurer likes to think to himself that he might be a positive influence, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes in the morning and afternoon. Over his many years on the job, he has discovered he needs to be a positive and encouraging first contact for these students, each and every day of a long school year. If he did it for money alone, there’d be no point. He’s getting older, and there will be no comfortable retirement waiting when his eyes no longer see as they once did, his hearing begins to decline, or his blood pressure is no longer at an acceptable level. The day will come when they will tell him that he has become a safety risk and can no longer react as quickly in traffic. He knows it will come eventually. When it begins to get to him, he remembers the kid who never spoke to him for an entire year, until a new driver was put on the bus, and suddenly the boy asked the adventurer, “Why are you leaving?” The adventurer knows that there are others more responsible for the childrens’ success: teachers, counselors, “at-risk” coordinators. But he will always feel that he has a small part in their lives. For that, he continues to chase his adventures: bad drivers, mountains of rolling cardboard, red-eyed semi-tractor bullies, token wages, belittling administrators. He remains a yellow banana adventurer. TAI. Labor Intensive Radio Radio of the union, by the union and for the union. Hosted and produced by union members dedicated to bringing the voice of labor to the Austin airwaves. Tuesdays 6:30-7:00 p.m. KO.OP 91.7 FM P.O. Box 49340 Austin, TX 78765 A Don Quixote, behind the wheel of an uncertain future, riding his yellow Rocinante over the hill, into the sunset. Jose Clovis Garcia drives a bus and records his adventures in El Paso. Public Conference: WATER CRISES IN TEXAS AND THE SOUTHWEST May 21-25, 1998 Trinity University San Antonio, Texas An interdisciplinary scholarly and grassroots political conference on water rights, water supply, and water quality, including the future of the Edwards Aquifer, and the historical context of contemporary water conflicts. Geographers, historians, legal scholars, political scientists to address, water and tourism, water law, Native American water rights, dams and urban water supplies, irrigation and agriculture, water quality and aquifers in Texas. Friday, May 22: Public Forum on Edwards Aquifer Saturday, May 23: Guided tours of water sites in Central Texas University housing available: 4 nights + meals, $175 For more information: Hugo Daschbach, Conference Char Miller, Conference Organizer \([email protected] Major sponsors: The Texas Council for the Humanities and Trinity University APRIL 10, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31