Bus Boy Bob
I wasn’t surprised to hear that Laguna Beach will cancel its extended weekend neighborhood trolley service effective Sept. 30. The change affects Top of The World, Blue Bird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights neighborhoods. According to a staff report, over the last two years, the neighborhood trolley service averaged 4.7 riders per hour at a cost of $27.50 per passenger. Again, these findings weren’t surprising to me. I used the neighborhood trolleys with my four grandchildren. “Listen up grandkids. This is the most expensive trolley ride in the world. And it’s all paid for by the city. So, on three, everybody sing the School of Rocks song, ‘When the world has screwed you/And crushed you in its fist/When the way you’re treated/Has got you good and pissed/There’s been one solution/Since the world began/Let’s sit and ride the politicians down/Stick it to the man.’”
Oh, and before I forget—while I now realize the four riders were my grandkids, why does this staff report count me as 0.7? What gives with that? Shouldn’t I count as a full person? Am I picking up some weird Pet Peeves negative vibe here? Well, it doesn’t matter, because I will continue to use my grandkids’ vacation as a civics lesson. “Hey, kids we’ve reached our destination at the top of Laguna. Everybody off.” A grandkid yells, “Wow, what a view.” “The boats looks so small,” adds another.” “Forget all that. I want to show you something even more special,” I tell them. “Walk over here and take a look at that,” I declare with a grand sweep of my arms. The grandkids look and shrug. “It’s just a trail.” I shake my head. “No, it’s the Trail of Liars.” “What’s up with that?” they ask. “It’s really a marvel. Better than the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Those places people go and use. Boring. But the Trail of Liars people say they use, but never do. And the government gets stiffed to fix it. Isn’t life grand?” I ask. The grandkids look confused. “Pop-Pop let’s just go to the beach. Will put the Trail of Liars on our bucket list for another time.” So, down the hill we ride free of charge again, while singing at the top of our lungs, stick it to the man.
“Before we go to the beach, let’s get lunch,” I suggest. I take them to their favorite restaurant. “Pop-Pop. Johnny Rockets isn’t here any more.” “Yes, isn’t it great?” “No, we’re hungry. Why did we come here?” I beam at their innocence. “It’s another life lesson. It’s called the Downtown Specific Plan. So long as you follow all 169 pages of it, good things will happen.” The grandkids look unconvinced. “But we’re hungry.” I say, “Don’t worry. Give it 10 minutes and will be here for the soft opening of another Mexican restaurant.” “Forget that,” they scream. “Let’s just go to the beach.” So, we ride the trolley again, free of charge and sticking it to the man.
A few stops shy of our beach destination, another rider boards. Or more accurately, tries climbing the steps while heavily under the influence of something. His smell arrives before him. The grandkids hold their noses and are wide-eyed, as he offers me a glass skull. I kindly decline his generous offer by saying I already have one at home. Then the unthinkable happens. His backpack disintegrates from age and his earthly treasures of influences fall out. He turns, bends over to collect things and unknowingly shoots the grandkids a moon. The grandkids run to the back of the bus trying to clear their eyes of an image forever burned into them.
Crantz tells the Indy that the last rider was the best civics lesson. When the grandkids act out, I tell them they’re going to end up just like Bus Boy Bob. They’re good as gold now.