Who knew the world was so large?
I sure didn’t. Up until a few months ago, all I knew was a placed called Phoenix. Since my birth, fifteen years ago, I had lived there, shuttling retirees around the wide, straight city streets and trying to stay cool in the sweltering desert sun.
When I was auctioned off to a truck salvage, I made my peace. I’d lived a good life, been well-maintained, rarely driven, kept spotless. Fifteen years was a good run for a shuttle bus, I’d heard, and I was ready for my parts to go to greater, younger things.
Then Bruno and Brittany came along. This strange, young couple visited me a few times, measuring my interior and testing out my mechanics. When they bought me, I assumed it was for parts, as they immediately began disassembling my seats and air conditioning unit. I said my final prayers.
And then, all of a sudden, I was being cleaned from top to bottom. My oils were being changed, my transmission replaced, my interior filled with beautiful, new furniture. Over the course of a few months, I watched as my interior slowly transformed into a house-on-wheels – a house, I could only imagine, for Brittany and Bruno.
I still had no clue what would soon be in store. I had no clue that I would leave Arizona, let alone the United States of America.
And suddenly, I was in a whole new country where people spoke a fast-paced staccato language I couldn’t understand, and where the air was cool and humid and salty.
I thought this was my new home. I thought my new job was to bring Bruno along the mercilessly bumpy roads into town each day, avoiding vehicles that whizzed through stop signs and into intersections. Despite the roads and the strange language, I liked that Bruno and Brittany slept inside me. It made me feel less alone.
Just as I was becoming used to living by this salty thing called an ocean, Bruno drove me away, with Brittany beside him. We were back home, in Phoenix. Back to American Truck Salvage. I guessed I’d just been on what humans sometimes call a holiday, and that now I was returning to my true home and sad fate.
Then something even stranger happened. We passed through Phoenix and kept driving north. I wasn’t sure why we were doing this – and I admit, I may have shut off my engine a few times on the highway north of Phoenix in confusion and protest – but Bruno urged me slowly onwards.
Boy oh boy, have I seen things since then! I experienced my first forest, and my first morning of frost. It was cold yet strangely beautiful, and for the first time, the warm rays of the sun were a welcome relief.
I experienced my first canyon – and apparently it’s the grandest one of all. I thought I was big, but that canyon made me feel tiny!
I experienced my first mountains, those monstrous snowy peaks that made me feel as small as the canyon did. I worked hard to climb them as best I could, and I think I did a pretty good job!
I experienced my first snow. And was there ever a lot of it. Sometimes it was piled higher than me on the side of a road, and one night I slept surrounded by it. Another day it snowed right on top of me, and tickled my skin as it floated down from the sky. I was shocked to experience my first sub-zero temperatures, but at least Bruno and Brittany had a heater to warm me from the inside.
I experienced so many new animals I had never even heard of. I’m still learning all their names, but I know I’ve seen three moose, a mountain goat, lots of bison, elk, and pronghorns, two coyote, a wolf, a grizzly bear, and a black bear with two cute little cubs. I thought the only creatures that existed besides humans and cars were snakes and lizards!
Further and further north Bruno kept driving me. We even entered another new country – called Canada. Here, I’ve experienced my first prairies, flat as can be, yet filled to the brim with funny little creatures called prairie dogs. I’ve experienced forests and lakes so plentiful I’m almost embarrassed that I thought the whole world was dry, dusty, and dull-coloured. There have been nights where my entire body is covered in mosquitos, and a whole week where we saw nothing but clouds, rain, and fog, yet we keep driving on, eastward now.
I don’t know when Bruno plans to turn me around and head back south – this seems like a pretty long holiday, from what I know of them. I’m starting to wonder if, maybe, this isn’t a holiday at all. Maybe this is my new job. To drive Bruno and Brittany all around, from place to place, forest to mountain to beach to plain…
Well, I gotta say, if this is my new job, I love it. I love that I have a name – Big Blue. I love that Bruno treats me gently, that Brittany keeps me clean, that the two of them nestle inside me when it’s cold. I love that Brittany cooks so much tasty-smelling food, and that Bruno relaxes in my front cabin with a beer and a book.
I love that I’ve been visited, noticed, and admired by so many – I never got this kind of attention in Phoenix. I love that sometimes, the three of us all fall asleep together in the middle of nowhere, where no sounds of traffic disrupt my rest, and I’m awoken peacefully by the birds and the gently rising sun.
I love that Bruno, Brittany and I are spending so much time together, really getting to know each other, learning to care for one another. It sort of feels like we’re becoming what humans call a family.
Best of all, I love what Bruno and Brittany are showing me. How big the world actually is, and how even an old bus like me can have a second chance at life.