If you live in Toronto and have ever been on the Don Mills bus while this lady is working, you'll know who she is. I wrote the following as a rant for eye weekly's now defunct Transit Tales column a while ago and I learned afterward that my article was posted on the walls in the Singing Bus Driver's division at the TTC.

At 7 a.m. the sun is beginning to bloom for the day. The air is crisp outside, but stale inside the bus. Crowded with tired blue- and white collar workers who are smarter than to battle the DVP in rush hour , happily sipping coffee, tea, hot chocolate, methadone or whatever, as we bustle north into the void. There are no children to disturb us, no rowdy high school students, just the drone of diesel engines and the hiss or air brakes.

I am in the corner. My feet up on the little edge of metal on the side and my head resting against the glass staring at the lines on the road going by. The diesel din lulls me to sleep and I raise my heavy eyelids occasionally when we turn or stop sharply for passengers or morons who think its a good idea to cut buses off. I still hear nothing but the newspapers shuffling through fingers, slurping lips on Tim Hortons cups and the guy next to me snoring. I drift back into slumber.

"The Bus Driver Sings, Have A Nice Day...," I hear her voice over the intercom. I wake up grumpier than before at York Mills Road. What the fuck is going on and why is this broad singing to us at this hour? People chuckle and smile. They get off. Again, the drone lulls me back to a light slumber. I wake up again at Sheppard. "The Bus Driver Sings..." My eyes flash open and I glare at everyone around me. Those who see me give me a weird look and then stare at the floor. Am I the only morning grouch on this bus or am I the only one going all the way north to Steeles?

This continues all the way to the end of the line and I get off. I'm slapped in the face by the cold winds of wasteland Markham, but I'm glad I'm off that broad's bus. I seem to be more awake. Maybe I've been brainwashed somehow. Maybe I'll have a nice day.

I once had a real bus driver before they placed me on the depriving small bus. We called him "Donny" (I think his last name was "Grant"). He use to be in a choir and he also sang wonderful songs in a seperate trio composed of him and his brothers. Not many people on the bus liked it, but I really didn't mind. He give us candy on various holidays. He was poor as the day is old from what I heard, but he still cared for us more then anything else in the world. His music would normally be garble such as "This is the song that never ends" (...It goes on and on my friend, some person started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll keep on singing it for ever just beacuse....), but you could at any random point in the day hear his true music, hummed under his breath in ways only the gods could describe.

It was early September, 2001. Maybe 1:00 AM. I had been downtown with some friends, and they were going off somewhere else. I was out of money, and had to be up early the next morning, so I headed home. I made my way to Bathurst station, and took the 7, which takes me within two blocks of my house.

I chose my preferred seat on a bus, the seat farthest back on the row of seats lining the right side of the bus. On the back row, in the middle, was another fellow. He was older than me, maybe 21 or 22. Other than us, the bus was empty.

The bus left the station shortly after I got on, and began the journey north along Bathurst St. I noticed the driver looked cheerful when I got on the bus, but didn't think twice about it. However, the names over the streets we passed, recited over the intercom, weren't the same dull, well-rehearsed incantations I was used to. Every stop was cheerfuly named. Every name was cheerfully sung.

I wondered aloud, "Did he just sing the name of that stop?"

My fellow traveller replied, "Yeah."

"I've never heard that before."

"Oh, it happens all the time. Not just this driver, all of them. The school year hasn't started yet, so the busses are free of rowdy high school students. The weather is warm and all the windows are open, so the drivers get all the fresh air they could want. It'd be odd for a bus driver not to sing the name of the stops."

With that, the bus stopped, and the nameless traveller stepped off into the night. I was left alone on the bus, to ponder his profound words.

The bus driver kept up his performance for the half-asleep audience of one. Each stop had its own melody, and it was a delight to hear the variety. I never got to hear the conclusion of the riveting opera that the bus driver had created. "Briar Hill", he sang, and I stepped off the bus, leaving the driver alone.

He probably continued his performance, to himself. It was his job, and he was enjoying it.

On my walk home, I realized the traveller I had met was right. The bus driver didn't need a reason to sing, and he didn't have a reason not to sing. "Neither do I," I thought to myself, as I walked the few blocks to my door.

I began to hum in the night, occasionally breaking out into song.

"Chaplin Crescent", the song began.

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