Little A, transit technician

On the way up to my place tonight, the bus we were on started experiencing some power problems, with the lights going off and on. Little A asked what was happening, and I said I didn’t know, but maybe a problem with the engine or the battery. The driver pulled over to try and deal with it, but it soon became clear the bus was not going to restart and eventually the engine died, at which point, after a few unsuccessful attempts to restart it, the driver apologetically declared the bus out of service, gave us all transfers, and herded us off the bus.

As people stood up to get off, Little A called out, in a voice that could be heard from one end of the bus to the other, “And THIS is why you should always charge your batteries EVERY DAY!” – much to my embarrassment, but to the amusement of the other passengers.

Once we were off the bus, I said to her “Sweetie, buses aren’t like cell phones. I’m pretty sure you can’t just charge the batteries every day.”

“Oh.” She thought for a moment. “Well then, maybe I should just carry around some of every kind of battery in my backpack, so that if a bus runs out of power again when I’m on it, I can just give them a new battery!”

“That’s a very sweet thought, and I’m glad you want to help. But I think bus batteries are a special kind, and really big and heavy. At least if they’re anything like car batteries…”

“Oh.” She seemed disgruntled, but then her attention was caught by the bus driver, who was now peering into the engine through a small panel he’d removed toward the back of the bus. “He should just kick the engine! That’d probably do it!” She started over as if she might be intending to go kick it herself.

“No, sweetie, I really don’t think you should interfere. The driver probably knows what he’s doing, and I’m pretty sure kicking the engine wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“You’re right,” she said solemnly. “The molecular bonding between gasoline and the bus’s engine is very unstable, and jostling it in the wrong way could cause a nuclear explosion.”

“Er – WHAT?” Every time I think I’ve heard it all and this kid could not possibly surprise me, she does anyway. “Sweetie, I don’t think –” Then I noticed that her serious expression was slowly giving way to a mischievous smirk. “You just totally made that up on the spot, didn’t you?”

“Yep!” she sang out cheerfully, and then started dancing all around the sidewalk with her best I-trolled-the-grownups grin. The two passengers standing nearest us, who had heard the whole exchange, cracked up laughing – no one wants to be dumped off the bus on a cold January night with the next bus still 10 minutes away, but at least Little A was keeping them entertained.

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