Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2075328-Bus-Driver-Maths
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Biographical · #2075328
Comedy Contest Entry about a mathematical misunderstanding.
500 Words

*Confused* *Think* *Angry* *Sob*

The following story involves an incident that happened to me when I was about eight or nine years old. Back then bus routes were divided into various segments of the journey called “Sections” and the fare worked out in accordance to the distance you travelled.

Our school was around the middle of the suburb, so we were charged the “One Section” fee to get there but if we needed to travel further after school we would have to pay for “Two Sections.” Children were charged a much cheaper fare and referred to as “Halves”

Around that I was trying to get my head around fractions. I understood the basics such as two quarters made a half and two halves made one, but struggled to comprehend how to add varying fractions (eg. ¾ + ⅔).

One afternoon after school my mother wanted to take us into town for some reason. I stood behind her and was perplexed when she told the driver:
“One and two halves, three sections please.”

I tried to argue with her that two halves make one and one plus one equaled two so she should have said “One and two halves; two sections.” She simply smiled, shushed me and I was then ushered down the aisle without further discussion.

After much thought I concluded that “Sections” must be some sort of mathematical term for something I did not understand and assumed it was perhaps part of some advanced calculus that only senior students, adults and bus drivers in particular knew about.

I felt confident that demonstrating such knowledge would impress both my teacher and classmates.

“Right class, could anyone tell me the answer to the following question?” our teacher asked us a couple of days later, whilst revising the week’s lessons. “How much is one plus two halves?”

I shot up my hand which also took her by surprise as I had seldom exhibited much enthusiasm for maths. She chose me and I answered in a clear voice for all to hear.

“Three sections Miss!”

The other kids erupted with fits of laughter, but the teacher mistook my ignorance for cheek and ordered me to the front of the class. Luckily my tearful reasoning behind the response eased her wrath and I was spared any punishment but decided it probably best to leave the complexities of such calculations to senior students, adults and drivers with a flair for bus-driver maths.


(Selected as an Editor's Pick in the "Comedy Newsletter (March 16, 2016)")
© Copyright 2016 lezismore-moreislez (peterelbee at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2075328-Bus-Driver-Maths