Chaperoning a field trip and going without air conditioning

In June of last year, my daughter’s third grade class took a field trip to a historical fort and battleground.

She asked me to chaperone the trip.

I thought this would be a great way to spend some extra time with my daughter and get to know her friends a little better. I will never make that mistake again. I expected the school to charter a bus for transportation. I envisioned one of those comfortable buses that includes television screens, bathrooms and air conditioning. Instead, we rode on a school bus for nearly four hours. That bus had to be at least fifty years old, and the shocks were definitely worn out. For safety reasons, the windows only opened a tiny crack and yet there were no seatbelts. There was also no air conditioning and the inside of that bus felt like an oven. The outside temperature was up to 85 degrees by seven in the morning with high humidity. By the time we arrived at the historical fort, I had a severe headache and was drenched in sweat. I quickly realized that very few areas of the fort offer air conditioning or even shade. I encouraged my group to spend a great deal of time in the air conditioned gift shop. We then moved onto the air conditioned cafeteria. We hurried through the tour of the battleground and since the girls were drinking so much water, we made countless trips to the bathrooms. After a very long day in the heat, we then needed to get back on the bus for four more hours without air conditioning or even a decent breeze. I couldn’t wait to get home, turn down the thermostat and pour myself a chilled glass of wine.


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