From the archives. August 2014. Who wants to illustrate this?
I missed the express bus to Philadelphia last week and was rescheduled on a later, longer bus. Under normal conditions (ie. no sinus pressure and plenty of snacks), a Greyhound bus ride is one of my favorite pastimes. How often do you find yourself locked inside a mobile freezer with an incredible array of strangers for 5+ hours? Not very, unless you’re traveling cross-country, or a masochist. It’s a great opportunity for people-watching and, as misery loves company, there is often a sense of community aboard.
The other night was hell, however, and I leave here a log of my SMS’ as proof (edited for context).
At 5pm, I am abusing my sudafed and thinking about Walter White.
We make a pit stop in Shady Rock, Nowhere. I pay four dollars for a slice of “New York Style” Sbarro pizza. The bus smells like cheeseburgers and cigarettes.
Someone help me.
There is a 4-month old child at the back of the bus. I know that he was born two months early because I am a professional eavesdropper. Earlier, a woman in a pink wife-beater, carrying a Wendy’s XL Frostie, commented on his “biiiiiiig eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyes!!!” for 10+ minutes.
At 9:30, we are just entering Harrisburg and I beg the lord to have mercy upon my soul.
I have to pee but I’m afraid of being left here. Our driver has used the loudspeaker to deliver the same speech at each stop. He informs us that he is not our “nice uncle,” and that he has nine nieces and nephews and a third grand-baby on the way. I will spend the rest of this ride trying to figure out how this information is relevant to his leaving us at rest-stops.
Someone has stolen the empty seat I was about to take. Life is pain and all hope has left my bones.
I’ve decided to deal with it. I am practicing zen.
My sudafed has finally kicked in, so I am awake. I learn that my seatmate is afraid of tunnels. She drinks water or whiskey to get through them. I try to distract her with questions. Our last tunnel, in her words, is a “double whammy.”
She gets off in Norristown. She is the only passenger to deboard. I like her and I know all of her daughters’ college majors, but I can’t help being angry.
It is midnight. Most people have fallen asleep. It now smells like breath and the driver keeps turning the headlights off as we pass Boathouse Row.
But the worst is over because I SEE MY CITAY. I’M IN MY CITAY.
I wait through nine taxis and one crackhead for my ride to arrive. Shwizz, Bliv and I drive to Lorenzo’s for a slice of pizza. They are bigger than I remember. A man approaches Shwizz’s window, asks for her number, and tells her that he has two pet fish and an anaconda he’d like to show her. I think this is a very poor pick-up line. We, as always, take Lincoln Drive home and Bliv acts like she’s in NASCAR, so I grip the door handle and try not to pass out.