.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Exploits in Cross-Country Bus Riding

...To conclude my Colorado excursion
In Breckenridge I grew restless and lonesome. I decided that I had had my fair share of mountains. I felt closer to God. I even went to a church where no one talked to me unless you count the time that I was about to sit down on a pew and somebody spoke up to tell me that someone else they were expecting was going to sit there -And I felt like I had been gone far longer than a week and a half. I lay in a tent hidden in some bushes at some resort town around Breckenridge with the rain pouring down when the thought finally struck, if I am content with my experiences so far why wait another week for Sean (my ride there and supposedly back) to get out of his meetings? I had already spent more money than I had originally intended and there was really nothing more to do. Especially without a car. The American West is no fun if you don't have a car, truck, or horse to ride into the sunset with. Everything's so spaced out. I decided the first thing next morning was to take a bus all the way back to Alabama. -And I must admit that was an adventure all in itself.

My first step on the bus was in Frisco, Colorado. The seats were nearly packed with tired passengers all the way from Los Angeles. It was 8 in the morning and everyone wanted to get off the bus when I stepped fatigued from the long ride. I sat down right next to a fellow who I thought looked like an honest truckdriver just from his facial characteristics and clothes. I pinned him exactly. He had just started his job as a truckdriver and he moved his large Bible so that I could sit next to him. I started talking to him and the fellow started talking back and he went on and on. He was a trucker. I guess they take every opportunity to open their mouths to someone when they get the chance. In fact, he talked so much about his Filippino wife and the Philippines and his church, that his voice was the only one that you could hear in the entire bus. Everyone was stone silent, either asleep or listening to our conversation.

3 hours later I arrived in Denver and switched buses. This time I was walking towards the back, looking for a seat. This procedure is crucial for you at all costs want to avoid people you know you will not click with or that may irritate you. There is a fine science to Greyhound bus riding. I feel like after this summer I could write the guide to it. I glanced at this one seat where this cute, harmless (two adjectives that are rarely found on a Greyhound) female. I stepped past her thinking that i shouldn't look like I'm rushing to sit by her. Play it cool was always my motto. But then...I thought about it. This is a Greyhound bus, what's the chances of ever sitting next to a cute, harmless looking girl that smiled at me when I walked by. I stepped back hurriedly and grabbed that seat.

After many miles of finishing my book, as it turned out, I broke the silence with the girl whom I had the foresight to sit next to. She was from Scotland and highly intriguing. Her name was Jules Wallace, (yes, Wallace, just like William Wallace) she had a very strong Scottish accent which made every other thing that came out of her mouth incomprehensible. She had bought a Greyhound pass that allowed her to go from city to city within America and Canada as many times and as far as she wanted in the span of a month. I asked her where she was headed. She answered, "I'm a-gaaoin' tu Madison, Wisconsin." I asked her what she hoped to see there. She replied, "Ii don' know, I' find oout when Ii git therr." She sounded like my kind of person. We talked on and on. Our bus group would go on breaks, sometimes switching drivers and sometimes buses. This stretch of a bus ride was to last a full day and a night and Jules was to be my company. Others joined in. For conversation is like that when you ride the bus. You get so bored sitting there for so long that you begin talking to everyone around you. -And talk about variety. There was this one very ditzy, ugly girl across from me who had actually been on the Jerry Springer Show. She talked about the fight that she had staged on the air with her best friend over her boyfriend.
At bus stops, Jules and I had alot of fun. In Kansas City we stopped in the middle of the night in the seediest place in the entire 4 states around...the Greyhound Bus station. There we started watching people and she started this game with me where we'd not only watch people but make up stories about them. It was truly at the time one of the funnest things to do. I couldn't sleep at all that night. I sat awake the whole night while Jules sat next to me and the bus kept rollling eastwards. I kept debating whether or not Jules and I had bonded well enough for me to use her shoulder as a pillow. Not because I was extremely tired, more so because I found her downright attractive. I don't know whether I would right now. But romping through forests for a while and comparing her to the other passengers of the bus she was the cutest thing around. Her personality couldn't be beat. I totally felt relaxed around her. Like I could be myself. And she made me laugh and I made her laugh. And she told me about how she had skipped her college graduation this summer to go gallivanting around America, and when I asked what her plans were for the future and she answered that she didn't know she just wanted to get a simple job back in Scotland maybe loading boxes onto shelves just to make enough money to pay for her next trip. Hearing all this, I pondered and I couldn't help but find her adorable.
Well we parted ways in St. Louis. It was in the downtown bus station where tons of Amish were ironically loading onto buses, I so wanted to board with one and sit next him or her. A fight almost broke out among some of the gangstas around. I boarded my bus to take me down south. And Jules bus took her northwards to Wisconsin. I thought sadly to myself as I sat on the next bus that perhaps my soulmate was now going north while I was going south and we'd probably never see each other ever again. Oh well, such is my life. I tried to get some sleep in the next hours.

Nothing interesting happened until I got down into Alabama. It was in Birmingham that the last story happens. Already the day had passed and night had arrived again, I had only dozed a couple of minutes since I stepped on the first bus almost 2 days before. While in the train station in Birmingham. I noticed two people, a guy and a girl that stood out among the rest. I studied them trying to figure out just who they were. Then the truth hit me, these people were Russian. This wasn't the first time I met a Russian on a Greyhound this summer (see my posts on my New York trip). I immediately, asked the Russian guy what time it was in Russian. He was very astonished. While on this last leg, I sat in front of the couple talking the whole way down about Russia. The guy was from Moscow, where I used to live. The girl was from St. Petersburg. We rambled on and on, until it started getting late and people were trying to sleep. One irate black man who was trying to sleep kept telling us to keep our voices down, for all 3 of us were very excited about our conversation topic speaking loudly. Finally about 11 or 12 we piped down and the Russians were trying to sleep. I just sat there. For like the night before it is impossible for me to sleep sitting up. But the silence of the bus was interrupted by a little black boy who kept playing on the arm chair of the Russian guy, Sergei. This was a problem for Sergei for he was using it to rest on. However the kid kept using it as well as Sergei as a jungle gym while laughing ecstatically. Sergei told the kid to keep quiet and stop bothering him, but this only provoked the little black boy further. Again Sergei asked him in the firmest most serious tone to knock it off. But again the kid continued, being entertained by Sergei's annoyance. Then I thought that maybe I should try to get the kid to shut up. So I told the kid to come here. Then I whispered in his ear, pointing this large, ugly, scantily-clad woman to the aisle across from Sergei who was passed out and who had tried hitting on me earlier that evening. I told the kid that she was dead and that if he didn't be quiet then her ghost would come back and eat him. To get a kid to understand you, you must talk like one. The kid didn't believe me. But I could tell that just the thought itself scared him a little. By the way nearly all the lights were off in the bus at this hour. So any such story to any kid should worry them a bit. Well, the kid went on agitating the Russian swinging his feet onto the armchair and the shoulder of Sergei. The little black boy wouldn't relent. I learned that his mother who sat in the seat behind the Russians called him for whatever odd reason, "Bread and Butter." So finally, when I, myself, began to feel agitated I pulled my shirt over my head and swung around and appearing headless and reaching out for the boy with both arms while gasping in a very harsh whisper, "Bread and Butter! aaahhh!" Just like a ghost would. Well, Bread and Butter's eyes nearly jumped out of their sockets. He jumped and screamed and ran to his mother in fright. He grabbed his mother's switch (which I can see why she kept it out)...this woke her up and she yelled nearly waking everyone in the bus, "Don' you be grabbin' mah switch Bread n' Buttah!" "Pop" went her hand against his leg. And then he cried in loud sobs in anguish waking everyone else in the bus who wasn't already awake from her yell. The Russian thought this the funniest thing, seeing how his tormentor was punished so. He laughed and grinned hugely (which is a big thing for a Russian) and gave me full credit for this turn of events. He gave me thumbs up and then tried finally to get some sleep. The entire bus sat wrapped in complete silence, for a couple of minutes, when all of sudden I heard someone approaching from behind I turned around and it was Bread and Butter with his shirt pulled over his head and he reached out to me mimicking the terrible phantom that had scared him so badly. I thought this laughable and let him have his fun. Then once again I pulled my shirt over my head, which sent the kid running terrified back to his mother. And somehow throughout all this I finally arrived in Dothan. My sister came to pick me up at the bus station with one of her friends. The Russians sat looking out their window waving and smiling really big. I made some loyal friends there. But they were heading to Florida. So I finally arrived home. On Monday morning about 8, I hopped on the first bus. It wasn't until early Wednesday morning about 1 that my long journey was over. All during that bus ride I really didn't sleep at all. If you want a real adventure, take my advice, get on a Greyhound and go just about anywhere.


Post a Comment

<< Home