Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Bus Ride 

I'm not sure where to begin this tale. The bus ride from Oakland, CA to Portland, OR was....nuts. Literally. The ride from Oakland to Sacramento was uneventful. After a 3 hour layover I boarded the bus headed to Portland. After attempting to not start, the driver managed to get the beast running and we left. Maybe 20 minutes late. This caused an uproar amongst many of the passengers in the rear part of the bus where I found myself situated. Yes, those being rowdy were less than sober. Let me tell you about my fellow passengers.

One older dude was traveling with his kind who was perhaps 8 years old. From the minute they got on, this asshole was yelling and bitching; about the bus being late, about the bus stopping where it wasn't "supposed to stop", about the other passengers. The worst bit, however, was his continually beratement of his son. Cursing, insulting, just plain mean. Many of the people around me were clenching their jaws and biting their tongues in blinding fury at this man. It was ludicrous. The way he treated his kid was inexcusable (he's one of many who should never be allowed to procreate). I won't even get into specifics, but it was terrible. And it must not be an infrequent occurance, as the poor kid took it without batting an eye. Very sad.

An older lady came back to use the bathroom. For some reason, a couple people tried to offer advice on using the bus toilet. She was less than pleased. They were thanked with cusses, and one kid had his ear yanked.

Virtually everyone around me was moaning and complaining about the bus being late (5-10 minutes), about the lack of smoke stops, and the guys in front of me commented on how this was the worst bus trip they'd ever been on. As tempted as I was to relate some of the bus rides I've been on in the last year, I held my tongue and rolled my eyes.

A kid of middle eastern descent had his life threatened (use of knives and guns) by the husband of the crazy old lady, and was accused of being a terrorist. He responded by threatening to blow up the suitcase bomb he was carrying (I can't say that I agree that taunting is the best way to deal with someone less than stable, but that's me). His grasp on sanity was a bit tenuous as well.

An old guy in back sprawled drunkenly across the back seats and floor while bantering back and forth with the verbally abusive father.

The driver lectured the bus a couple times. He bawled out the abusive father, the threatened use of guns, the drunkenness and rowdiness and let it be known that he had no qualms about dumping people off the bus, no matter where the bus happened to be; "I throw people off my bus everyday and it doesn't bother me a bit!". His replacement driver tossed out a 10-minute lecture at the beginning of his shift, with a similar message. While a bit appropriate, I felt like I was back in grade school.

Complaints were heard about the lack of cool air in the bus. So the driver opened the two hatches in the roof of the bus. After a while, those of us in back began to freeze. He closed the hatch for a short spell but then opened it again, ignoring the complaints from those of us in the area of the arctic blasts. Finally, with the driver shift, we got it closed (a couple people seated ahead of the rear hatch (the one left open the entire time) tried to complain but we shouted them down.) for good. He closed it, and told us twice (the second time over the loudspeaker) that if it got hot it was our problem and we'd have to deal with it. It didn't get hot, it stayed cold instead.

Insanity infused chaos is the only way to describe that ride. While I've had more physically uncomfortable rides, this one drove me batty. The self-centeredness of the people around me, the attitudes ("this is what I want so give it to me now!") and the ridiculousness of it all made me long for the days when I could not understand what people around me were saying/discussing. It was a great show of the reasons why I was less than fond of half the Americans I met while traveling. Attitude and an unwarrented chip-bearing shoulder.

It was silly, and lasted entirely too long.

It ended well, however. Not having any desire to figure out the Portland bus system after not sleeping all night (the ride was 1:30pm to 7am) I caught a cab to my buddy's house. It was awesome! The driver was Tibetan, nicer than hell, and his laugh made my day! My anticipated arrival at the house was met with loud shrieks and cries and I was made to feel more than welcome. Great times.

Greyhound-an interesting experience to say the least...

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com