Taking A Trip On A Bus
by Ed Sofield
“I remember my first sexual encounter…I kept the recipe.”
– accredited to Jeffery Dahmer
If you’re looking for the “enlightened” masses, travel maybe to Rome, or Venice, possibly Paris, some far away Euro-trash destination where even the barest whisper of the word,
causes involuntary shudders in any natives within earshot.
However, if you might be searching (for whatever reason, I won’t ask) for rank, overweight citizens having various types of illegal sex in public bathroom stalls, or maybe skinny, acned teenage drug abusers smoking generic cigarettes in alleyways, you should probably start at one place:
Your local Greyhound Buslines station.
My purpose in writing this piece is not to demean or slander the Greyhound name…no, no, gosh, no. The Greyhound Corporation has succesfully delivered both the Author and the Author’s baggage on numerous occasions; better yet, both the Author and his aforementioned baggage have arrived on every single trip in the same place. That is more than the Author can say for most airlines. This article conveys (I hope) my great respect for the Greyhound Corporation. However, I pose a question for you, Constant Reader:
Should Greyhound be condemned for taking on the challenge of cost-effectively transporting the middle class?
My answer is simple. Hell, no!
But the price one pays to be rushed over freeways and highways by busline could be where some of my concerns are rooted….
For example, You can expect some basic character types to come out of the woodwork to enjoy a low, low fare (as well as a long, long trip).
1. College Students, possibly away from school for a few short weeks between terms, low on cash – and even lower on clean laundry – decide to spend their last remaining dollars on a Greyhound ticket home to Mom & Pop’s.
This is applaudable. What is not applaudable is the proficious amounts of pornography and various hallucinogenic drugs they bring along with them. I have nothing against the porn (or the drugs, for that matter); however, a bus station is not a fun place to begin seeing the walls move inwards and outwards in time with your heartbeat.
Be careful, College Students Everywhere!
2. Also among your fellow nighttrippers (as in from point A to point B, not as in LSD) will inevitably be someone trying to avoid a papertrail. This is most definitly not good. A Greyhound Bus is one of the last remaining modes of escape where you do not need to show various forms of identification, pass yourself and your bags through a metal detector, and/or be subject to painful and humiliating rectal/body cavity searches.
People who have reasons to avoid such basic security measures are not people you want to share a seat with for thirty grueling hours of “polite” conversation.
3. Since bus tickets are (still-to-this-day) paid in cash, there is one final stereotypes to be on the watch for….the POCKET PICKER.
There is no real need for the Author to explain this one – if you ever encounter a shifty-eyed person whose eyes seem to keep shifting to where your wallet is kept, and who repeatedly tries to manuever his hand in the general vicinity of your ass, just start raving and screaming aloud about the bugs on the walls, and of the horrors the Canadian National Army has perpetrated on yourself and your entire family. You will look like a fool (and may also run the risk of being arrested). However, at this point the thief should leave you alone. If he or she should start raving along with you, your best bet would be to sucker-punch the assailant and run as fast as you can.
The best advice, however, is this – buy an inexpensive back-up wallet, and keep it as an empty decoy where you would normally place a full wallet. Keep your actual wallet in your sock, or, better yet, in a conviently located body cavity.
Remember, this is Greyhound. No on will look for it there.
A Greyhound station is a good place to peddle your stolen wares; it is a bad place to try and solve any personal problems.
At 10 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), in Jacksonville, Florida, the Author overheard an overweight black gentleman on one of the many pay-phones. He was speaking to whom I assumed at the time was his girlfriend or wife. I couldn’t help but notice that this man bore a striking resemblance to a plumber I once knew – probably due to the two-and-a-half inches of asscheek that were hanging out of his sweatpants.
His conversation went a little something like this: “No, baby…No, all I want is to start goin’ ta church again, start talkin’ ta God, settle down, lead a peaceful life….well, goddam, baby, it don’t matter who been fuckin who, I jus wanna settle down….”
It was at this point that I began losing hope in the human race.
I regained it when, four hours later, two young gentlemen from South Florida informed me that, “Yes, it is possible to smoke a bowl or five behind that wall right there…we just did!”
Twenty minutes later, a little bit calmer of body (and a whole lot more nervous of mind), I went about the task of inspecting the arrival/departure dates stamped on a cork-board.
I took my inspecting job very seriously.
After what seemed to be a few seconds (but turned out to be about fifteen minutes), I noticed that a bus was leaving for Gainsville, Florida at four-twenty in the afternoon.
“Wow…4:20….that has to be some fucked-up bus ride,” I thought to myself. “Probably lots of alcohol, and underaged girls having nasty intercourse in unnatural positions…I wonder how many bowls it would take to smog a Greyhound….”
Ahhh….paranoia, bad waves of horrible emotion. Being in a bus station….the worst place to try and be inconspicous when under the influence…everyone is looking for that one person who will force-feed their innocent children mescaline and make the parents watch in horror as their offspring lose their minds…..