Sunday, January 19, 2014

Leave the Despising To Us

R.a.n.t. for week of 01/19/14
I've decided to take another week off so Professor Sanee can continue her travel horror story. Reflecting on this story, I recall my own travel horror story. It happened in Mexico. Perhaps I'll relate that next week if anyone would like to hear it. But I digress, Professor Sanee you have the conn.

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[WARNING] Those of you who have not read last weeks r.a.n.t. should, as this is a continuation. You can find it HERE.

Chapter seven of my book is titled, 'Frustration, Crying, Laughter'. In this chapter I try to help people stay positive despite the many perils they may be facing. The emotions one feels typically starts in frustration, then moves to crying and finally, later, laughter. Realistically, rage is one of the feelings too but the book tries to remain positive and I gloss over those feelings. Maybe I shouldn't have done so, because suddenly rage was all I was feeling. If you recall from last week, I left off relating how the Greyhound bus departed from New York City when I began to fall asleep. Let's pick up where I left off.

When I woke up, the bus was stopped in Newark, NJ. It seems after I fell asleep, the bus stopped to pick up a few people and let more get on. That was when they discovered the bus was unable to continue it's journey. For whatever reason, the door was jammed. It was not closing and "safety regulations required the door to be closed at all times while in operation", as I was told. This resulted in another forced layover. The time was now six-thirty. In the span of 3 hours, I had travelled exactly 30 miles! I began to wonder if taking the bus was the wisest choice.

'Joyce II' was not much friendlier than her predecessor. Reissuing new tickets for a bus load of wayward and cranky passengers most likely didn't help her demeanour. "Final destination", she yelled at me. Mr. Smiley was behind me listening in. "Cleveland", I said quietly. "WHAT?" she yelled at me. "Cleveland" I said leaning in. I gave her my previous ticket, hoping that would clear everything up. "You're gonna have to speak up!" she growled back. I again showed her the ticket which she snatched out of my hand and placed it on a pile of papers, she repeated the question. "Final destination!" I tried to explain she could take the information off the ticket I just handed her, but she replied with this nugget of gold, "Who do you think you're talking to! I happen to work here, and I know how to do my job. Final destination!" Reluctantly I told her it was Cleveland, loud enough for her, Mr. Smiley, or anyone else that wanted to know my information. Then the fun started because now she wanted my credit card and I.D. to confirm the previous ticket POS. I had an enjoyable 20 minute discussion with her about my credit card being missing and how easy it would be for her to confirm everything using my passport as reference. People started grumbling behind me, and I'm assuming that can be the only reason she finally gave in and printed out my replacement ticket for the bus which was now leaving at 10:00pm.

I spent the next few hours, crabby, tired, hungry and miserable. How I longed for the warmth and comfort of a cozy bed. I wanted to take my shoes off, but dared not. A few of the bus terminal transients were playing a game called 'name the stain on the floor'. I wanted to take my bra off, but dared not. I knew if I had it would only be a matter of time before I used said bra to strangle someone. Could I ever be that upset? Would I want to risk spending the night in jail? I wonder if prisons in America have nice cozy beds. Probably not. A few hours of waiting and my stomach was growling. I hadn't eaten since the morning. Mr. Smiley came over and offered me a sandwich he bought from the vending machine. He obviously had heard I was out of currency. Reluctantly I snatched the proffered sandwich and choked it down as he proceeded to sit down next to me. Five minutes later he was snoring loudly and slowly leaning closer and closer to my shoulder. That was the time I decided to NOT use the restroom. A second upon entering the toilet, I knew it was a mistake. It smelled worse than Mr. Smiley, there was no tissue, and a spider had decided the back of the tank was a great place to make it's home. No thank you!

Around 10:00 we were allowed onto the bus which I hoped was non-stop to Cleveland. Yes, I know the ticket said it was supposed to be, but I had a hard time taking anything for face value during this trip. As we were lining up, I noticed Mr. Smiley was still snoring loudly. Relief overtook me as I realized he would not be on this bus, his own idiocy would have cost him that. Standing in line, I was ecstatic knowing I would be close to the front. The seedier, degenerate people always tend to sit in the back. I was not one of those people, I was a fine upstanding individual. And yet, suddenly I felt very ashamed. Getting out of line, I walked back to Mr. Smiley and nudged him. He wiped the sleep out of his eyes as I told him the bus was boarding. I quickly took my place in queue while others were still collecting themselves. I sill managed to get a seat close to the front, Mr. Smiley went directly in back. No doubt to sleep more or drink more, I cared not which. One of the last to get on the bus was this rather obnoxious and portly women who refused to sit in the back of the bus, despite those being the only seats available. This was a crowded bus and no other seats in the front were available. Even the carry-ons and laptops had been stowed. I had a young Asian girl sitting next to me, I think she said her name was Kira. She looked scared, terrified and I wasn't even sure if she spoke English. The large women certainly scared the little girl as she continued bellowing out choice colourful metaphors. Eventually, someone relented and went to sit in the back with Mr. Smiley. I wish this rotund women had read chapter four of my book, 'Swearing and Cussing May Get You to the Front of the Plane, But it Won't Make You Any Friends'.

A few hours later, we arrived in Milesburg PA to refuel. I had learned from Kira she was having a traumatic experience of her own. She did speak English but had only been in the country a few years and this was her first trip travelling via bus. Like me, probably her last as well. As the bus took off again, we continued our conversation. Suddenly from the back of the bus, I heard what almost sounded like someone trying to stifle a cough. A few seconds later I was certain it wasn't a cough they were trying to hold in, but their 'lunch'. I'll give you just one guess who suddenly lost all control and vomited explosively. Gasps and shrieks awoke anyone who dared miss the adventure, the bus driver pretended not to notice. Kira turned to look and I suggested she not do so, explaining the man was probably sick. I knew better though. Kind of wish I had this guys address so I could send him my book and make him read chapter nine, "Laughter is the Best Medicine, But Your Doctor Won't Prescribe It For You'.

With the dawning of the sun, my horror story was drawing to a close. We were supposed to have arrived in Cleveland around 4AM, but we had a "quick" stop (45 minutes really) to a way-station so the back of the bus could be cleaned as best as possible. Any liquor Mr. Smiley had was confiscated. I'd like to think Kira still thought he was just 'sick', but I'm sure she knew better. Finally, my trip was over, but I felt bad for Kira. She was continuing her journey, as was Mr. Smiley. She showed me her ticket, her next transfers were Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Worthington, then finally South Dakota. The poor sweet child, she'd be travelling for almost another 24 hours. I felt bad for her and gave her my direct phone number. I Told her to call me if she needed anything. As I departed, I again noticed Mr. Smiley snoring away. No, I didn't nudge him this time. I had a hot shower and a change of clothes calling me.

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Professor Sanee resides in Italy
and teaches the course 'the
Ethics of Humour' at I.M.A.
She's also author of the book,
"Why Isn't Anyone Laughing?"

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