R.a.n.t. of week 01/12/14
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Thank you for the space Jeffery. As you know, I'm in America doing a book tour for my recently published, "Why Isn't Anyone Laughing". After this tale, you'll certainly see why I'm not the one whom is laughing. It started last week when New York was hit with that terrible snow storm. I was supposed to be in Cleveland the next day for a book signing, but unfortunately the airport had cancelled my flight and looked like all flights were cancelled until further notice. As the snow was supposed to fall well into the next day, I quickly realized I had to either cancel my book signing or seek other arrangements. As I'm only in America for a couple of weeks, I opted to look for other arrangements. Car rentals were uncooperative, though I find it hard to fault them considering the weather. I was informed the only company likely to be operating at the time was the Greyhound bus lines. Reluctantly, I consulted their website.
Ten minutes later, I was in a taxi heading to the Greyhound Bus Depot, inconveniently located about twenty minutes away. We had gone a few blocks when the driver decided it was a good idea to stop for petrol. You'd think these things would be topped off between fares. When he had finished, he started driving then turned into a 7-11. I don't mean he physically turned into a 7-11, the taxi pulled into a 7-11. Apparently the cabbie thought we were taking a leisurely jaunt and was heading in to acquire provisions. The women inside me wanted to scream at him to get back in the taxi, my bus was scheduled to leave at 2:30, so I had little time for side trips. But I kept my cool and remembered the first chapter of my book, 'Pleasantries Will Get You Somewhere'. Essentially, people respond more favourably to a kinder word, than ranting and raving. Despite my anger, I jokingly replied, "Have any dry cleaning you need to pick up on the way"?
In retrospect, perhaps it sounded more sarcastic than anything else, because the rest of the trip seemed to take forever. Was he taking the longest route possible? Thirty-five minutes later I was in the bus depot when I discovered my bus was delayed. The bus scheduled to depart hadn't arrived yet. Joyce, the lady at the ticket counter, shrugged her shoulders when I told her my situation and said the bus "will get here when it gets here". Chapter 11 of my book is titled, 'Laughter Isn't Communication', and indeed neither is shrugging one's shoulders. In the chapter, I describe the best way to avoid escalated verbal onslaughts by being calm and collected. However Joyce was really pushing my buttons by her complacency. Still, she must see this type of thing every day, so I did my best to forgive her blank stares. I didn't try a feeble joke this time.
An hour and a half later, an announcement was made for those of us holding tickets for the 3:35 departure. It seems the bus was cancelled all-together and we had to get new tickets for a 5:45 departure. A minor inconvenience typically, except for the fact I suddenly could not find my pocketbook. I couldn't even recall when I had used it last. Either it was buried in my luggage, lost forever in my bottomless purse, or I had been pick-pocketed. Fortunately, I keep my passport secured around my neck at all times. It was fun trying to inform Joyce a passport is a valid form of identification. Sometimes Americans frighten me. Again, remaining focused worked to my advantage. As stressful as this situation had been so far, at least two good things happened. One: I was finally on a bus heading to Cleveland. Second: I recalled chapter three of my book, 'Laughing at a Change in Circumstance'. No matter what life throws at you, unless it's truly traumatic, you can find some way to look back on the event and laugh. I claim this as a good point because I then decided to keep notes of this travel and use it as source material for a future publication.
With all the complications, I was the last to board the bus. I searched for an empty seat but found it to be more difficult than finding a pin in a pile needles. Any available seat that should have been open was being used by selfish people for carry-on bags and laptops. Finally, I found a seat in the rear of the bus across from 'Mr. Smiley'. Mr. Smiley smelled of piss and vodka and winked at me as I sat down. It seems he incorrectly assumed he was 'my type'. "Are you married?", "Where you headed?", "Did you say you were married?", "Do you have any tattoos?", "You're married, right?" and "Want a swig?", were a few of the questions thrown in my direction. I tried to politely avoid his questions as best as possible till I could take it no more and informed him that I was on my way home from a business trip to see my husband and two children whom I 'loved and missed' very much. His interrogation stopped shortly after, which was great because I was very drowsy and wanted to sleep the entire rest of the journey.
Sweet slumber overtook me, but it was far from restless. I dreamt I was on the bus, naturally enough, but noticed we were going in the wrong direction. I kept seeing signs pointing towards Ohio, but the bus always took the opposite direction. Suddenly I'm seeing signs for Niagara Falls, Hamilton and then Toronto. I start to freak out because instead of going to Cleveland, we're going to Canada! I tried to make my way to the front of the bus but Mr. Smiley is blocking the way with two flasks. He keeps trying to give me one. Somehow I manage my way around him and yell at the bus driver he's going the wrong way. He calmly tells me the bus has to go to Canada because the door is jammed. That's when I woke up to a realistic horror.
To be continued:
Next Week - Professor Sanee continues her travel horror story.
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and teaches the course 'the
Ethics of Humour' at I.M.A.
She's also author of the book,
"Why Isn't Anyone Laughing?"