Greyhound bus pt. 1

January 13, 2008

1700 miles, and a day and a half to get from Denver, to Winston-Salem North Carolina, I’m down. The ticket says the buss leaves at 10am and I have to be there an hour early to claim my ticket. I show up at 9am, bus is not secluded to leave until 11:30. No big deal, I break out the book I brought for these parts of the trip, and start to read. I kill about an hour, then security starts to hassle me “do you have a ticket?” “When does your bus leave?” “Will you kick that bum out for us?” They asked every one in the station these questions until they got an ex-military trucker who volunteers to chuck the bum, a 19 or 20 year old traveler kid, coughing up some blood. I gave the guy the address of a free clinic before ex-army boy shoved him out the door.

They call for us to line up at door 2, about half the station shuffles into line, where we stand about, and I chat to the girl and guy in front of me, trying to tell if they are related, or in love, or booth. The guy looks 30ish and is a mechanic with a house and kids, the girl looks 18 at the most, has an obsession with Japan, and new rock. She tries to talk to me about these for a while, then out of nowhere sniffs me, and pronounces that I smell good.

I decide its time to talk to the guy in the cowboy hat behind me. Now if you are going to wear a cowboy hat and matching denim vest, shirt, and pants, you have to have a voice like this guy, imagine Clint Eastwood towards the end of a western when the good guys never run out of ammo. Then imagine that he has been smoking Marblo Reds for twenty years, and swallowed some nails for good measure. With a voice that good it’s a shame that all he has to say is “fuckin’ bus is late”.

The Bus leaves Denver at about one pm, The flamboyant driver tries to hard to be funny, and the girl sitting next to me and I have nothing to talk about until I mention photography which was her minor. The Driver almost leaves four people at the first stop, but the make it by running after the bus. I try to shoot some double exposure shots of the sunset in Kansas, but I don’t think they will turn out. I sleep, and read until St. Louis.

The Saint Louis terminal is a throw back to the days when riding a greyhound was slightly glamorous, with carved plastered ceilings in green, gold and white, and fluted columns reaching up to them. It is also a throw back to when buses held about 20 people.

Getting on the next bus, I sit across the aisle from a family of six, three young kids, two women in there twenties, and one in her thirties. One of the little kids, the only boy, asks the girl next to him for his back pack, she refuses, and he starts a small scene, which prompts the oldest woman to walk back and stand over him “don’t hurt me he yells” and she slaps him, in public, in front of every one on the bus. At the next stop, I talk to the kid, and buy him a candy bar. I spend the rest of the ride trying to decide what I can, or should do about what I saw, in the end I don’t say or do anything. I’m pretty sure that it was the wrong course of action, but I didn’t think that the kid would be better off in the foster system.
In Indianapolis I meet a cool girl on her way from Chicago to Connecticut, I tell her about the rat patrol (make a link) and we start chatting about bikes and messengering. We chat some more at Columbus, where we both have a layover, and I find out that she’s vegan, and she shares her salad with me, the first vegetables I had had in a day.

We go our separate ways and I don’t sleep for a second on the last leg of my trip, mostly due to an old man who walks the aisles talking to him self, and kicking the other passengers. We get into Winston-Salem at 5:30 am, its freezing and the station is closed.

part two to come next week


One Response to “Greyhound bus pt. 1”

  1. whackattack said

    jesus christ. perhaps greyhound was designed to make you decide that you really, really want to be at your destination in a strength through adversity kind of way

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