Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Long & Winding Road

The Long & Winding Road

Has anyone out there ever taken
a Greyhound bus before?

Good grief, I hope not!

Because I have, back in 1981, and man was it crazy. If you’re ever interested in knowing what the lowest common denominator in America is, take a trip on the hound and find out!

It's truly an eye opener to say the least.
Bus travel blows... chunks!

Another good reason for boarding the dog would be to give a bruised ego the jump-start it might be looking for. Man, one trip across state lines on one of these bad boys with a toothless,
six-fingered loser sitting alongside of you,
will straighten your ass right out my friend.

For if you think that you’re still a loser after being with these dregs of society for a couple of hours, well, then there is truly no hope for you. Then, yes, it's quit possible that you
just may be a loser!

Just getting to, and wandering around the bus station in Manhattan was an adventure. The station is located in the Port Authority building on the corner of 42nd Street and 10th Ave. Truly, the armpit of the world. Well it's gotten better since then I must admit!

But just standing in the bus station should make you feel better about yourself
and your stake in life.

You don’t even have to buy a ticket.
It’s like getting therapy for free
for goodness sake.

But since I wasn’t really looking for any therapy, at this point anyways, I really did have to buy a ticket. So, I made my way to the ticket counter, and paid $186.00 for a round trip ticket
to St. Louis, Missouri.

Now I know from a distance that $186.00 sounds like a bargain, but believe me, it wasn’t. I think they should have paid me $186.00 for taking their nightmarish bus.

I was on my way to St. Louie to see Vicki. She was a girl that I met while on vacation down in Florida. We kept in contact with each other through letters and phone calls.

Well, it was her birthday, and I didn’t have much goin’ on at the time, (just prior to me shipping out to navy bootcamp)... so I packed a bag and boarded a bus bound for the big archway city
of St. Louis.

The visit was really great. I got to hang with all her friends. We drank, listened to music, and had a bunch of laughs the whole time I was there. But this story isn’t about my visit to St. Louie to see Vicki for her birthday, as incredible as the visit was, it’s about the most ridiculous bus ride
I have ever been on in my life.

It was truly...
the bus ride from hell... and back! LoL

So, where was I? Oh, yeah. I was at the bus station in Manhattan, right. I had my ticket in hand and some time to kill before
my scheduled departure.

So, just to loosen up a bit, I wandered over to the lounge and picked up right where I left off from the night before, by having a few beers.

No need to look at all of these dregs with perfect 20/20 vision right?

I’ll tell ya, add a little blur to a homeless guy, and for some reason, he doesn't really offend the senses as much. I said "as much".

Well, as my senses were being assaulted from all sides by blurry smelly bums, I saw a guy approaching me out of the corner of my eye.
And oh man, he’s got a clipboard in his hands.
He spoke,
Excuse me sir!

Yeah, like I needed this asshole in my life right now. I was pretty well hungover, with alittle
“hair of the dog” in my hand
just trying to maintain.

So I answered back in my disgusted,
get the fuck outta my face voice.

Yeah, what’ta you want?

But before I had a chance to tell him to get lost, he had explained that he worked for Greyhound. That he wanted me to take a quick survey. And bang, the first question was staring me right in the face before I knew what hit me.

Why are you taking a Greyhound bus
to your destination today?

I got right down to the bare boned facts.

It was my last choice!
I had to!

The answer didn’t even faze him.

Do you own a car?

I thought to myself, now how stupid was this question? My disgust reared its ugly head once again as I replied,

Now why the fuck do you need to know that?
I’ll give you one more question pal,
then get the hell outta here!

Still unfazed by my rudeness, he plowed on.

Have you ever taken a
Greyhound bus before?

This was bound to get a reaction.

And after the nightmare that I’m goin’ through right now, I will never ride on one of these fuckin’ things again. Ever!

Still, this muthafucka wasn’t shaken by my grotesque, vulgar abuse. I was really
beginning to like this guy!

So, I let him ask me several more questions. And by the time the survey was over, the both of us ended up standing there, makin’ fun of all the derelicts that were wandering around the station.

That was pretty funny.
Now mind you, I haven’t even gotten on the fuckin’ bus yet! Will it get any better?

Well, after that fiasco, I walked downstairs to the actual bus stop. I threw my bag down on the ground, sat upon it, sipped my beer, (remember... 1981. Noone gave a crap about anything!)... and I watched.

Watched what, you ask?

Well, I watched the biggest bunch of loooooooooossseeerrrrrs
ever assembled in one place,
congregating at my bus stop.

I was really wishing that I did have an ego problem, or some kind of psychological disorder at this point. Because I would’ve been cured
in seconds, man.

Dude, I’ll bet the mojo that this crew was giving off could’ve cured fucking Leprosy!

Just look at what my eyes were witnessing. I was going to be riding cross-country with the fucking sweat hogs, from Mr. Kotter’s class.

Welcome Back Kotter... The Sweat Hogs

You should’ve seen this one guy. He had about 10 pieces of, well, I guess it was luggage. He would pick up two bags, and walk five feet. Then, go back for two more, and on, and on.
I mean he did this for fifty feet!

Would you please pay that kid with the dolly a couple dollars to carry your bags,
you cheap fuck, you!

Oh, and you had to see all the luggage that was tied and bound with rope & twine. That seemed to be the crowd favorite. Fuckin’ rope & twine!
I swear, I thought I was going to look up and see Fred G. Sanford & Lamont
from the Sanford & Son show!

I shit you not!

And theG stands for Gander.
As in…
Take a gander at these muthafuckin’
losers will ya Lamont!

Redd Foxx and Demond Wilson as Sanford & Son... so funny!
Similar to the luggage on my bus. Only more torn up and thinner rope and tons of twine!

And, because of the beers and the Blur effect, at one point I actually thought I did see Fred and Lamont! Man, I was gonna be a passenger
on the slum bus.

Finally, the bus arrived, and we all piled on and jockeyed for seats. I made my way to about the middle of the bus and grabbed a window seat.

Now, just maybe, if I crossed my fingers and hoped real hard, a person who showered within the last 48 hours would sit next to me. Hey, you can’t set your sites all too high now.

Judging from what I had to work with,
48 hours was pushing it!

Well, the bus was filling up, but still no one had taken the seat next to me. Shit, maybe I smelled!

But then, while I had my head lowered,
I heard a voice say,

Excuse me.
Is there anyone sitting here?

I thought, uummmm, I can’t picture that cute sounding voice coming from any of the creatures that I’ve witnessed getting on the bus thus far. This didn’t sound like the voice of a sweat hog.

And you know what?
I was right, it wasn't!

I slowly lifted my head to see just what kind of creature this voice was emanating from, and much to my surprise, it was an incredibly cute girl and not a creature at all!

I looked around and while pointing to the empty seat besides me I said,

You mean this one?

She replied with a yes.
And then I practically tripped over my own words as I responded,

Na na na NO!
There’s no one sittin’ here!

Real smooth huh?
What a dork I was... LoL
Okay... and still am!

She then asked if I would help with her luggage and place it in the overhead compartment. I jumped outta my seat like a trained puppy dog and grabbed her bag.

I couldn’t believe that there was a normal looking, nice smelling person on this bus. And even better, she was going to sit next to me!

I swear I didn’t see her outside before boarding the bus. Maybe she was just as afraid of these losers as I was, and kept her distance
until the last second.

Well, we both sat down and began talking like we were old friends. It was awesome! Her name was Pamela and she was from Columbus, Ohio.
Which was also her destination.

Moments later, the bus finally took off, and we hit the open road. And it really did end up being a very long and winding one for the both of us.

So, like I said, we were talking like two wash women. Everything was going along so smoothly, but I was quickly losing steam. You see, I went out the night before with the gang, and made damn sure that I overdid it.

This way, I’d end up sleeping through this nightmare bus ride. How the fuck was I supposed to know that a "Pamela" would end up sitting next to me and not an alien creature.

Oh, man, it was so funny.
We were conversing with one another, and there I was with one eye closed, the other one half opened, and my head bouncing off the glass window trying desperately to stay awake.

At this point, I was on auto-pilot, and my dick was at the controls. The rest of my body was off in Never-Never Land. It’s amazing how your johnson can actually control your motor skills and make your lips move and talk.

Well, there I was, banging my head black and blue, while my dick had turned the conversation X-rated. Only I couldn’t take it anymore. I explained to Pam what I did the night before, and that my plan was to sleep the whole trip away.

She just laughed, and called me an idiot. She then said she’d be there when I woke up.
Sweet dreams! Cool chick, huh?

After about an hour or two, I finally woke up, and yes, she was still there. We then picked up right where we left off, laughing and carrying on like school kids. This lasted for another hour until we made it to our first rest stop.

It was somewhere in Pennsylvania.
The bus driver announced over the P.A. system that we had a half-hour pit stop. That the bus would be leaving in thirty minutes.

Well, everyone walked off the bus, and headed over to the food court. All except us. We went the other way, and bought some beers. We wandered around for awhile, banged out a quick six-pack and a "smoke", then walked over to a nearby
gas station to use the bathroom.

We then headed over to the food court and sat on a retaining wall that ran the whole length of the building where we continued with our now,
smokey, beer-buzzed, jocularity.

As we sat there, our bus driver walked passed and we said hello to him. Now, most people at this point would’ve taken that as a sign that maybe the bus would be leaving soon. I mean why else would the bus driver be walking back towards the bus, right?

Well, we didn’t take it as a sign of anything.
We just sat there laughing and carrying on like we had been doing all morning with not a worry in the world.

Can you feel the stupidity just beginning to ooooze?!

The smoke and beers were kickin' in
and the hair of the dog began barking.

So, after what we thought was only about five or ten minutes on the wall, we decided it was time to get back to the bus. We strolled over to the parking area around the corner, and were confronted by three identical Greyhound buses.

Uummm, I wonder which one was ours. Neither one of us were conscious of anything at this point. I was re-buzzed from the festivities of the night before and thinking with my prick,
just hopin’ to get me some.

And she was a few sheets to the wind herself without so much as a thought about finding some silly ‘ole bus. So we just climbed onto the first one we came to.

We walked down the aisle, and got to where our seats should’ve been. I turned to Pam and said,

Boy, I don’t recognize any of these people. They’re even scarier than the ones on our bus! 

She agreed with me, and off the bus we ran. We tried the next one, but came across the same situation. Oh, shit! We only had one more to go.

We staggered onto the last beast, and quickly got a sinking feeling. The stupidity had now begun
to overflow!

Again, it was the same situation.
Ugly people, no seats, wrong fucking bus!

Then where the hell was our bus?

I inquired with one of the bus driver’s.

Hey man.
What time ya got?
Ten after seven, oh shit!

You see, ten after seven was bad, really bad. Since our bus left the station at six-thirty. We just didn’t get on the wrong bus. We missed the damn thing all together!

You think that asshole bus driver would’ve said something to us when he passed. Look at me, still pissed off and making excuses after all this time... LoL What a douche.

So, I walked up to the bus driver again, and told him our situation, and he goes,

Oh, so you’re the two they were looking for.

I couldn’t believe it. He said everyone was looking for us. I mean we were right in front of the fuckin' food court just around the corner from all the buses for goodness sake.

Okay, so we weren’t paying attention to schedules or anything, but c’mon.
A little help here, will ya!

The driver got on his radio, and contacted his dispatcher. The both of them came up with a plan. And, the plan was to take a sightseeing tour of the eastern portion of the United States, and eventually make it to our destinations.

Then, with a little luck, actually meet up with our luggage. Yeah right! Oh man, were we in for the ride of our lives.

The next few moments just made us feel like lost, little, half-drunken orphans. We had nothing but the clothes on our backs, which wasn’t much.

I had on tiny shorts. In fact they were the same ones from the Wham! Just Wham!... de-pantsing at Great Adventure. Remember that! Along with a bright red cut off tee shirt that read in big bold white lettering, Blizzard of Ozz on the front, and I’m goin’ off the rails on a crazy train written on the back. Ya know, from the Ozzy Osbourne song.

Pamela had some kind of light clothing on herself.

So now we really fit the profile of that lowest of all common denominators... the dreaded Greyhound passenger.

We both just wanted to cry. But hey, ya know what we did instead? We ended up having a great fucking time, that’s what! We took a couple of empty seats in the rear of the bus, and just continued on with our smokey
alcohol-driven jocularity.

And then, when the sun went down, and we were both freezing to death, we cuddled up and smooched all the way to our next stop, which was Youngstown, Ohio. Pretty neat huh?

This was a quick stop. No one got off the bus here. We just sat there for a couple of minutes, then the air brakes disengaged,
and we were off once again.

The next stop was Cleveland. We got off and ate some really disgusting sandwiches inside the bus station. And, while we were standing there, I bet right at that very moment there was a Greyhound representative holding a fucking clipboard in the middle of a survey with a potential passenger pointing at us both, and laughing their asses off.

Those muthafucka's!
The shoe was now on the other foot.

I stood out like a white guy at the million-man march. With that stupid bright red T-shirt, and white shorts on. What was I thinkin’ man? Well, anyway they put us on yet another bus at this point, and soon we were back on the road again.

Akron, Ohio was next. It was here that we talked with a Greyhound baggage handler. She made a few calls for us, and said that there was a 98 percent chance that our luggage would be waiting for us at our destinations.

Uummm, I wonder where the other 2 percent were hiding?

Finally, we hit Columbus Ohio. This was Pamela’s stop. We both got off and walked over to the baggage counter, and shit, her bag was actually there! We couldn’t believe it.

Then, I heard the loudspeaker calling out my new bus number, and it was time for us to say our goodbyes. We exchanged phone numbers and addresses, gave each other a big hug and kiss, and off I went. I still had many miles to conquer yet on my way to St. Louis.

I just re-read some of this. And it’s makin’ me dizzy just doing so. How ‘bout you? You still with me? Maybe you should take a break and get some air for awhile. I don’t wanna lose anyone.

The next bus I was on really sucked. I had to sit next to some strange guy now. Fun time was over my friends. Maybe now I could catch up on some sleep. And bang, I was out like a light.

The next thing I knew, we were driving through the state of Indiana.

We pulled into the bus station in Indianapolis. This was the cleanest city I have ever seen in my life. Even the roaches wore three piece suits for goodness sake! You know you’re a loser when the roaches are dressed better than you are.

Well, one good thing happened here. My neighbor sitting next to me got the hell off. Yeah, baby, now I could stretch out a little bit.

Once again, the bus took off down the road. We were still driving through Indiana when I began reading these very disturbing signs along the roadside. They referenced the fact that there was a prison in the area, and warned all drivers not to pick up any hitchhikers.

I guess to protect people from escapees.
Made sense, right?

But now, you’re not gonna believe me when I tell you this, but our bus actually came to a stop down the road about five minutes beyond those fucking signs. And it wasn’t even at an official Greyhound bus station either.

It almost looked like a standard-type bus stop you’d find in any city. A little bus stop sign alongside a small glass enclosure. And, what do you think got on this bus?

No, not another cute, nice smelling, girl.

It was a big ‘ole redneck sum-bitch, that’s what!

And, where do you think this good ‘ole boy sat?

Of course!
Of, fucking, course.
Right next to me!
Dude, I’m gonna die.

This prick just escaped from jail, and now he’s gonna have his way with me and dispose of the body. I couldn’t believe it.

Well, at this point, every scene from every blood-soaked scary movie that I had ever seen was racing through my head. From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to Friday the 13th.
Blood everywhere man!

I was thinking, just what the hell could I possible talk to this guy about without setting him off in any way? Well, I had no idea. So I thought I would take the humorous approach.

Sounded like a solid plan right?


Hey buddy, whats up?
What’cha do, just break outta jail or somethin?

Oh very smooth Tom, very fucking smooth. Gentle Ben answered back,

No. I just got out legally!”
……… “GULP!!”

All the blood in my body just raced down to my feet. I now had sausage toes, and swollen ankles.

But I held my ground.

Uuuhh, oh really!

You would think that I would have just left it at that right? No, I had'ta know more!
I nervously asked,

So what the fuck were you in for?

I was all set to break the glass, and jump right out the fuckin’ window if that convict had answered murder. I would’ve been gone. The second I heard Mur…, gone muthafucka, gone.

But, no, it wasn’t murder that he was in for. It wasn’t even anything worth goin’ to jail for really. My big ‘ole scary muthafuckin’ redneck friend was in the pokey for trespassing.

Can you believe that?
I wanted to throw him out the damn window for scaring the shit outta me.
Fuckin’ trespassing!
Why I oughta…

That dick was in jail for 190 days for being on the wrong side of the fence. I gotta get outta this state man.

My new travel companion wasn’t with me for very long though. In fact, he got off at the very next stop, which was Terra Haute, Indiana.

Thank goodness.
Get the fuck outta here, you loser.
Go break a real law, will ya you pussy!

Only one more stop to make and then my nightmare would be over, right?
Nah, even I don’t believe me!

Well, the last stop would be in a place called
East St. Louis, Illinois. Right on the banks of the mighty Mississippi river and bridge away from St. Louis, Missouri.

We traveled through just about the entire state of Illinois to reach this incredibly scary city. It was a long and grueling ride, and I needed to stretch my legs and get something to drink.

So when we came to a stop, I made my way to the front and exited the bus.

I got an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach as I realized that no one else had gotten off with me. But, I didn’t think twice about it at the time, but within a moment or two, I would find out why everyone was looking at me as though it was going to be for the very last time.

For I had just left the sanctuary of a nice,
semi-safe bus, and walked right into
to middle of the fucking twilight zone.

I knew I was in trouble when I looked up at the street sign, and it read Martin Luther King Blvd.

Ut oh!
This big dumb white boy,
with the bright red cut off T-shirt
and faggaty white shorts,
has once again bitten off way too much
than he could chew.

Hey, it didn’t matter what color I was. White, black, purple or orange, I was fucked!

There are some places that you are just not meant be in, and this place has got to be right at the top of that fucking list.

No person was safe in this neighborhood. Even the riff raff that was there hangin’ out seemed nervous about being there.

Well, it was too late for me. I was already at the station entrance, and in need of something to drink. I was going against all forces of nature
for a fuckin' Coca-Cola.

And, I must admit, I was shakin’ in my F’en shorts. This place just had a really bad feel to it. I actually felt like I didn’t belong and had no business being there. Coke or no Coke!

And, by the looks and stares I was getting from the locals, they agreed with my very thoughts. I mean, I’ve been in bad neighborhoods before, both black AND white ones, but I’ve never felt quite like this.

Anyway, I got my soda, and headed back to the bus. Rather quickly, I might I add.

I think the reason that no one fucked with me was that I caught them all by surprise. I guess they never had anyone actually get off one of the buses and walk inside before.

The stalkers were all in shock. I’m betting it was my cool outfit that threw them off. What’ta ya think? Nah, me neither.

I bet it was my sheer stupidity, and the total lack of respect I showed towards the pecking order, and way of life in this neighborhood. It didn’t matter though, because as far as the people on the bus were concerned, I was a fucking immortal God.

They obviously knew the score about this place. You should’ve seen their faces when I got back to the bus unscathed. It was as if I had just walked on water.

I was Moses, in a cut off T-shirt and shorts. With a bottle of Coca-Cola as my staff, I parted the ocean of ruthless behavior, and dead-end dreams. And, led myself out of bondage from the valley of despair, to my freedom on wheels,
the bus.

They obviously didn’t think I was coming back, alive anyway. I’m sure that if I had any belongings on the bus, that these scumbags would’ve had it all divvied out by now. You’d think that someone would’ve told me what I was getting into. Those scumbags!

Anyway, back on the bus, and away we went. Next stop, St. Louis Missouri.

Finally, the hell was about to end, well, almost. I had one more small adventure ahead of me.

Within the hour of leaving our last stop, we pulled into the St. Louis bus station.

I made it!
I couldn’t get off that bus fast enough.
I went straight for the baggage office. I walked up to the counter and explained my situation to the woman, then looked down on the floor.

My bag was right there, staring me in the face. Could you believe it! It was looking all lonely, and pissed off, about being abandoned and all.

Now, to the phones to give Vicki a buzz so she could come and pick me up. She lived quite a distance from the station, so a cab was out of the picture. All of my beer money would’ve been spent on a cab ride, I think not!

Anyway, I got a hold of her and she said that she couldn’t get there for another two hours. Oh great! I’ll just hangout here with the derelicts and shoot the breeze. And that’s pretty much what I did.

After some loser tried to sell me some weed, I wandered out back to the taxi stand where I had the greatest two hours of my life.

This was where I came upon about ten or so old weathered, teeth-missing cabbies, pitching nickels and passing around a bottle of rotgut whiskey.

All of them were black, and then there was me. Well, once again I was the only white guy in the room. And, once again, I looked really outta place, as I still had the cut off T-shirt
and shorts on.

At first, I just stood by and listened to them talk. All they did was make fun of one another, and every single person that walked by. I was crackin’ up so hard. I couldn’t believe it, but people were actually getting in some of these cabs. Rotgut breath and all.

Eventually, I ended up in the game pitchin’ some nickels myself. And when the bottle came around to me, well, I didn’t wanna offend my host’s, so I took my swig and passed it on down the line. I was in heaven, or possibly hell, all depending on how you look at things I guess.

I’m tellin’ ya though; I was surrounded by ten Redd Foxxes. I was practically peein’ myself listening to these guys. And, I only understood about every third word that was spoken! I probably would’ve died of laughter if I understood every word that was said!

Of course, I ended up right in the middle of the whole conversation. And lemme tell ya, I added a couple gems to their well-versed vocabulary list, as I assaulted them all with a few beauties from my own well-worn repertoire.

Man, listening to those guys was like listening to James Brown on a sugar high. Those two hours went by in a flash.

Finally, Vicki and her sister Jody showed up, and they were all apologetic for being so late. We all got hugs and kisses. I introduced the girls to the fella's, and told them that I’d say goodbye
on the way home.

Finally, my trip to St. Louis was about to begin. WOW!

Are you as exhausted as I am?

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