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Mpls, MN, United States

Reading & Recently Read

Incidents & Accidents

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I forgot to mention yesterday that the main reason waiting for the bus is worse than being on the bus is that you have to stand in a frequently-jumped (or perhaps it just appears so, with all the "saved" spaces) line, with no guarantee that you'll actually get on the bus, since Greyhound tickets only guarantee you a seat on that route at some point, and not necessarily for your requested reservation. However, they have a new feature called Priority Boarding that is both a total racket (paying an extra $5 for a ticket I've already purchased?!) and a complete lifesaver ($5 for peace of mind that you're guaranteed a seat on the bus, not having to stand in a long line, and first shot at the "extra legroom" seats). And, really, when you're getting from Mpls to Chicago for a mere $25 anyway, that extra $5 is more than worth it.

Anyway, that was last night. This morning I got to spend a few hours in the Chicago Greyhound station. Our driver got us into Chicago almost two hours early, which I can definitely see being beneficial under certain circumstances--but not when it means two hours sitting in the Chicago Greyhound station instead of sleeping on the Greyhound bus, with its warmer temperatures, comfier seats, and quieter environment. (Our driver was a total superstar, I thought, for calling out people whose music he could hear through their headphones and asking them to turn it down, making it an especially quiet and pleasant ride.) It would have been one thing had those two extra hours come at a useful time of day, but since they were between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m., there was little else to do but sit in the station and wait for my 7:00 MegaBus (which doesn't have a station of its own and is a few blocks away near Union Station).

I foggily picked out a seat and got out my Kindle, only to be interrupted by the bellowing of a woman on a bench several yards from me. "Are we on?" she demanded. I quickly glanced over at her and thought I saw her wearing earbuds, which I assumed meant she was on the phone with someone. A few minutes later, in her rather deep, insistent, and equally loud voice, she repeated, "Are we on, America? Are. We. On!"

America, I assumed, must be her daughter, whom the woman seemed to find almost unbearably stupid, and who was doing the talking during the woman's long pauses. Her tone was certainly no-nonsense, and bordered on big tent revival preacherly; it definitely carried through the station.

And then: "I can't produce. God took that ability from me two years ago. Anybody who makes me try to produce will get killed!" Her voice rose into an emphatic growl at this last pronouncement, and I wondered if that were the sort of threat that would merit security intervention. I still thought she might be on the phone, but was increasingly convinced that she was also crazy. (I remember someone pointing out recently that it's much harder to tell the crazy from the sane these days, since we all walk around talking to ourselves--on our mobile devices.)

"They... gave me... the wrong... type of blood!"

And then the statement that erased any doubt about her sanity: "They are idiots if they think they can make blood from Kool-Aid!" That raised a small, knowing chuckle from the station. Ahh, she's just a crazy person--maybe with a sense of humor?

I returned to my reading and when I looked up later, she was gone. She reappeared some time later, tying a blue sweatshirt securely around the waist of her puffy brown coat.

Then I got up, popped my contacts in and brushed my teeth, and headed out of the station to get onto my next bus.


Joel said...

didn't realize i nearly plagiarized your "epic ___ trip" title. sorry about that. sounds like an exciting trip, with interesting characters!

CëRïSë said...

Ha! I certainly have no Epic Trip monopoly--and I wish epic trips for everyone! (Even the bad [or in your case, vastly delayed] ones make for great stories!)