Monday, November 01, 2010

Highway To Hell

Because of circumstance I had to get up to my folks' place last week. It had to be after work hours (out of holidays and personal days). I could not take a car as it was certainly too far (would have ended up in a ditch due to tiredness). I could not take a train or plane because, well, I'm cheap. Plus a train takes too long.

So for the first time in twenty years or so I took a Greyhound.

I took it a number of times when I was in school but as soon as I could get a hold of a car or found friends who were making the trip then I stopped. Despite the fact that as a lad I would drink anything, eat anything, smoke anything, sleep anywhere, sleep with anyone, you get the picture, there was at least one thing that even I despised.

The five hour bus ride to Sudbury.

My Dad dropped me off to come back to Toronto on Saturday afternoon and looking around he remarked that he had not taken a bus in sixty years. Again, basically as soon as he was an adult and able to find another way, it was out of the question. This from a guy who will cut a hole in the ice and GO FOR A SWIM or who enjoys, more than anything, spending weeks in the bush. Here's a guy who thinks that if you are not sleeping on the ground then you are spoiled rotten, whose idea of a good time is eating beans from a can in the pouring rain in the middle of nowhere. But the bus? Take a pass on that motherfucker, no thank you.

First of all the bus smells. It smells of exhaust and vomit and piss and smoke and despair. Its dirty and well I'm going to sound like an awful snob here but my God. For every student or backpacker there are a dozen folks who are bikers, ex convicts, meth addicts, unwashed, toothless, criminally insane, drunken, high, morbidly obese, twitchy (not in a good way), overly medicated, religiously fanatic or a varied combination of the above list. Looking around the depot I noted one fellow leaning against the lockers muttering to himself with quite a bit of agitation and noted to make sure not to sit next to him. There was another guy with a massive fu manchu exactly like the one I grew for Movember last year but of course without a hint of irony. Nor did he have a tooth in his head. There was a woman chainsmoking in the bay, talking loudly to everyone in the frantic manner of someone who was pretty fucking concerned that five hours lay before her without a hit.

And the list went on and on. I swear when I reached my destination I expected to see the Statue of Liberty out my window. I thought I'd disembark on an island with a field full of plain wooden crosses marking the poor victims of typhus, cholera and consumption who had come before me, to be met and poked and prodded by some smirking bureaucrat who would, with sympathy, tell me that from now on I would be known as Smith because who the hell can pronounce those funny sounding foreign names.

All kidding aside on my way up north on the red eye as I drifted in and out of a fitful sleep I kept noting my seatmate, face hidden deep in his hood, smelling of smoke, and all I could think of was that poor bastard out on the prairie. His name was McLean too you know!

I had a smoke with buddy at the last stop there, in Moose Jaw, you know. Buddy was a real nice guy, and so we're on the bus and suddenly I hear screaming and here's buddy getting hacked to pieces and so we all run out of the bus and I'm lighting up a smoke and here's buddy and he's got buddy's head in his hand! Jesus!

Of course as an Edmonton Oilers' fan I fit right in with the other dregs and jetsam. Probably somewhere else on the interweb some dude is writing about his trip from Toronto to Flin Flon and he's lamenting :

For every student or backpacker there are a dozen folks who are bikers, ex convicts, meth addicts, unwashed, toothless, criminally insane, drunken, high, morbidly obese, twitchy (not in a good way), overly medicated, religious fanatics or a varied combination of the above list. Plus I saw some fucker in an Oilers hat staring at my moustache, the fucker. What a fucking loser. Man they'll sell anyone a ticket. I hate the bus but I can't afford anything more on account of I was on my way to Flin Flon to get my new teeth. Plus I huff paint thinner.

The only thing that ever got my hopes up about a bus ride was the thought that at some point I was going to get an anonymous handjob. Seriously. And before you mock me let me just say that when I was talking about the bus at my hockey game on Saturday night the guy beside me said exactly the same thing. That forlorn unrequited hope was all that kept him sane back in the day too.

That's the Penthouse Forum generation for you, another thing ruined by the Internet by the way. Seriously I grew up on the "I used to read your letters and think they were bullshit until the other day .... my seventh cousin twice removed .... didn't have my swimsuit, she just smiled and said 'who cares?' .... creamy white jugs like casaba melons ... hairy pink valley of love ... my enormous love pipe".

And so yeah when I get on a Greyhound I'm expecting my handjob!

Fact is best case would be a gummer from a toothless meth head who just wants a smoke in return or maybe, just maybe, some dope fiend who, for a finski, would take your member in her chapped bleeding hand, all it would take was that simple touch for it to turn black and fall off from countless unnamed plagues.

So yeah. The bus eats it. Stupid bus ride in the dark without a handjob.


Honestly we figured the Oilers' season would be like a cross country Greyhound ride. We knew it. Even with the rookies doing pretty well and the goaltending being, well, I think better than average, and everyone healthy so far and Horcoff rebounding for a great start, the penalty killing eats it and there's nobody to play tough minutes and the team gets pushed around and the D is pretty well horrible.

When I wrote about this club I said a whole lot of things had to go right for them to be out of the lottery but the problem is that there are far too many things. So while Eberle has really been absolutely terrific and both Hall and Paajarvi have shown flashes and Peckham has certainly been a pleasant surprise on the back end, there still is the issue of having not enough checkers and not enough size and nobody who can win a draw. And nothing is going to turn Gilbert and Whitney into a top pairing and Smid and Foster into a three/four and hell Strudwick and Vandermeer aren't even a reasonable bottom pairing.

Although Renney rolling them there lines sure isn't helping those poor bastards.

So nine games in and eight points and a regulation win on the road (!) is probably better than we had hoped, especially when we look at the kids. Really it is.

Plus we have gotten two unexpected handjobs, one in the first game against the Flames, one against the defending champs.

So, well, its been way better than the ride I took last week, that's for sure. If I can get a couple of handjobs every ten games or so. I'll take it. You?


Steve said...


Anonymous said...

This should be posted in Greyhound stations all over the world.

Here's hoping for another 20 yrs w/o riding a greyhound.

Bob Arctor said...

Don't bad mouth Greyhound in Canada. You've obviously never traveled via Greyhound in the US. You'll be pining for toothless gummers.

hunter1909 said...

Nothing more hilarious than riding the grey dog in the deep south. You want ex cons talking to the teenaged wannabe's, how they're "just a baby" because the kid hasn't yet been to a Supermax Prison? Why am I capitalising this anyway?

And the youngsters are trying to brag about what criminals they are? Or those drivers, who should be making as much money as Dustin Penner, just for the risk they take everytime they go to work?

And we won't even go where those washed up ho's are coming from, or going. Actually it's nowhere from both ends.

Oilers are doing great. i picked them for 6th in the west, felt terrible after 6 games, now am back refusing to believe they're anything less than a dynasty in training. Has anyone watched a Leafs game this year, for example? Forwards who labour up the ice, then once they hit the zone promptly lose it or do nothing?

Isn't that what the Oilers used to do? Yeah, actually it is exactly what they used to do.

And as for the kids, well, I normally think Horcoff's a bum, but with the passes he's getting off Eberle and Hall he's looking like he's worth every cent of his contract. Compound this with his usual great defensive play, and he's actually a pretty bloody good hockey player. Penner can be Penner, until the playoffs, then he's going to have to step it up(and he will).

What about all these so-called good teams in the West? The Flames? The Nucks? These and other, floundering around like palookas.

I don't honestly know whether or not the Oilers are going to finish 6th, or 16th, but one thing is clear to me: The three Amigos are all going to be stars. Combined with Gagner, Brule, Hemsky and Penner and all of a sudden you have a team with seriously talented forwards. Even Cogliano is realising he's going to have to kill himself, like he did Friday to score, or he's as good as gone next season.

Defence? Oh sure, but what do you do when for example you're the Hawks, the champs, and this "crappy" little team starts playing hockey - are you going to hit and check and close them down, or are you going to want to show them a lesson? And when they score 3 goals in a minute, in the first, with the 3 rooks getting 6 fucking points between them, these 'good' teams will open up, which plays right into the new Oilers hands.

Either way, we win. Either we make the playoffs, or we get Larsson.

PS: Watching Peckham's filthy play on Patrick Kane was worth the entire price of online admission - Kane was practically in tears after, lol. I wonder if Peckham's related to that cabbie in Buffalo?

Andrew said...

I find the greyhound from Vancouver to Whistler quite pleasant, actually. Mostly just snowboarder and skier kids. No HJs though.

I'm still having fun watching the Oilers this year which is awesome.

99thoilerfan said...

I have a Greyhound story...

It would make Penthouse, for sure.

"...Names have been changed, to protect the Guilty" - ACDC

I remember back when I had hair...

MattM said...


Taken that one a few times. It's usually pretty good because it's all UBC and SFU kids with their $400/year season passes headed up to Whistler for the day. At SFU it was always "Take 5 classes a term and graduate in 4 years, or take 4 classes a term, graduate in 5 years, have time to drink and money to ski". I don't know anyone who graduated in 4.

Coach pb9617 said...

Stupid bus ride in the dark without a handjob.

Best description of being an Oiler fan I've ever read.

macaotim said...

There you go dog. Now wasn't this better than the last post? All pervert-o-trailer-parky.

I shared a bus at the start of the year with a local who had a live chicken-like bird...does that count for anything? Any jokes about a cock that I'm missing?

Swabbubba said...

Another fine post. A night on the Dirty Dog hell must be over 20 years since I had the pleasure.
The Oilers this year is about the hope and expectations of the future. Some of the plays have been downright sick. I wish Penner could decide if he wants to be player. Maybe watch the kids. Sure they are not locks to be Superstars but they are trying there best.
All I can say is I have been entertained by the team. They do see to try and find away to win even when they should fold.
Go Oilers

Olivier said...

I mostly take the Orleans Express between Quebec City and Montreal. Clean, functional, always on time, with a departure every hour from 6 AM to 11PM. With conditionned air, of course. Only thing lacking is wireless internet access.

So one of these days, an old friend of mine tells me: "Long time no see, why don't you take the bus up to Ottawa?".

It was a greyhound. I mean, the denizen weren't that bad (mostly drunk kids and deviants), we were riding to The Nation's Capital™ after all. But the bus, oh my, what a trashcan... Turns out the "roof" wasn't the kind who stops that thing we call "rain", among other amenities.

Now, since that poor bugger got beheaded in the prairies, it seems they search your bags before getting on board?

I heard that, south of the border, the FTA is now allowing it's agents to feel peoples genitals in the name of security. If Greyhound like to keep up with them, you may finally get your handjob...

spOILer said...

That's Your Best Freakin Post Ever! Till the next one, of course.

Black Dog said...

never mind the post

great comments!

doritogrande said...

Just nobody take a greyhound through Manitoba. That shit'll take your head off.

Vic Ferrari said...

For no reason in particular, other than I had time (I was heading home for Christmas) I decided to take the Greyhound from Vancouver, this about ten or fifteen years ago.

And even though I regretted the decision from the moment I walked into the Hollywood bus station (Hollywood, hell L.A. in general, is frightening enough on it's own, but that bus station is otherworldly). Los Angeles is indeed the capital of the third world.

Still, I don't regret it in hindsight.

If I'd taken a flight, I would have no recollection of it at all. But that bus trip was full of stories. I'll never forget it as long as I live.

Some comedian described a Greyhound bus as 'a bad neighbourhood on wheels'. That's it in a nutshell, methinks.

Vic Ferrari said...

BTW Pat, next time you're heading up to Sudbury ... hitchhike.

That's a slice of life, my friend. I know it doesn't have much curb appeal, but we readers could raise a fund to make it worth your while. Whatever happens, it's unlikely to be an experience that you'll forget.

And let's face it, in our day to day life days can roll into weeks, and weeks into years ... so there's value in that.

I'd love it if you hitchhiked to Sudbury, Pat. It would be gold, I think you know that.

Black Dog said...

bad neighbourhood on wheels - yep that says it all

I am old enough to remember a time before hitchhiking became taboo

I have done so once, a buddy and I were walking home from a bar in Sudbury, it was a long walk and finally we got tired of it so we stuck out our thumbs.

Buddy picked us up, my guess is he was coming from the bus station maybe. We knew it was a bad idea almost immediately, I think he was drunker than us.

It was a wild ride and we were happy to get out alive, seriously. He was a madman.

Andrew said...


Yeah, that's the only way to do school out here! I don't even think my brain could handle 5 courses a term anymore.