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 :