Briefest and Least Dramatic Timeline I Can POSSIBLY Give You on My Roadtrip from NYC to Nashville
10:00 pm. Arrive at Port Authority, NYC as required, per my ticket.
10:30 pm. Start chit-chatting with Eulalia, a rockin’ 75-year-old Baptist lady from Birmingham, Alabama. By the end of the convo, we are best friends and I unexpectedly start using ebonics like it ain’t no thang.
11:00 pm. No buses. Line is 100+ people.
11:15 pm. Get pulled by a man who says my bags must be checked and will cost me. Estimated amount: $75 dollars. Bargain to $19 in coins (leftover laundry quarters).
11:45 pm. Crowd is rowdy, still no buses. No updates either. Mom is frantic in CA. Overhear lady behind me talking about her baby “Niggiana,” for whom they call “Niggy” for short. She thinks it’s cute, and an unconventional way (to say the least) to embrace their culture.
12:30 am First bus arrives. People are PISSED OFF, pushing and shoving, yelling. Finally give the conductor my pass…until I am redacted and returned to the line. Head count reveals their is one seat left. It’s me or Eulalia. (I damn well earned extra Jesus points that night, let me tell you.)
2:00 am. Outside, cold, irritated. No answers. Can’t stop staring at handsome dark chocolate behind me reading Foucault when I get tapped on the shoulder “Hi, I am John and I am a flaming homosexual. Wanna share drinking stories to pass time?”
4:00 am. Bus arrives. My new BFF John and I are so excited and overeager to get on when I realize….old busdriver took my ticket, anticipating that I would board. Never got it back. Had to go back to the front desk, have them verify they had my ticket. MODERATE/SEVERE ANXIETY ATTACK. After boarding (and regaining a decent heart rate), informed a stop in Philly added to switch drivers.
6:30 am. Stop in Philly. New driver is late. Take off at 7:30
9:30 am. At the rest stop, woman calls the cops on the bus driver claiming he fell asleep at the wheel and nearly drove us off cliff. Police come, launched full investigation.
11 am. Bus finally back on the road. Informed we would be immediately rerouted to Columbus-bound bus at 12:55.
1 pm. Arrive in Pittsburgh. Informed bus has departed, but they called emergency staff to take us at 2 pm. Suspicious-looking hillbilly eyes my bags, holding a single white mesh laundry bag. “Whereyu headed tu?” he asks. I tell him, “Nevada.” “Oh, well I juss got out of a ‘year long vaycayshun,’ ifyaknow wudimean….” I can’t stop looking at the gap between his teeth, the Duck Dynasty beard, or the tattoo tear drop on his left cheek to attempt to come up with a decent response, so he takes the liberty of clarifying for me… “JAYL.” “Nice meeting you sir,” as I take my bags and run away, sacrificing my first person privilege at the front of the line.
4 pm. Bus arrives.
8 pm. In Columbus. Earliest bus out is at 9:30. What’s another 1:30? I learn rural Pennsylvanians dip cigarettes in horse embalming fluid and then smoke it to pass time from a 21 year old (with a 7 year old son) whom I suspect is speaking from experience.
11:30 pm. Two hours later, bus arrives. Informed that two extra stops have been added to accommodate everyone.
1 am. Arrive in Cincinnati.
2 am. Depart for Louisville. Overweight, overly friendly Ohian can’t stop talking ‘bout meetin’ her online boyfriend in Mobile, Alabama in a few hours. Also, she’s a practicing Wiccan, which by her own definition means, “I don’t believe in Gawd.” 45 minutes of babbling, she is yelled at to “SHUT UP” by fellow passenger. “Yeah…shut the HAYL UP” is resonated over the loudspeaker by the bus driver.
4 am. Arrive in Louisville. Must switch buses and add half hour break.
4:30 am. Bus departs Louisville. Overzealous middle eastern man is rambling in presumably Arabic with full gestures and belly laughs. I am terrified for my life.
6:30 am. Kiss the ground as we arrive in Nashville, Tennessee. Halle-freaking-lujah.
Moral of the story: Never, ever, EVER ride Greyhound EVER.