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Friday, November 28, 2008

I don't hate Greyhound

I swore I would take back everything I said about Greyhound if this happened. And it did. So I keep up my word.

I was scheduled to leave at 11:30 at night to another city in order to take a flight for the Thanksgiving holiday. The flight was early in the morning, but this was the latest I could leave in order to minimize my wait time at the airport. And then a friend told me: The train you have to take from the bus terminal to the airport runs only at these times... and the terminal isn't open at the hour you reach.

I decided to pay the additional $15 for changing my bus schedule to an earlier time: 8.20pm. The change was done; the bus was delayed.

I waited. Scenarios and solutions ran wild in my head. Greyhound. It had led me down. Again. I shouldn't have been surprised, I guess it had been a while since I relied on public transport to get around. If only airport parking fees weren't higher than my train and bus tickets combined...

The bus was to leave at 9.30pm. Scheduled time of arrival 11.35pm. The last train to the airport was at 11.25pm. This is not happening. No, this is just not happening.

Option 1: Wait at the bus terminal. Take the first train in the morning to the airport.

Option 2: Wait at the train terminal. Take the first train in the morning to the airport.

Option 3: If both bus and train terminals are closed, take a local bus to the airport.

Option 4: Call 911. Cry like a baby.

And then it happened. I heard something... Was I hallucinating? Did I inhale some bus fumes? Is it really...? YES! The bus driver honked. He overtook half a dozen cars. I shook out of my state of panic and looked out the window to estimate that he must have been travelling at about 70mph when I've always seen buses on highways keep to 5 below the limit.

It was as though he knew...

My destination was the second of a two-stop journey. The first stop was to be reached at 11pm; he made it there at 10.55. I cursed the people who took more than 10 seconds to get their bags out. I cursed even more the girl who stopped the driver to ask him something. I stopped myself from cursing the driver for closing the baggage compartment too slowly. I needed him to be curse-free for the next 30 minutes.

Should I make a desperate plea to him? Perhaps he might consider my situation and make an informed attempt to reach the final stop before it is too late. I was almost about to get off my seat when he slammed the door, hit the lights, and stepped on it.

And then I swore... if this happens, I will take back everything I ever said about Greyhound. This one man's action is reason enough for me.

11.15pm. I can see the skyline. We are close. But the midnight traffic is surprisingly high.

11.17pm. Screeeeeeeech. The bus steers to the left lane and brakes to a halt. I had just then heard metal crumble and glass shatter to my right. The SUV that was ahead of us had collided head on into a pick-up truck at high speed. The bus driver had avoided getting into the mess in a split second.

11.22pm. The bus terminal. We had reached. But the passengers in the seats ahead of me were slow in alighting. Curses.

I got off the bus. I ran into the terminal and out through the front door. The chill hit me. I ran down the flight of stairs at the entrance. "Damn... you so fine..." I felt his breath on my cheek. I didn't stop to look at his face. The train station was across the street. I prayed that the doors not be locked. I smiled in gratitude as I pulled them open. I ran down the escalator in search of tracks, listening hard for chugging wheels, looking here and there for train schedules.

11.25pm. The train was a minute late. As I ran down to the track, I heard it coming. I saw it coming. I saw it not slowing down. I was on the wrong track.

I ran upstairs to the information booth, and was told to head in the opposite direction.

I ran down the correct stairs. The train had stopped a while, and was starting to move. No, no, no.

The conductor saw me. "Airport?"
"Yes."
"Hop on."
"Thank you!"
YES !!!!!!!!

I reached the airport and called the host of my holiday visit to update. "Hey! What are you doing at this late hour? Aren't you supposed to be asleep?"

Hmmm.

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