Well I’m back on Greyhound, and this journey has some pros and some cons compared to my southern adventure. First pro: this leg, at least, is on the newest addition to the Greyhound family. Which means…internet! and live-blogging! and netflix documentaries! First con: length and timing. I’m probably not going to be all that coherent when I ride into New Orleans at 5am having been on the road for 33 hours. Which brings me to the most dastardly con: my food situation. I only packed two small butt of the bread sandwiches and a questionable citrus for the ride, since I didn’t want to thank my hosts by emptying their refrigerator. I was really hoping to not spend any more money; I spent the past week and a half partying like a rock star and not like an unemployed squatter, and my cash reserves are some amount of coins under three dollars. I could break out the cc, but I’d rather not, and even if I wanted to I think vending machines in bus stations still pretty much only take cash. In fact, I’ll spend the next little while researching which snack foods have the highest calorie count so that I don’t have to eat the upholstery. But despite these hardships, this journey stacks up as a net PRO because I am finally, after months of absence, going back to New Orleans! And that makes it worth every unsettling interaction and wistful food dream.
Fuck me. I just ate both sandwiches. Fuck. I am temporarily sated, but it won’t last.
I did some rudimentary research, and as I suspected Snickers is by far the best meal replacement candy. There is a surprising number of calorie counting and snack advice websites out there (just kidding), the worst of which is Fitness.com, which recommends sunflower seeds and nutri grain bars. I didn’t delve into chips and other snacks, but maybe I will later. Also I’m really into the documentary King of Kong, although this internet actually sucks and I’ve only succeeded in watching like the first half hour and I’ve been trying for a while.
Milwaukee. I planned to buy dinner, but Snickers cost $1.50! Game-changer. I had some water. The Milwaukee terminal is nice, though, with a picture of a woman, like Fergie’s hot hot sister, with toilets for arms and I think it’s an ad for washing your hands. Or else for a hook-alternative for festivals. And update! A large family of maybe Mennonites just boarded the bus. All black, old-fashioned clothing and speaking German or some language. And I’m pretty sure they packed food.
Whew. Where to begin? It’s been a wild night. I switched buses in Chicago and prepared to settle in for a good sleep, since I didn’t have to switch buses until Nashville the next morning. The Mennonites all came too, apparently headed for some sort of convention in Indianapolis. Mostly because of them, but also because of everyone else on the bus, I was unable to answer most of Will’s graphic sex questions, even though he was nice enough to entertain me on the phone for a while.
The first impediment to my rest was that the bus was very crowded, and after I heroically gave up my carefully guarded pair o seats so that a woman could sit with her 8-year-old, I moved to an aisle seat next to a large man who kept staring at me. I tried every possible position of sleep that did not spill over into his area, and nothing was satisfactory. I looked like a sleeping pill ad, constantly moving and rearranging in search of sweet sleep that wouldn’t come, except on a bus. Finally I drifted off, only to be wakened, much to my dismay, by the bus driver: “Everybody off. Indianapolis. Reloading in 45 minutes.” It was never properly explained to me why I needed to get off the bus and then get back on again 45 minutes later, except for something vague about sweeping. I have absolutely nothing good to say about the Indianapolis Greyhound Station. This may be because I was there between the hours of 3:45 and 4:30am, or it may have been the roof leaking into mop buckets all around the station, or the smell, or the terrible terrible crap that is CBS early morning. But I don’t really want to talk about it anymore, except to mention, again, that there were by this point about 35 Mennonites, men, women, and children, all in black, swarming around. Actually, there are some here in Nashville too! I’ll do some research about a possible retreat later. I’m sorry to keep coming back to the Mennonites, who in fairness might not actually be Mennonites, but I didn’t expect so many on Greyhound and they definitely don’t blend with the rest of the clientele.
So back on the bus. Again didn’t get two seats, but at least it was a window this time. Napped a bit, until I again had to get off the bus somewhere in Tennessee, only to reboard 45 minutes later. This time it was from around 7-8am. Sweeping again? Fishy.
Back on the bus, I finally slept, and had very weird dreams that I won’t try to describe here and that I only hope didn’t wake up the other passengers, as I have been known to talk in my sleep. I slept so deeply that I missed the hubbub that surrounded the driver completely missing his turn to Nashville. When I woke up, I should have gotten off the bus almost an hour previously, and I panicked. Luckily we made it back to Nashville in plenty of time for my 11:20 connection, since I’d had quite a layover scheduled. So that’s where I am now, home of country music, and I just caved and used the rest of my money to buy a Snickers. I ate the citrus last night.
5:27 PM (post-live)
There IS such thing as a free lunch in Athens, Alabama. I went into the gas station, credit card in hand, ready to suck it up and pay the big bucks for my meal of mashed potatoes with gravy and flatbread (I figured carbs would give me the biggest bang for my buck). I asked if they took credit cards, they do, but when I got to the cash register it turned out not for purchases under $5, and mine was $1.77 (this is my favorite place in the world). So the lady just gave me the food! Awesome. Then I went to the bus station in Birmingham, which had a higher proportion of crazies than most places so far, even though it was like 4 in the afternoon. I associate crazy with the night. Also, I think the fancy Greyhounds just don’t go below the Mason Dixon line, because I am back with no outlet or internet, typing in Word.
I’ve been listening to Dan Savage for like 5 hours now, although I also have a lot of religious lit with me, since it’s the only stuff that’s free, usually. I enjoyed the Christian Science Journal’s testimonials (prayer cured my gum disease, athlete’s foot, etc,) but I didn’t so much like the Valentine’s Day Jesus Special “A Love Story” (Who Knows All About Your Sins? …filthy talk, murder, witchcraft, homosexuality (gay), lust… The Bible says JESUS does!) It’s a weird combo and my head might explode.
RetroBlog: Wrapping Up
Well I’m home now. Tits collected me at the New Orleans station in the wee hours of the morning and we both slept until 1. Then we spent the rest of the day talking about the semantics of post-live blogging, which we think might be the next big thing for those of us who don’t usually have the net on the go. Stay tuned!