Riding the bus for most of us can be convenient and economical. But once your trip jumps from a few blocks to a few hundred miles, you’ll want to make sure you’re on the right bus.
Experience never grows old. This is the second time this year my mother had to take the Greyhound bus line. First, it was her father who had passed away. And sadly, this time it was her mother.
Due to financial issues, this trip had to be made alone. She paid $175 dollars for a round-trip ticket from Houston to Mississippi. This meant she would have to cover roughly 500 miles to get to her destination and 500 miles to get back home.
The trip starts like any other; you pack your things, say goodbye, and get to the bus station on time. It sounds simple, until you get on the bus.
If you ever rode a bus from state-to-state, then you should know about layovers. My mother had to take three buses from Houston to Freeport, from Freeport to Jackson, and then from Jackson to Mississippi. The bus she rode between Jackson and Mississippi was the “Grayline”. She reported no problems there. All eyes were on a bus named after a gray race dog.
Once she took a seat on the bus, the first thing she noticed was the lack of space between the seating. At first, this was not a big deal. She just wanted to get this show on the road.
My mother had only packed the essentials: clothing, bus ticket, and a calling card. Others, on the other hand, brought their necessities: cellphone, radio, and laptop.
Sleep was not an option for my mother. On the Greyhound, there were no sleep initiators, since there were no movies. Even with an occasional window-seat and the occurrence of rain, sleep was a commodity. Either someone was typing endlessly away on their laptop keyboard or ranting obnoxiously loud on their cellular phone.
The cellphone jabber went on throughout most of her nights on the dog-line. All the chatter just made her want to run to the restroom. Regretfully, the lavatory reeked and she could not force herself to partake in such decadence. Three hours is how long she went on holding it in until the next layover. She cringed when the bus made its way past the Mississippi River.
As she was purchasing a snack during her next layover, she urged the cashier to hasten the sale so she wouldn’t be left behind. Once back in line to be counted and boarded on the bus, she was happily greeted by a chronic cigarette-inhaler who enjoyed blowing smoke in peoples’ faces.
To add to her discomfort, she was making her way home from her mother’s funeral.
On a good note, she was able to see “fifty” of her closest relatives and take pictures of nearby attractions. Also, one of the woman Greyhound bus drivers drove superbly. Some of the other passengers reported she was pretty mean though.
Well after 32 hours, 1000 miles of road, and 6 different buses, my mother made it from Houston-to-Mississippi and back. When asked if she liked her bus ride, she replied…”I would rather fly.”