I Fly Greyhound
If you’re anything like me, you are a grown man who has spent a lot of time on Greyhound buses and in Greyhound bus stations. In fact, I am writing this from a Greyhound bus en route to Marion, Indiana, which is not terribly far from Wabash, Indiana, where I will be seeing my fifth date in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s current tour. You know what? Still a fan. I was worried I would see one or two shows and be all, “Woo, this dude is just NOT for me” but it turns out I really enjoyed the guy’s music. Who could have guessed?
There are a lot of downsides to using Greyhound. It generally takes far, far longer to travel via bus than airplane, or, really, any form of travel this side of the horse-drawn buggy. And that’s not even including the layover in Indianapolis, which is scheduled to last an unconscionable six hours and fifteen minutes.
I can handle the hours upon hours on a bus. It’s the layovers that kill me, particularly since they always seem to occur in the middle of the night, when normal people are sleeping soundly, not experimenting with how long they can go without sleep before succumbing to madness That’s certainly true of my current trip. We’re scheduled to get to Indianapolis at 4:25 but we will not be leaving until 10:30.
People on airplanes often seem bored. People on Greyhound buses look dispirited, like the very life-force has been sucked out of them. They look beaten down by life. I should know. I’m one of them. I’m one of the bus people.
For you see, while there are all manner of disadvantages to taking buses, there are advantages as well. Price is a big one. It’s way cheaper to take the bus than a plane for obvious reasons.
But it goes beyond that. I have a weird, masochistic attachment to Greyhound buses rooted partially in cost and partially in the strange nature of my life and career. Thanks to You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me, I will always associate Greyhound with following Phish and Insane Clown Posse and the mind-blowing, revelatory experiences delving deep into these strange, special worlds.
Now, thanks to my experiences following Al on his current tour, I’ll have even more surreal, sublime pop-culture misadventures to associate with Greyhound.
And I’ve gotta say Greyhound has become a lot more rider-friendly since I first started riding it extensively seven years ago. It’s got wi-fi and electrical outlets so it’s even more of a mobile, foul-smelling second office than it was before.
I half-love, half-hate, half-rely upon Greyhound but I would never ask my wife or son to take it even a short trip. One of the overlooked advantages to growing up poor, and also to being a Juggalo, is that you become oddly comfortable with being uncomfortable. Christ, I’m not overjoyed to be spending fifteen hours either on a Greyhound bus or in a station, but I also know that I can handle it, just barely and that my brain will find productive work for me to do, like writing this blog post, rather than going insane.
Greyhound is quite literally my weird, cheap trip. Every time I get onboard for an endless voyage I wonder if it’s my last, and if my days of cut-rate, ramshackle travel are coming to an end. Part of me hopes that’s the case, and that I’ll be moving on up to less depressing, time-intensive forms of transportation in the future but if that is in fact the case, I think I’m going to miss these trips, weirdly enough. Greyhound is not a fun or easy or efficient way to travel long distance but goddamn if it doesn’t have a whole lot of character. It’s a weird way to see our sometimes fine nation and, for the time being at least, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You know what’s what: you gotta gimme some money, cause I’m a real good writer and I work real hard and I’ve been doing this forever and fuck, you see how rich those assholes on Youtube are. Doesn’t a weird survivor like me deserve to make a fraction of that fortune? Hit me up here, dog: https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace