‘You are an uptone.’
‘What does that mean.’
‘You are happy, and very chill.’
‘…I would say…that’s pretty accurate.’
Bus trips to NYC are always an adventure. And by adventure I mean unpredictable series of sometimes annoying, often entertaining but always ridiculous events that are only truly appreciated in retrospect. In the moment I spend most of my energy trying to figure out what is actually happening. When I finally do, the next phase is looking for some kind of confirmation that what I am witnessing is in fact truly strange. Unfortunately I hardly ever attain the confirmation stage. Sometimes I wonder if I am the crazy one. How does no one else see what I see?!
I moved to New York 3 months ago and have absorbed enough bus ride shenanigans in silence that I’ve decided I finally have to get it out somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it means reviving my almost year-old-dead blog. (No I did not say dog, I swear I am not the crazy one)
I have done the overnight bus to New York several times. The first time was for my job interview, where I was so caught up in the excitement of potentially moving to NYC and the cheap means of travel that I truly did appreciate it as an adventure. How sweet…and naïve. I remember chuckling fondly at the crazy bag woman who entered the bus with what looked like the entire contents of her household, including a giant ragged duvet, an assortment of pillows, a stack of books and plastic bags filled with food and god knows what else. Not only did she try to store all of these things under, around and above her seat but she then proceeded to lie across two seats of an otherwise full bus, tucked under her duvet so as to shut out anyone who might object to her taking up so much space. And she did not stop at that. Why would she, when her legs weren’t able to stretch out fully?! It makes perfect sense that she would extend her feet across the aisle and onto the seat across. WHERE SOMEONE WAS SITTING. Not only did she insist on blocking the aisle, but let out deep sighs of frustration any time someone prodded her perfect perch so that they could get to their seats. Obviously they should be practicing their hurdling skills and stepping over her, what nerve some people have!
And surprise, I digress. I did not come hear to talk about past bus trips, but to document the one I am currently on. It isn’t even midnight and I have much material to cover as I sit in the front seat (I have learned some things, which include staying as far away from the back as possible) waiting for everyone to get through customs in Buffalo. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the season, the passengers…but primarily the mood of the border police. Luckily tonight they must have had something else to entertain them they avoided picking out random people to search that are actually completely nonrandom. Like the time I smelled a skunk outside and they decided someone on the bus was carrying massive amounts of marijuana. They approached every young man sporting long hair, wearing baggy clothes or carrying a backpack and pulled them aside to be searched. We sat on the bus waiting for 90 minutes.
I’m sorry I just got distracted by an argument between a woman who took an 85-year-old grandmother’s seat and her daughter. Normal.
Anyway, this trip was particularly painful as it began with a 5 hour flight to Toronto at 8am, a 4 hour layover downtown and THEN the overnight trip to New York. Why, would I plan it this way, you might ask? Don’t ask. Please, just don’t ask. It was actually completely avoidable and totally unnecessary, and the only reason it happened was because my planning skills are apparently nonexistent. OK, moving on! In Vancouver, my mother asked how I would keep warm given that some people might need a duvet and pillows to survive the trip even in the springtime. As luck would have it, I had just received a wonderful floor-length zebra fleece robe, complete with slippers and a hood for Christmas: the perfect outfit to sport for the bus ride! I would be so comfortable! I immediately packed it in my carry-on. ‘Wait!’ I exclaimed as I halted mid-pack. ‘I also have a fleece deadmau5 pink onesie, and the hood has mouse ears!’ How on earth was I decide between the two?! So in they both went.
‘So, what are you going to do for your 4 hours in Toronto before the bus ride?’ My mom asked innocently.
‘Duh! Go to a bar with Mauricio and get drunk so I can pass out on the bus!’
My mom sighed. ‘That sounds nice.’
‘Yeah but it will be hard to carry 2 suitcases, a backpack, a lamp shade that won’t fit anywhere from the bar to the bus station, in a fleece zebra robe and booties completely sloshed. I hope the bus isn’t too full of crazy people.’
My mom stared at me, raising her eyebrows, and let out another deep sigh before leaving the room. Poor mom.
Nevertheless, my plan went perfectly executed. I took the bus from the airport straight to the Delta Chelsea, where I pretended to be staying so I could store my bags for several hours while I attended to mission #1 of the bus trip: drinks. Mauricio and I headed to Pogue’s where we drank several glasses of wine, had some beers and ate some good food. It was fun. I almost convinced him to come on the bus with nothing but the clothes on his back; unfortunately when I told him he should wear my pink Deadmau5 onesie the idea wasn’t so popular anymore. I can’t imagine why.
With mission #1 accomplished, we headed back to the Delta Chelsea to pick up my bags and go to the bus station. With a massive lineup of people there I knew my 8pm bus would not be leaving at 8pm. As I waited patiently in line, it wasn’t long before the people around me decided they had better things to do. Ya don’t say?! I must have given off the impression that my life’s happiness was fulfilled by waiting in line, as people started to ask me if I would watch their bags while they left to do other things. That being said, I really had nowhere to go so I obliged. Before I knew it I was standing alone with 5 suitcases around me. I was becoming the bag lady. I started to debate putting on my onesie and pulling out my flask when one man whose bags I was watching returned with a bottle of water for me. I wasn’t sure whether I should thank him or curse him. Did I look that drunk? Or was it a mere gesture of thanks? I looked at him in search of an answer, but his face was hard to read. ‘I figured water was something you would need for the bus trip, so I bought one for you!’ Oh, how wrong he was! He proceeded to ask what I was doing in NYC and he divulged that he was a psychotherapist that lived in Brooklyn. A few minutes later we boarded the bus and he invited me to sit with him at the front. This should be interesting.
This blog is getting quite long and really I don’t know where it’s going, except to say that in the end I was psychoanalysed by a psychonanalyst who wasn’t psycho-stable himself. I honestly think I am not THAT strange, but in the state I was in, in the outfit I was in, professing that I worked in a medical centre, I am surprised I was diagnosed as an ‘uptone’ and not something else. I guess it’s all relative, isn’t it?