Saturday, August 12, 2006

My Summer Vacation Part II: The Bus

Notice: The writing of this post tells the world that I am a naive lower middle class snob who is afraid of weird people. This might not follow my feelings at all times, but it was true for this bus ride!

I have always looked at alternative forms of transportation as exciting new things to experience. I remember my first train ride. Our Girl Scout Troop rode from KC to Columbia and we thought it was a blast. My first train ride in Europe was really neat too, looking at the countryside of Italy.

Greyhound sounded like an adventure. A somewhat creepy adventure, but an adventure nontheless.

On the way to the bus stop I was sitting in the back of my grandparents' truck and I saw a rainbow. I thought to myself, "All right, Lisa, you can do this, God has promised to never leave you." And boy am I glad.

We ended up waiting for the bus for an hour, it was late. It was my grandparent's, a 50some year old nurse who lives in New Mexico and rides the bus to Dallas every two weeks to be a nurse who seemed fairly normal, and this guy. He meandered into the bus station looking a little tired. He had shoulder length crazy hair, an unkept beard, a backpack that looked as if it held all he owned in the world and was wearing a pair of shorts that just wouldn't stay up, an old rock band tshirt and a pair of crocs so worn there was a hole in the bottom. Today's hippie to the extreme! We found out that he was born in Guam and that his parent's lived there but were not involved in the military. He said it all creepy like they were in the mob or selling dope or something.

I finally boarded the bus which is almost completely first. My grandma told me to sit as near the front as possible. I didn't see any seats (but nurse lady got one right behind the bus driver - how did she see it when I missed it?) Scary hippy man sat next to this little girl who looked really nice and I felt kind of bad for her - I would not have wanted to sit with him! I kept going on the bus and toward the back I found a seat next to a younger Black woman. (in trying to be PC in my completely nonPC post, that's what I hear we're supposed to call them). She was a bit bigger but didn't look as scary as the punk guys sitting in front of her (one of whom turned out to be a girl I was astonished to find at a bathroom stop) who were wearing all black as well as spiky earings. I settled down beside "B" (I never actually learned her name but her ticket had a name that started with "B" and tried to sleep. Being the Catholic girl that I am, I started praying a Rosary - the 20 decade kind.

Things were all good until we got to Amarillo. Amarillo by Morning. Amarillo where I had to switch buses. Amarillo, the bus station that hasn't been redecorated since the 50's and the silk flowers that deck the vanities (yeah, the furniture kind with the big mirror and drawers) haven't been dusted since at least twice that long. Amarillo, the bus station right by the Bail Bond office in downtown! Just wait and see!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Summer Vacation Part 1: An Unlikely Angel

I would never have thought that a little old marine could be an angel. But I think I met one last week.

Imagine a hot day. It's 100+ degrees out (I know, not hard to imagine with this weather)and you are on your way to Grandma's house. You've been looking forward to a week of good eating, sitting on the porch and playing with a yappy (albeit cute - yes Nate, I probably spelled that wrong:) dog. You're less then 20 minutes from "home" as Grandma's house is known to be when you live there that week in the summer. And your beloved 1995 Ford Contour overheats on the side of the road.

Ok, ok, yep - that's the beginning of my tale. I waited for a while to see if the engine would cool down - seriously, I just got it checked out before I left. I made a few phone calls. And I headed back out on the road.

About 10 minutes later, after rolling the windows down and running the heater - supposedly it's supposed to blow cool air on your engine? I was stuck once again. I pulled off on the side of the road and got on my phone. Cell phones are my friend, let me tell you.

I hadn't been there very long when an old Jeep pulled up. "Please, God, don't let this be some scary man!!" was my prayer. And he wasn't. He was, however, a short little man with weathered skin and a WWII US Marine Corps hat on. He didn't seem as scary as he could be and he took a look at my car. We decided to have my grandparents come pick me up (I'd already been talking to them). And I got to talking to my angel. His biker son and his biker wife pulled over to make sure we were OK. He told me a couple of war stories and offered me a cigarette. "I wouldn't want to leave my wife or daughter here by themselves, who knows what scary (place racist name for illegal immigrants here) are running around. I smiled as best I could and said, "Thanks, would you mind sticking around for a while? I have some water in the car." He stayed. He smoked. He calmed my nerves - you can't really freak out in the middle of the open 100 degree road with a very old Marine looking after you now, can you? And he was my unlikely Angel.

Stay tuned for some more of Lisa's summer vacation!!!
Look out for mechanics, mullets and many marauding (word starting with "M" that means people) making their way to multiple destinations stranded in Amarillo, TX.

Now school might not be so bad!!