Mar 13, 2006

Bus #2487

On the good bus, it takes three days. This is the other one. This is the bus you take when you miss the good bus in Chicago and you spend eight hours in the Chicago station watching middle-of-the-night TV with an Amish kid and a Puerto Rican mother until when the sun comes up you take it even though you know it's not the bus you're supposed to take. This is the bus you take because you've just got to move, just got to.

This is the bus that spends a whole day in Iowa going in circles. Iowa's a little state on the map. it's a little tiny state but this driver gives you the grand tour, the scenic route. Through every little damn town and around every lake and stopping at every single gas station. This is the bus where half of you are going to Portland-Seattle, the long way, and half to Reno-Vegas, so it's half full of people going home for Christmas and half full of gamblers that are either cheap or broke.

So this is the bus I'm on, and we stop in the middle of the dark in the middle of Nebraska with the flashers lighting up the cornfields. Somebody says, The bathroom door's broke. And somebody's stuck inside. The driver pulls over and turns on the inside lights and comes walking back down the aisle. Everyone that was sleeping or trying to sleep wakes up and sits up and we all of us are watching him walking down the aisle and back to the back. He bangs on the bathroom door and says, Hey. All of us are turned around to look and the guy inside the bathroom say something and up and down the bus people go he said it was broke and he's stuck. The driver tries to argue with him, like to convince him he was imagining it. The guy inside gets offended. Starts yelling at the driver that it isn't his fault that the bus has trapped him in there and he's is just going off. He's berserk. The driver starts to call him sir and tries to calm him down but the guy keeps yelling. Then he offends the bus driver and the driver starts to yell back.

The driver says, sir, if you get belligerent with me I will throw you off this bus, and the guy inside goes go ahead. We all laugh. People up the bus repeat that. Go ahead, they say, throw his ass off.

The driver decides what he is gonna do is break down the door. He's a big guy, over six feet and like he once played football. He tries to ram the door down with his shoulder but it doesn't move. He even backs up down the aisle and runs into it as hard as he can. You can hear the lock and the hinges rattle and people in the back are saying they can see the door bend, but nothing. It doesn't come down. People are saying, that has got to be the best defended bathroom ever.

So the bus driver goes back to his seat and just sits there. Semi trucks are going by and the bus is shaking and the whole night's dark, this place is totally lightless except this bus lighting up the middle of nowhere. After 20 minutes or something the driver gets on the speaker system and says, don't worry they're sending a mechanic from Cheyenne.

And what? we say, we're just going to wait?

The driver just sits there like he's refusing to be heckled. The bus, as a whole group startes arguing and complaining and yelling. The whole bus is pissed off and going belligerent. People are trying to argue with him and they're calling him names, and I mean we're ready to ritually murder somebody. We'll do anything to get out of here.

Then a phone rings. Guy goes, yeah, and everybody stops silent so he can talk. He goes, You will never believe where I am. I am in a bus, in Nebraska, on the side of the road, because a guy is locked in the bathroom. No I'm not making this up. And when he said that we all realized how funny it was.

This is the most ridiculous situation you can imagine and the whole bus starts laughing. Guy on the phone goes, well too bad for us. Guy in the bathroom's gonna be fine. He's gotta go to the bathroom he's, he's already in there. What about us? And we're not just giggling, but howling and shaking, which makes the whole thing even funnier because people are driving by and here's this lit up and apparently broken down bus full of people laughing so hard they're starting to cry.

Finally the driver says, does anyone happen to have any tools? and there's this guy that has a whole tool-box worth of tools. I don't know where he had them but it was like they were all inside his trench coat, like a pickpocket's pocket watches. I don't know, but he had them and he and the driver talked about it and then the driver goes back to driving.

It was crazy. Driver doesn't say anything, just says like next stop Cheyenne and we're driving along road like it's normal but there's a load of manically laughing people, and in the back there's this guy who carries wrenches in his coat and he's on his knees unbolting the side of the bathroom.