To get all obligatory greetings out of the way, I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving where they spent their break enjoying good food, the company of their families and not being stuck on a Greyhound bus.
While I normally enjoy any break available to me as well as the Thanksgiving holiday, as it is the one time when I can eat a turkey leg like Conan the Barbarian without the usual reactions of disbelief and disgust from my family, this break was a lot less enjoyable because of the change to semesters.
Most people may not have minded their commute back home, but for someone like me who has no car and lives in Connecticut, a commute back home is a harrowing ordeal worthy of a Liam Neeson film.
For the longest time, I would travel to and from Ohio by plane, which was not necessarily luxurious, but it was quick and effective. It was also expensive. So, for the past year, I had to try something new and find a way home at a more affordable cost. I did that by riding the Greyhound bus.
Normally, I would never want to ride the bus. I’ve heard the rumors and stereotypes of the Greyhound system, but I was trying to be more accommodating to my mother, who didn’t appreciate always having to pay for plane tickets so I could come home. So, I suggested that I take the bus, as it was marginally cheaper.
While it was indeed cheaper, it was by no means worth the cost. The Greyhound bus lives up to every stereotype bestowed upon it. If I had the courage to hitchhike my way back to Connecticut, I would have, but I’ve seen The Hitcher with Rutger Hauer, and no thanks. I don’t want to know what happens to an eyeball that has been punctured.
Then again, when comparing the type of people who ride Greyhound to Rutger Hauer, Hauer comes in a close second to people who I would prefer spending a long car ride with. People who ride on Greyhounds range from fairly normal to insane.
There have been people who lost their ticket and, rather than respond in a rational matter, they scream about it, accuse every person they see of stealing it, and refuse to settle down until security has to escort them outside. This has happened three times since I started riding Greyhound.
The only thing that has happened more frequently than that during my time on Greyhound is people asking me for money, and those same people offering me drugs. It’s OK though, because so far they have only offered me weed, and I’ve been dealing with that for years here. In fact, those drug dealers made my time stuck in multiple terminals feel like another walk down Mill Street.
What doesn’t make me feel nostalgic is the agonizing time it takes to get to my final destination. Typically, a car ride from my home in Connecticut to Ohio is about 10 hours, but for reasons that still baffle and anger me, that same distance on a Greyhound bus is a little more than 24 hours.
But that’s OK, I love waiting around the New York bus terminal for three hours, subsiding on diet soda and terminal sandwiches made out of soggy bread and dog-food-quality tuna and suffering from the horrible pains in my stomach I get every single time I take the bus.
For the life of me, I can’t comprehend why that happens.
Back when OU was on the quarters schedule, I tolerated the long bus ride because I knew that I wouldn’t have to take that same ride again for more than a month. But now, a good portion of my five-day vacation was spent trying to avoid the homeless men in bus terminals who I didn’t give change too.
While I had to take the bus down home for Thanksgiving, I didn’t have to take the bus back to Ohio. For that, I am thankful.
Dennis Fulton is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Tell him about your nightmarish Greyhound rides at firstname.lastname@example.org.