Friday, November 26, 2010

Hey Hound

On a number of occasions I've made mention of my penchant for taking Greyhound as opposed to flying. I feel that current events show the wisdom of that. Again I opted for the bus to get home for Thanksgiving, and it leads me to contemplate the experience anew. Naturally a great draw is the general absence of security apparatus. As its most rigorous, Greyhound security rivals a movie theater ticket taker charged with keeping out contraband food. On this occasion, there was no security whatsoever save for a defensive and passive-aggressive driver who expressed over the PA of the bus his belief that some "lucky" riders had managed to smuggle in alcohol and/or drugs. He encouraged them to remain lucky by keeping the banned substances to themselves. This is a good indicator of how things go with Greyhound.

That driver really was rather odd. As part of his warning against removing items from the overhead compartment, he gave as an example of potential consequences the Mexican dish tamales. I think we were meant to understand that he had previously had incidents where luggage heavily packed with hot, gooey food ruptured after being jostled during transit and falling when retrieved. While I declare that to be far-fetched, I cannot entirely rule it out after considering things that do happen. It may take seven hours to go from LA to Phoenix as opposed to around 75 minutes by plane, but at least the stories are fun and not exasperating. I thrive on the former and age inordinately fast on the latter, so a savings of time at what cost?

Sometimes I spend the time on the road reading. I had brought with me a Miss Marple murder mystery, but did not manage to get to it, as I slept fitfully the entire way. This is thanks to my activities leading up to the 2:30am departure of my bus. Of course, I was moving the day before, so the early part of the day I was to leave I spent helping to outfit our new apartment. The waning hours were devoted to the celebration of a friend's birthday at a karaoke establishment in LA's Little Tokyo. Happily the Greyhound station was just a mile away, but what a difference a mile makes! Little Tokyo is a fashionable district of artists and those attuned to Japanese culture. The blocks surrounding the Greyhound station are pretty grim. When I've been around there late at night, I've been less than eager to linger.

I maintain that going the way of a bus is an excellent option for the adventurous. I may come off something like a weirdo saying that, but I'm much too far along to change course where that's concerned, so I may as well go all the way. People are apt to offer mild agreement that it sounds reasonable to travel as I do, but you may be sure that they do not follow suit. That's fine, I guess. I've come to value being distinct. The important thing is that my distinction spring from merely appearing eccentric and contrarian. That's useful. Anyway, someone ought to be there and chronicle the happenings of the common man and downscale life, Charles Bukowski still being dead. I just hope I get recognition sooner than him. I'm not in it to BE the common man, after all.

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