Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Bus Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I finished my work at the hospital earlier than anticipated this morning, leaving me in a quandary over how to get back home. Malerie was at church with the car and had her cell phone off. What to do? Walk? That would take like 5 hours and I'd most likely keel over on the way. Ask my attending for a ride home? Probably frowned-upon, especially since he lives in the opposite direction. Then a thought occurred to me--with my phat monthly income of $0, I could probably spring for a taxi.

So I checked into cab fares, and I fully intend to report my findings to the Better Business Bureau. Have you seen the racket these cabbies have going? $35 for a 12-mile ride?? For that kind of coin I ought to be going by helicopter, or at least one of those crappy stretch-Geo "limos."

My last option was none other than The Working Man's Champion, The People's Choice--the city bus. Always an adventure in sounds and smells, the bus offers many people the one thing they desperately need. And what might that be? Conveyance? No. Shelter? Wrong again. What many bus riders are really looking for is a captive audience. Go ride one sometime if you don't believe me. You'll feel like an actual captive.

Upstairs in the hospital, I planned out my route online, hoping I wouldn't get to hear about a co-passenger's intestinal complaint again (this actually happened). And then I remembered February 2003.


In February 2003, I was a missionary living in Costa Rica. Another missionary and I had been travelling down near the Panamanian border and were due to return to San José, a healthy seven hours away. As the bus approached, my companion informed me that he had forgotten to buy tickets, which meant we would be riding standby. Rapture. We would be able to sit as long as no other passenger boarded with a ticket for our seat. The first three hours, mercifully, we were able to sit down.

That changed all too soon, as I suddenly found myself standing, packed into the back of the bus like a sardine. Despite my efforts to be a good soldier, I soon started noticing how uncomfortably hot the bus was becoming, what with the wall-to-wall people. Costa Ricans are under the impression that exposure to any sort of cool air causes serious illness, so opening the windows on that inferno bus was out of the question. I even tried to sneakily crack one open an inch or two and steal some air, but the other passengers balked.

After standing in the heat for two hours, I started feeling nauseous. What could I do? There certainly weren't any sickness bags to be found. Thanks to my shenanigans with the window, the other passengers had edged me to the center of the aisle, so I had no easy way to open the window if the worst should happen. Like any good missionary, I cast my eyes to the heavens...

...and saw the emergency exit. Perhaps I could somehow pop open that hatch and release my burden? But nauseous or not, I didn't want my head getting lopped off by a low hanging branch. I thought about just exploding all over the place--that would serve these people right for not giving me window privileges. But then I would have to stand in my own vomit for two more hours.

It soon became apparent that I would need to act, and fast. Desperately, I lunged toward the nearest window, landing, arms extended, on the laps of a seated man and his young daughter. Still laying across their knees, I forced open the window and tossed a surprise into the night. Relief was instant, but also temporary. 30 seconds later, I did it again.

Missionaries are there to answer questions, but I'm almost positive those two poor souls didn't board that bus wondering, "I wonder what it feels like to have someone wretch while in physical contact with me?" But maybe they were.


Perhaps now you can understand my aversion to buses. Fortunately for me and the other passengers, today's trip home was much less eventful. It cost a total of $2.25, so I can buy more motion sickness bags. Plus, the driver looked just like this guy:

Maybe next time, I'll get Mini-Me or even Mr. Bigglesworth.


Eliza said...

I'd like to just say that i totally feel your pain with the motion sickness business. Let me just describe the ride home from Youth Conference to you in a few meaningful words...
6 hours
Cramped car
Smelly campers
Belly full of squeaky cheese.

I felt a lot like that bus driver of yours!

Annette said...

I know I can always count on you for a good barfing story. The Costa Ricans are probably still talking about you.

Samantha Weed said...

You're Hilarious! Can't wait to see you! I love you!

Lauren Ricci said...

Thanks for calling Mike the other day. It totally made his day and he kept saying, "It was really good to talk to Reefer" "I am really glad Matt called" etc. etc. By the way, I do not have any kind of mental disorder that I know of.

Congrats on your boards! That's wonderful! We knew you would do great though. I sure hope Mike will be talking to you again because he said he would only be calling you if he did well on the GMAT. I really hope you get a call :-) Have a wondeful weekend!

Julie said...

I love your take on life!!!!!