What a trip (and I don't mean acid)
The beginning is a good place to start. How far back is the question. First off, smoking doesn't kill apparently. The body's inability to effectively handle the toxins kills. Of course, you'll never see that on a death certificate either.
So I spent the weekend in Maryville, Tennessee with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and grandparents. It was a small family reunion just because. My grandfather's inability to effectively handle toxins from tobacco had nothing to do with it.
Being the not so rich Americans with big travel plans in the future (who doesn't fall under that category?) (rhetorical), we decided that I will take a bus to Tennessee then fly back using JetBlue because they had a ridiculously low priced flight for me to return on. It sounded like a good plan. Travelling is fun so taking an 18 hour bus ride won't be too bad right?
So I headed down to the Port Authority Bus Terminal Friday night to catch my ride. However, the bus terminal isn't the friendliest travel place in America (as usual with New York City) and I was quickly lost amid the 400 gates and dozens upon dozens of shops and stalls with poorly designed maps and floor plans. Eventually I found my ticket counter one minue before they closed, and the agent acted like I, a paying customer, was such a burden to him. I made my disgust known with a huff.
After getting my ticket I ventured down to my gate and discovered that I was far from alone on my journey across the eastern US (I honestly expected few other passengers). An hour later I was on my bus, but not with out the stereotype bad traveller. Fortunately Greyhound doesn't assign seating so I was at my leisure to choose my seat. So was the very obnoxious latino baby and his mother that sat behind me, in the last seats by the engine.
I am not exaggerating when I say this kid reminded me of Stewie of on the Family Guy when he keeps trying to get Lois' attemtion. I wanted to strangle the kid five minutes into the trip. Thankfully, God granted me patience and I didn't. I was close.
Throughout the late night trip (we left the bus terminal at 9 P.M.) I managed to sneak a few naps while the loudmouth was sleeping. However, the loudmouth's father was sitting next to me and he seemed to think both seats were his to lounge in and proceeded to take as much space as is humanly possible. Once again patience kicked in and I didn't beat this man in his sleep. I was close.
Fast forward seven hours and our bus arrives at Richmond, Virginia where I am set to change buses. No problem. Except the bus terminal there was full of passengers already waiting and already clumped together in one giant mass in front of four gates. My gate was one of these line-mass configurations. So I managed to determine a somewhat end to this cluster and plopped my place in line. Later I found out that my line was not part of the clump and I skipped in front of about 50 other passengers waiting to board my bus. Oh well, you live and learn.
From Richmond to Knoxville, my bus (according to my ticket) was supposed to make three stops: Roanoke, Wytheville, and Knoxville. However, in reality land where no one lives, my bus made 20 scheduled stops along I-81 before reaching my destination. That explains the duration of the trip. Now I know.
Fast forward a few hours (I was studying and napping intermittenly the whole trip so time was lost on me) and I at one point went to sleep with a quiet African-American man sitting next to me and woke up with a very curious, very strange Caucasian guy sitting next to me. He was highly intrigued by my phone and I later found out that he was in prison for 24 years and barely had any idea what a cell phone was.
Check fraud for six million dollars. At least it wasn't murder.
Fast forward another three hours and several awkward conversations about prison barbers, the abundance of meth in the slammer, the exchange rate for cigarettes in the slammer, and job prospects for an ex-convict, I made it to Knoxville, Tennessee a half hour late. Of course, I spent the next hour or so driving around Knoxville because my father was lost and my aunt is a bad navigator.
Apparently I am fat. And I have a bad haircut.
Compare me to my grandparents and I'm obese. I let the fat jokes offend me for the first few hours until I remembered how crude my family's humor is and I jumped in on the fun. Living alone for so long kills your sense of humor sometimes. I just needed the harshness of the Walcutt family to toughen me up again.
That was day one. It only gets better.
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:: Ben 9:52 PM [+] ::