Because, TRAINS, YOU GUYS!”
And then all my friends started giving me that look?
Well, it’s possible they gave me that look because not only had I opted to take the train for forever, but I had also decided to book bus tickets for a portion of my two-week journey — three bus tickets to be exact. Each ticket was for a six-hour-long bus ride. And two of those bus rides happened on the same day.
In case you’re following along at home, that’s A WHOLE LOT OF BUS.
When anyone tells you that they’re considering taking a bus to anywhere from anywhere for any reason for any distance longer than about ten miles, you should probably go ahead and give them that look.
Because BUSES, YOU GUYS.
Sure, the bus ended up being both cheaper and more reliable than the train, but I really can’t think of anything nice to say about the total of eighteen hours I spent bus-bound.
Other than the fact that I didn’t die.
Although that would have probably made for a nice change of pace.In fact, I can’t think of anything nice to say about any bus trip I’ve ever taken ever.
There was the one time I ended up on a rickety Moroccan bus sandwiched between a chicken cage and a very large man smoking a very large joint.
There was another time I had to sit for five hours on top of a bag of rice in the back of a Thai bus.
And, then there was the optimistically named “VIP bus” from Vientianne to Luang Prabang. Which consisted of twelve hours of hairpin turns and Laotian pop videos playing at full blast.
So, yeah, buses and me. We are not cool. Not cool at all.
And, while, it’s true that there were neither chickens nor Laotian pop videos on any of the buses that I recently took, there was a dandruffy, hipster, college student who shoved his backpack in my face as he sat down next to me and shouted, “Hi there, friend.”
And there was a little situation involving my kneecaps. Namely: I couldn’t feel them anymore as they were jammed into the seat in front of me.To take my mind off the fact that I would probably need to have knee cap replacement surgery after disembarking, I tried to remember that it could be worse.
Instead of sitting on a bus, I could have been some place truly horrific. You know, some place rife with human suffering.
Like a turn-of-the-Century orphanage.
Or a prisoner of war internment camp.
Or in a bar on speed-dating night.
And that’s where Gigi Griffis’ book, And, Also, My Palms are Sweaty, really came in handy.
I read this book while on the bus, and it really helped take my mind off of my troubles. And, instead, focus on her troubles. And I think we can all agree that focusing on other people’s troubles is much more fun than focusing on your own troubles.
Gigi’s “memoir in sixty-four men” chronicles her dating life in her early twenties. Which reads a lot like my dating life in my early twenties.
Except her dating life involved a lot more real live men. And a lot fewer imaginary boyfriends. Granted most of the real-live men in her book were also real-live weirdos.
Like all of the weirdos she’d met through Craigslist.
And a couple weirdos that she met while speed-dating.
And a weirdo or two she met on the subway.
In case you’re following along at home, that’s A WHOLE LOT OF WEIRD.
And I think we can all agree that focusing on other people’s weird is much more fun than focusing on your own weird. Especially if your own weird happens to be the dandruffy stranger sitting next to you.I’m thinking about making this Unbrave Reads thing a regular series on this here blog. What do we think? Got any book suggestions for me? I tend to like memoirs, funny stuff and stories that make me forget that I can’t feel my kneecaps.
Oh, and can we all agree that buses are stupid? P.S. You can pick up Gigi’s book in paperback here or on Kindle here. But don’t blame me if reading it makes you think that EVERYTHING — even riding the bus — is a good idea as long as it’s not speed-dating.