Unbrave Reads: And, Also, My Palms Are Sweaty

February 7, 2013


Hey, remember when I was all like, “I’m taking the train! For a billion hours! When I could just take a one-hour flight.


THE TRAIN! Yayyyy!

THE TRAIN! Yayyyy!

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.


THE BUS. Ewwww.

THE BUS. Ewwww.

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.

The VIP bus in Laos. Complete with doily seat covers & teddy bear reserved seating.

The VIP bus in Laos. Complete with doily seat covers & teddy bear reserved seating. Ooo, la, la!

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.

This is my copy. Go get your own.

This is my copy. Go get your own.

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.

Namely: disastrous.

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.

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On February 7, 2013 at 8:40 am Gigi said:

    Thanks for the review, Sally!

    Glad I could take your mind off dandruffy guys.
    Gigi recently posted..What Would Inspire You?

  2. On February 7, 2013 at 9:51 am Penguinlady said:

    I won’t inflict upon you my rather… Eclectic tastes in books. However, I will tell you about the last time I rode a bus. I took it from my hometown to visit my college roommate a few hours away. The bus was pretty packed when I got on, and I chose to sit next to a guy in a buttoned down shirt, slacks and blazer. And… Just as the bus is pulling out of the lot, he informs me that he is a prisoner out on furlough. He’s a Hell’s Angel in for tax evasion. I was about 19 at the time. He spent most of the ride flirting, and put his hand on my knee. And that, my friend, is how I got my Hell’s Angels name. “Lace,” he said, “because you’d be in leather for day and lace for night.”. So, at least he was a classy Hell’s Angel.

    • On February 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm Sally said:

      Um, this may be my most favorite comment EVER. And you may have single-handedly made me not hate the bus. If only because now I really want to ride a bus, sit next to a Hell’s Angel and get my own Hell’s Angel name.

    • On February 7, 2013 at 8:54 pm Val Hamer said:

      Brilliant comment.

      I am going to buy the ‘save your sanity on a bus’ read and download to new toy – iPad. More UnbrAve Reads…YES PLEASE.

  3. On February 7, 2013 at 11:25 am Carmel said:

    I can handle the bus for a few hours. I take one from Portland to Seattle for really cheap and it sure beats the train (which is often late and slow and expensive). However, I am not a big fan. Other than the price, it kinda sucks.

    Have you read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson? HILARIOUS. What a strange life she leads. I like it.

  4. On February 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm Priya said:

    Crap. Now I HAVE to read this book. And not just because the cover looks pretty. ( I like pretty things.) And, yes, please make Unbrave Reads a regular thing. I want Unbrave Reads! Now!
    Priya recently posted..Just Another Post Complaining, Chicago Style

  5. On February 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm cynthia said:

    I took the bus from Phoenix to San Diego once… basically through the desert 80% of the way. And the bus broke down. And a guy sitting by me offered me hash. It was…not fun, but all I could really afford at the time!

    I think books are always fun to read about on blogs! 🙂

    • On February 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm Sally said:

      OMIGOD. That sounds so not fun. I guess I’ll stop complaining about my easy peasy 6 hour bus rides. That included neither deserts nor guys with hash.

  6. On February 7, 2013 at 7:04 pm Jess said:

    Please do make Unbrave Reads a regular feature! Everyone needs quality reads to distract them from the harsh realities of bus travel.

  7. On February 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm Jenni said:

    This whole thing made me laugh! I had a 5 hour bus ride in Thailand that was also filled with non-stop music videos, but no VIP teddy bears.

    Your love of trains reminds me of my mom and aunt, who loved taking the train out to Denver to visit me and then there’s my sister (who didn’t) and spent her time writing song lyrics about the train and posting them on facebook.

    Imagine: a song on the fly about kneecaps, orphanages, speed dating and a Hell’s Angel named Lace.
    Jenni recently posted..February 7: Denver PJ Day, Peruvian Party Pants, and One Night in Cusco

  8. On February 8, 2013 at 7:46 am Sediqa said:

    You should read anything by David Sedaris. The guy is an absolute genius.
    Sediqa recently posted..Happy belated birthday, En-dee!

  9. On February 9, 2013 at 2:33 am The Vagabond said:

    Not enough people read, so you should totally encourage it with a regular column.

    I would recommend reading Life of Pi if you haven’t already http://www.amazon.com/Life-Pi-Yann-Martel/dp/0156027321

    Then watch the movie as the meerkats are lethally cute.
    The Vagabond recently posted..Yesterday

  10. On February 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm Jenny said:

    You should read Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a woman” – it’s 52 kinds of awesome!

  11. On February 11, 2013 at 4:53 am Naomi said:

    “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead” by Marieke Hardy is in the same genre as Jenny Lawson’s book. Marieke is an Aussie so the humour may be a bit different, but I highly recommend it. On Kindle.
    Naomi recently posted..The philosophy of travel

  12. On March 5, 2013 at 12:36 am Ceri said:

    Buses are stupid and YES, make this a regular feature. 😀 I always love book recommendations. And I’ve put this book on my Amazon wishlist now.
    Ceri recently posted..Scenes from the Museo de Arte Moderno


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