Friday, July 15, 2005

Taking the Greyhound

This week has been absolutely hectic and it had nothing to do with the Orange Order. Next week will be equally hectic, and King Billy and his white charger are not involved either.

I went off to Boston to do some book promotion that involved taking the Greyhound bus for the first time ever, and I can now state unequivocally that the ride is nothing at all like they depict in the movies. Nothing! I remember watching countless American 'buddy' movies as a kid--they were my second most favorite movie genres, anything with Judy Garland being unbeatable (much to my Daddy's and brothers' chagrin)--and how romantic it all seemed to board one of those gleaming American buses and ride off without a care in the world and start a new life in a spanking new city, etc.

Throughout my maiden voyage, I was obliged to share a seat with a most friendly chap who had the worst case of halitosis I have ever come across in my life. It was dead NAF. (That's Brit for "nasty as fuck.") Throughout the journey I recalled a recent ad on the telly where a young girl sitting on an aeroplane slips a breath freshener melting thingie inside her neighbor's mouth while he's asleep so she can begin to enjoy her flight again. Unfortunately the only thing I had were some sugar-free mints and he refused my offer; so I was forced to keep turning away from him when he spoke and reply to his inquiries as if I were addressing someone else in the aisle.

One charming occurrence, for about twenty minutes, was how two children--a girl and Hispanic boy of about five or six--befriended each other about midway through the trip. They began to read to one other and then ask each other personal questions--very charming, until it dawned on me and a few other passengers that this conversation might tenaciously endure for the remainder of the journey. And so the trenchant blather did, their high-pitched remonstrations when one or other did not answer a question satisfactorily becoming as fatiguing as people being unnecessarily loud on cell phones--of which we had two such creatures in attendance. The most obnoxious by far was a middle-aged, ghastly thin woman who called people ad nauseum and was most anxious to share innumerable times with the entire bus a belief that her cell battery was dangerously low, that she was someone of consequence in props or set design and didn't like the new hire one single bit and had her caller heard anything about this woman's background, and that she was going to change in the South Station lavatories into a black skirt before meeting her friends at some restaurant.

Because I am leaving on Sunday morning for Los Angeles on Sunday to do some radio and TV for my novel's promotion, I will not be blogging much, if at all, until next Thursday. While there, I will also be doing a reading in West Hollywood at A Different Light, 8853 Santa Monica Blvd on Monday, July 18 at 7:30 pm (for the benefit of my 'Angelinos'? readers) and then on Wednesday, July 20th at 7.30 at Barnes and Noble in Walnut Street, Philadelphia (for the benefit of my Philly readers).

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ADAMANT said...

I have to agree, those cinematic Grayhound bus adventures always looked so romantic and exciting.

Of course the seat beside the main character was always either empty or occupied by a stunningly attractive yet strangely available person or interesting, wizened old story-teller.

We know real life is seldom that kind to the users of public transport!

Damian McNicholl said...

Exactly, and thanks for your comment, Adamant

Anonymous said...

Shop at your favorite stores 24 hours a day. Why go to the mall when you can shop online and avoid the traffic