CHRISTMAS VACATION: CONFESSIONS OF A CONFUSED DOUCHE
SECTION ONE: LOOKING FOR MYSELF IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
Chapter II: It’s Going to Take a Miracle
The first slated stop was Cincinnati, Ohio to visit my mother. December 20, 2012, I scheduled my very first ever voyage by bus… the new and exciting Megabus. Booking this thing was a bit peculiar, for I had no idea where to purchase tickets or where the station was located. There was conflict with the bus schedules in Milwaukee to punctually arrive in Chicago. I avoided that complication by selecting a different mode of transportation to Chicago; then booked the Megabus to depart from Chicago, IL at 11:00 AM. It was cheap tickets, $51, and due to complications with my credit card, my mom had to actually put it on her card (which reminds me, I forgot to repay her—I owe my mom $51 next time I’m in town.)
The goal was to take the Amtrak from Milwaukee to Chicago; the train left at 8:00 AM and arrived at 10:00 AM, and that would give me an hour to find the Megabus station. I left my apartment at 6:50 AM, with all my crap, in the rain, and proceeded to the bus stop. First however, I stopped at City Market to purchase coffee. The girl working assumed I was moving away and immediately asked “are you finally leaving? Is that all your stuff?” She was making fun of me insinuating that the couple bags that I had represented all of my personal belongings (unfortunately, that was a fairly accurate assessment). I’ve always liked her though… plus, she gave the coffee for free as a Christmas present. We talked for several minutes and it was after 7:00 before I finally vacated the premises.
Normally, the bus arrives about every 10 minutes; normally, it takes me 4 minutes to walk to the bus stop. Since it was raining, I had all my luggage (which was heavy—a duffle bag crammed full with clothes for 10 days, a computer with more shit stuffed in the carrying case, and a plastic bag with bathroom items in it—my ass don’t own any luggage) and now a cup of coffee to go along with it, I struggled to the bus stop, repeatedly having to stop and rearrange all of the items I was hauling. It was approximately 7:10 when I finally made it to the bus stop. The trip to the Amtrak station was about 20 minutes + another 10 minute walk. Even if I had to wait the full 10 minutes, I was in adequate shape.
When I reached to the bus stop, in the now pouring rain, I hurried underneath the little bus stop shelter, and attempted to shield my computer and my bags from the rain. Comfort was of no importance to me, and I’m certain that I appeared extremely uncomfortable in this contorted position. Some guy entered and asked me where I was going, I told him, and he felt this was an ideal time to discuss how he installs fuel injectors in moving trucks. He went on and on, in great detail, how this company had to pay $340,000 to change over their fuel filters because of a mechanical error that was caused by one of the manufacturers… “Yea, man, this thing’s a real mother fucker.”
He talked for over 20 fucking minutes about God damn mother fucking fuel injectors and the fucking bus still had not arrived; the entire time, I had been standing in the same most awkward uncomfortable position while attempting to shield my belongings from the pouring rain. I needed at minimum 30 minutes to get to my destination, and 7:30 was quickly approaching. Finally, the bus arrived at 7:32 AM.
The bus stopped at every single stop, which it normally doesn’t. It’s rare for people to have to stand on the Milwaukee Green Line, and I have only witnessed this strange phenomenon on a few rare occasions. This bus filled so full that it became over capacitated. There were people standing extremely close to everybody and it felt akin to being front row in punk concert anticipating a mosh pit. Furthermore, I wasn’t exactly sure where I needed to disembark for it was slightly past my regular destination. The bus driver was not calling out the stops, even after somebody had requested to do so because all the windows had fogged up… drama ensued. The last thing a mother fucker needs is drama on a bus, especially somebody in my condition. Sadly, this would become a recurring theme.
We reached my bus stop at 7:59 AM in the pouring rain. Carrying all my shit, I ran as fast as I was able the .6 miles to the Amtrak station, which wasn’t going to set any speed records due to hauling luggage. Luckily, the train was still there. I hastily made my way to the counter, but there were two older ladies in line in front of me. They had completed their transaction, but were discussing Christmas gift ideas with the clerk, who in turn, was sharing shopping stories with them. Right at the exact moment they finished their conversation, and he said, “May I help you,” the train left.
I was borderline furious. It was as if there was some sort of plot conspiring against me to ensure that I missed this train. Was the train going to wreck? No, it wasn’t. I was probably supposed to board another mode of transportation that would wreck or somehow make my life even more miserable than it already was. Seriously, I almost cried. I felt as if my whole Christmas Vacation was going to be ruined. So, I thought of other options… I had to be in Chicago by 11:00 or else I would miss the Megabus; the next one did not leave until 3:00 PM, meaning not only would my mom have to come pick me up at 10:30 at night, the $51 she lent me was wasted and I would have to request her to purchase another ticket and I would owe her $102. That would not go over well. Furthermore, I didn’t want to completely be out $51 while receiving nothing in return… I have huge issues with that injustice of capitalism and $51 is a lot of money to me.
There I sat, head down, defeated and depressed. As I recalled the incident in my head, I accidentally blurted out loud, (mocking the conversation that took place in line in front of me as the train left) “I got Doris this shit for Christmas. And I got Alice this. And Harvey this. Yea, well fuck you! Fucking Christmas shoppers! Next year, you mother fuckers ain’t getting shit for Christmas.”
After I blurted that out loud, I temporarily came back to reality and noticed several people were staring at me in a state of horror; I can only imagine what they were thinking as they had no clue what I was even talking about… another huge reason why ceasing talking to myself is an imperative New Year’s Resolution. In order to avoid having security called on me, I gathered all my belongings and migrated to the complete other side of the depot.
The next train left at noon, and that wasn’t an option for now. Catching the next train would only become an option should I surrender and resort to the 3:00 Megabus to Cincinnati. In Milwaukee, there is a Greyhound station at the Amtrak station. I inquired about the tickets, and the next bus left at 9:00 AM and arrived in Chicago at 11:00 AM—four blocks from the Amtrak station where the Megabus departs. Whatever, I bought the ticket and figured at least I would be in Chicago and could buy a ticket at the Megabus station (at the time, I assumed such as thing existed). I figured with morning Chicago traffic, the bus would arrive in Chicago around 11:30 or 12:00 and I would figure out something from there.
By the way, the bus was actually $1.50 cheaper than the train.
I briefly dozed off on the bus as it rained the entire time—I did not get much sleep the night before and figured the little nap would clear my head. This bus driver was all about business too. However, I paid no attention to the trip (I’ve seen Milwaukee and Chicago enough- it’s not that scenic anymore.) Plus, I was angry and was insulting all being involved with the Cosmos for attempting to ruin my vacation before it even began. It would require a miracle for me to arrive in Chicago on time to catch the Megabus that I had already booked tickets.
Miraculously, the Greyhound bus arrived in Chicago at 10:37 PM. When he pulled into the station and made the announcement, I woke up hoping and praying that it would be somewhat before 11:00. I needed a miracle, and the 10:37 arrival will forever be known as the Greyhound Miracle of 2012. Once I saw the time, I spent several minutes wishing the most absolutely wonderful things for the Greyhound bus driver. Somewhere in a parallel universe, I could someday repay him with a miracle just when he needed it most. Furthermore, I wanted to make a full-sized door poster of the bus driver and hang it on my bedroom wall. I thought about drawing him a picture depicting him and me as stick figures with a bunch of hearts floating in the sunny tranquil sky. Since neither of us is gay, I felt that might come off as slightly creepy.
Unfortunately, when knowing that likelihood of a situation will never happen, I have a tendency to take comedic dissimulations to extreme levels. This is one of my 37 trillion flaws.
He gave me directions to the Amtrak…I had been there a few times but did not know exactly where it was. I was moderately familiar with downtown Chicago, but not proverbially entrenched. It was still raining, and I again had to hastily traverse with my bags in the rain. As I approached the Amtrak station, I saw a bus on the corner that indicated it was destined for Cincinnati, Ohio. “Fuck it,” I thought, if I miss the Megabus, I can just catch this bus here—whatever the fuck it is. So I rushed through the Amtrak Station and finally asked one of the security guards where the Megabus station was.
“Hi,” I said politely, “I am looking for the Megabus station.”
“Well you need to keep looking then,” was all the male attendant offered.
This is why I am overly polite; people are so fucking mean to me and view me as a target for constant derision they would never instill upon some weaker minded conformist who commands respect with either a business suit or the mentality of a football coach. Fuck these people.
The lady laughed and told me that it was outside… that aforementioned bus I just walked passed was the Megabus; it was there this whole time, it had always been there, just like the caretaker at the Overlook Hotel.*
Index: Chapter List
Chapter 2 Soundtrack Listing:1. Pavement
"Box Elder" 2:25
Slay Tracks: 1933-1969
"You Talk Too Much" 6:02
King Of Rock
3. The Strokes
"Barely Legal" 4:37
The Modern Age EP
4. The Antlers
5. Wild Beasts
"End Come Too Soon" 7:33
6. Laura Nyro And LaBelle
"It's Gonna Take A Miracle" 3:24
Gonna Take A Miracle
7. Porcelain Raft
"Drifting In And Out" 3:14
8. The Januaries
"U and Me" 3:10
"Hit The Ground Running" 6:57
10. The Hold Steady
"Charlemagne in Sweatpants" 3:58
All Sections Written, Designed, and Music Compiled by Tony J. Neal
* "Caretaker at The Overlook Hotel" Reference to The Shining; written by Stephen King, Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Below Image from the movie The Shining; from badassdigest.com