By Harmon Leon
|Bus travel is our nation’s scariest form of transportation. It’s also the cheapest. For $99 or less, anyone can travel anywhere in the United States in the cramped confines of a Greyhound bus.|
Bus Stations are no Sunday picnics either. In the wee morning hours, stations are filled either with echoing shouting, or a violently quiet air, with an overall atmosphere of rampage ready to erupt.
A perfect way to pass the time, or an ideal form of inexpensive entertainment, is to hang out at bus stations, observing passengers in the waiting room, and trying to figure out their life story. There are usually a wide assortment of characters who could be extras in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. . It’s seems that the later the bus leaves, the crazier the passengers become. So that’s why I ventured to the San Francisco Bus Terminal Waiting Room at 2:30 am in order to meet an exciting cast of characters and try to figure out their story
NAME: The Old Codger
DESCRIPTION: Old guy who looks like an elderly Popeye. He has glasses and no upper teeth. Road maps of experience line his red face. His blue windbreaker says "Pioneer Inn-Reno".
WEIRD HABITS: In between dozing-off, he stares at me full minutes at a time. One eye doesn’t open all the way.
WHAT’S HIS STORY?: Thinks I’m his long-lost grandson, or the splitting image of a guy who use to mow his lawn and accidentally ruined his shrubbery. He’s traveling to the Pioneer Inn in Reno because he likes the pancakes. No, he "really" likes the pancakes.
EPILOGUE: A large man with a stocking cap and hair only on one side of his face, steals the old man’s orange Chevron bag while he’s in the bathroom.
"Hey! That’s the old man’s bag", says the guy sitting next to me.
"I’m going to find him", is his reply. He never returns.
ANY LUGGAGE?: A small orange Chevron bag (stolen).
WHAT MIGHT BE INSIDE THE BAG?: A banana, Hostess cupcake, a comb, three pairs of Y-Front underwear, and a mummified severed hand.
NAME: The Harley Guy
DESCRIPTION: Wears a Harley shirt over a hooded sweatshirt. A bandage in on his left hand. Has jeans, work boots, long-hair and mustache, with a comb in his back pocket.
WEIRD HABITS: Keeps blowing into his hands and rubbing them together like he’s trying to keep them warm.
WHAT’S HIS STORY?: He’s going to Salt Lake City to attend interpretive dancing school. That’s why he’s taking the bus, because he sold his motorcycle to pay for dancing school tuition.
ANY LUGGAGE?: A small package wrapped in plain brown paper.
WHAT’S INSIDE THE PACKAGE?: A mummified severed hand.
NAME: The Showgirl
DESCRIPTION: 60-something with long gray hair and creme-colored coat. Mumbles to herself.
WEIRD HABITS: Falls asleep into her opened newspaper.
WHAT’S HER STORY: She was a showgirl in Reno. She was once so beautiful. A beautiful showgirl! A prince once asked her to marry him. She was so beautiful. Maybe she will dance again. She was a showgirl you know.
ANY LUGGAGE?: No luggage, just an open newspaper.
WHAT’S BETWEEN PAGES 3 &4?: Mummified severed hand.
NAME: Insane Lady
DESCRIPTION: Red face, long red jacket. Constant broad smile. Mumbles incoherently.
WEIRD HABITS: She’s pushing a baby carriage full of clothes and a radio turned up loud. Stares at the candy machine for way to long. Finally buys a Kit Kat. Puts a Kit Kat stick up her nose.
WHAT’S HER STORY: She’s actually an undercover cop. Kind of a female Serpico. She’s scouting out bus stations in order to crack down on a large mummified severed hand smuggling ring. A very clever disguise, indeed!
ANY LUGGAGE?: No, just a baby carriage filled clothes. Oh, and also a radio.
WHAT’S IN THE CARRIAGE?: Underneath the clothes, elaborate police surveillance equipment.
Harmon Leon is Freedomhaters.org