Bus ride teaches lessons of courtesy and patience

I’m not one for long car rides or particularly interested in driving anywhere that takes more than seven hours to reach. I’m all about the “journey,” but I’d rather just get there.

Theresa Pfister, a&l editor

Last weekend though, my trip to New York City wasn’t an ideal, quick plane ride into JFK International Airport, but instead felt like a never-ending trip from hell on what could possibly be the worst form of transportation man ever created – a bus. Not a regular bus though; this death machine was a Megabus. I heard decently favorable reviews about this Megabus business and decided to give it a try. The bus offered two things that could make any college student smile: cheap fares and free wireless Internet.

I assumed that the bus would be fairly legitimate since it offered wireless Internet, but we all know what happens when we assume things. Now, I think the Internet was used as a distraction to keep passengers from being aware of what they really got themselves into. Conspiracies are everywhere. 

The first shady part of the trip was the pickup location. The bus parked and loaded passengers under a random bridge in downtown Pittsburgh, an inconvenient location that basically required me to tuck and roll from my friend’s car.

After finding the bus driver and having him check my ticket, I headed up to the top floor of the double-decker killer on wheels and settled in for what should have been an eight-hour ride.

Naturally, people talked when the bus first started out on the highway, but it all slowly dissipated into reading, listening to music or sleeping. Apparently none of this appealed to the people directly in front me or behind me. Until the bus reached State College, I had to listen to strangers get acquainted with each other and talk about festering blisters from softball, the best ice cream flavors and “like the best like fraht parties at like Penn State-a.”

We finally reached our only rest stop around 10 p.m. at a Pilot gas station in middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania. The bus driver parked and got out, but the bus started to move and all I heard were screams.

The bus rolled into the back of a full gas tanker and all I envisioned was the bus going up in huge, rolling flames and the whole area being destroyed. I immediately freaked out and Rambo-leaped down the aisle to the stairs, suggesting that someone should pop open the emergency windows for a faster escape. We had to wait for the bus driver to get back on the bus to open the door to let us out.

Finally out, I ran inside the gas station, thinking I was still going to explode. I couldn’t call anyone because I left everything I had on the bus, and it wasn’t until I saw the bus driver purchase a disposable camera to take photos of the accident that I felt a pang of relief.

The bus’s whole front windshield had spider web cracks all over it, but we were still herded back on the bus and assured by the driver that he could see out of the windshield just fine. All I could think of was the bus driver speeding along the highway with his head out the window like the scene with Jim Carrey from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” Imagine that.

We rolled into Manhattan at about 1 a.m., at another randomly selected street corner, and I waited for my friend’s arrival.

The moral of the story is, don’t assume people are as courteous as you view  yourself. On that note, I should probably stop eating a can of tuna fish during class. 

THERESA PFISTER

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