I Once Took a Lot of Buses

This post was originally written on April 10, 2012

In a recent two day stretch I spent 14 hours on a Greyhound bus. The first leg was from Cincinnati, OH to Pittsburgh, PA. Then the next day, another bus from Pittsburgh, PA to Philadelphia, PA. In the past year and a half, I’ve taken buses from Youngstown, OH to Austin, TX, and plenty of stops in between. 

In this two day span, I saw people laying on the ground, yelling at one another, kids crying, and lone parents dropping their stuff all over the place.

It’s said that “it’s not the destination, but the journey.” Let me tell you, it’s not just the journey, it’s the journey.

It’s the rush to the bus station to make sure you get your ticket at will-call in time. 

It’s standing in line with people who can’t control their kids. 

It’s riding next to people who’ve been on the bus for 18 hours. 

It’s stopping at a quick-mart, seeing two police cruisers and wondering if they’re going to search the bus.

On the bus to Pittsburgh, PA, I got talking to a kid who was heading to Connecticut. He had 19 more hours to go. And was coming from Arkansas. When I travelled down south to New Orleans, LA, I spoke with people who were riding the bus from Michigan. 

You want to talk “horror stories” from the airport?

Those of us who endure overnight bus rides are warriors. We’re woken up every 2 1/2 hours to de-board at a bus station in a small town you’ve never heard of. We get off the bus and see women in pajamas, sleeping on suitcases with crying babies in their arms. Out front is the smokers lounge, and they’re all covered with bad tattoos and missing teeth. And then there’s the people asking for money.

When does that happen at LAX?

This goes on every single night across America. This happens to the warriors who can’t afford airfare, or don’t own a car. This is America, folks. Land of the broke, home of the grave. Go buy yourself a ticket to a city five hours away and you’ll see what I’ve seen.

I don’t write this to call for change. I don’t even want this cleaned up. I don’t want more security or better customer service.

Most of these photos were taken with an iPhone 4 or a Canon PowerShot S95.