Sunday, January 29, 2006

The misadventures of 009

Why I torture myself like this, no one knows..

I could simply have driven to Orlando, met the boyz for dinner and come home; but of course no, there had to be drama!

Not wanting to drive that distance alone (97 miles each way) and come home alone in the middle of the night, I chose to ask two friends to accompany me to Orlando. One always wants to drive, so I said "fine, you drive", and off we went! My friends would go to a club, and meet me later at the Radisson.

On the way to Orlando, staying overnight became the topic of discussion. Both friends thought we should stay overnite and go to brunch Sunday morning. I said "no, impossible I won't leave the dogs alone that long; I'll return home by Greyhound." They were not amused, but I won the discussion and it was decided that my first stop would be Greyhound; to check out schedules, and purchase my ticket home. I got out of the car, my friends (not at all amused) went "on the town."


It's now 5:30 PM and I'm happy that there is a bus leaving Orlando at 1:15 AM. This will give me time with the boys (who by the way are in their early 40's), and I'll at least get home before morning!


I purchased my ticket, called and was picked up for dinner (a lovingly sentimental time) ........ I knew they had two golf T-times for Sunday, so as reluctant as I was to leave them, I had them drive me back to Greyhound by 8:30 PM, knowing I would see them again in April.


First of all, I was over-dressed.... Imported Italian knit mock turtleneck jersey in a diamond pattern (black on black), Black wool slax, black Cole Hahn slip on's, and a black Bolle zip up jacket.....

Secondly, I was over-jewelled.... 1.20 carat emerald with .80 carat channel set diamonds on either side....

Third.... I was carrying way too much $$$$ and credit cards.

People were staring. I thought I had entered the "twilight zone" of Ghettos (white, black, mexican and anything in between). I hadn't taken much note of the people earlier.... This time, I had 4 hours and 30 minutes to kill "or be killed" so I took note of my fellow passengers.

I walked out the door to stand out front and one of the three security guards cautioned " don't go across the street to the gas station/quick serve; there are bad people (?) hanging around there, and you might get mugged." I assured him that I was only going out the door to smoke and would be fine, and his response was "you should be fine as long as you don't walk too far from the front door in any direction."

I turned the ring around with the stones facing the inside of my hand, making it look like a wedding band and out the door I went. There were several people smoking outside and I felt relatively safe, but a closer look further up the road, I could see people lurking in dark corners. I wasn't going further than 20 feet in any direction, and kept my word the 30-plus times I went outside to smoke.

Outside, I lent my cell phone out five times.... one guy called his ex wife in Tennessee, another called his mother to let her know he had just gotten out of jail and was returning home (he called three times), and the third was a beat up HO who was running away from her pimp! She called him, told him she missed him and to come get her.

Inside the terminal, I kept repeating to myself "do not fall asleep, do not fall asleep"; so I ate and ate some more. I had just returned from dinner but I ate to stay awake. I ate a slice of pizza, I ate a meatball sandwich, I ate a bag of chips, I ate a bag of peanuts, I ate an ice cream sandwich and a second bag of chips...... followed by two gigantic cups of coffee and two bottles of orange soda; which kept me going to the men's room every 15 minutes or so.

People who ride Greyhound do so for a variety of reasons; tonite poverty seemed to be the in the forefront. Instead of luggage, it seems that travelling with green garbage bags was the must have Greyhound travel accessory; with plastic flip-flops being the "in" fashion accessory. Missing teeth, (especially front teeth) was the overall "in" look. Most were travelling to Tennessee, Georgia or the Florida panhandle....... I was not fitting in very well.

Peoplewere staring, my discomfort was obvious and I was eventually "adopted" by a wonderful black family travelling to Tampa. A brother and sister (in their 20's)originally from Tampa along with her boyfriend and their 2 year old daughter. They were friendly, kind, polite.

At 1:15 AM we finally boarded the bus to Tampa and as I was taking my seat, the most ungodly smell permeated throughout, giving me an immediate headache. The Mexican woman sitting across from me was changing the diaper of her 2-3 year old daughter..... why the fuck she couldn't have done this in the ladies room before departure, I'll never know. Maybe she was just trying to kill me.

I could hear my new friends laughing and they motioned me to a seat by them towards the back of the bus; and off we went to Tampa........ where we arrived at 3:00 AM giving me another 3 hour wait for my transfer to Clearwater........ another terminal in a not very nice part of town. This time, the security guard kept the doors locked and we had to ask permission to go out to smoke, and only as a group........ safety in numbers.

A three hour wait for a half hour drive......... arriving in Clearwater at 6:30 AM with another hour wait for the bus downtown. Enough already, I called a cab.

I arrived home at 7:00 AM. I had left food for the dogs..... it was untouched. A friend had walked them the previous evening. Daisy had dragged some of my clothes into the living room and had made a bed. She was sleeping so soundly, she never heard me come in. I had to call her name to wake her up........ Muggs was in the bedroom sleeping on my pillow.

Home at last! "Daisy, come give daddy a kiss!"

NOTE: This was written as a travel experience I was totally unprepared for. Those readers who know me will understand that this is not a mockery of the poverty we encounter in our daily lives. DJM~


Hypoxic said...

A really great description of a not so great experience!

Been through more than a couple Greyhound bus stations - mainly in my early military career. They are almost always in the less desireable part of town - but back then, at least they were relatively safe.

That is not a trip that I would want to have made. Glad you finally made it back home safely.

BostonPobble said...

I am laughing my butt off. You poor thing! Glad you made it safe.

sjobs said...

I think I would have curled up at the first place and just died or shit my pants....

I am so happy to hear that you made it safely back to your home.

Personally, I think I would have cried the entire way.


ConnieJane said...

OMG! My sister had a VERY similar experience on that very same bus route while visiting for Christmas.

A high school friend just moved to Orlando and she decided to pop over for a couple of days for a visit. To save me two round trips driving her and $$$ on a rental car... well, her exact words to me were, "It's only to Orlando, how bad can it be?" HA, she found out exactly what you did my friend!

The real sad news is, I WAS IN ORLANDO ON SATURDAY! You could have ridden home with me!

Glad you both lived to tell about it!

Blogzie said...

1.We both share a love of Cole Haan. But I find they tend to run a bit small. I now go up ½ a size when I buy them and life is good.
2.Will you leave me your jewels? No, seriously, will you leave me your jewels?
3.Oh Honey, never ever ride “The Dog” as a biker pal from many years ago used to refer to Greyhound.
4.You may need new friends. This was an important night for you. They could have found something to occupy their time while you were at dinner and then driven you home at a decent hour. However, they may be very good friends, so perhaps I shouldn’t comment on that.
5.When I read “Daisy, come give daddy a kiss!" I thought it said, Blogzie, come give daddy a kiss!" and I got all excited.
6.Have you recovered yet?


jmadison77 said...

I have been that route too, except my rides have started in Virginia...I much prefer the Orlando station to the Jacksonville one, which I got stuck in for five hours because of missing my bus because the guy who called out the schedule probably knew about 3 words of English. 2am to 5 am is really not the best time to be in a bus station. I feel your pain...

sttropezbutler said...

Mr. 009 that was quite the weekend!

Tis the side of life none of us want to visit and most of us don't.

Glad you are home.

Next time call ConnieJane!




YOU man NOT travel again, EVER!

And I'm not kiddin.


nancy =) said...

oh gawd that's some scary shit...

glad you're home safe...but i'm with're grounded, and don't you ever do that again, young man!!


Ruben said...

I know that it was a bad experience but at least you got a great post out of it.

leone said...

Now that is rather hilarious - and I thought these things could only happen to me! It's the kind of thing I never tell anymore as my friends think it's so unreal to be untrue - but as we both know - it certainly happens to some people - ha ha!!