On the night ride back to Vancouver, I have seven rows to myself. A blue sprawl of polyester and metal foot rests. Space for two duffel bags to air themselves out, take a break. Whole rows to imagine filled with friends. A seat for some books, lazily stacked. My coffee thermos was three rows ahead, that was fun. Leg space for miles. A road party. You should have come.
Leg space was a perk last night. Cramped up next to a boozy dude on a Christmas ride home, or saddled with questions from a suburban retiree doesn’t spoil the Greyhound experience for me. Bus travel is a valuable opportunity that any halfway-busy person should seize as often as possible. It’s brain space. A bus ride is a gulping pause from your day-to-day routine and responsibilities. You have little control of movement on a bus. And nobody expects you to, anyways. So just chill out. Eventually you are in Chilliwack. And then Abbotsford. You get there.
Your diversions are limited on a bus ride. It’s the place and time to return to old pastimes. Slice a chunk out of a neglected novel. Write a letter to a high school friend. Listen to some familiar tunes. Or look out the window. Just look, quiet. It’s nice.
Last night I had leg space. Six hours later, the city appeared and I hustled two duffle bags and an oversized Pottery Barn shopping bag ( with an sternly-angular paper roller to return on my mom’s behalf), off the bus and onto the slick night streets.
I got myself home, cursing that stack of books the whole way there.