Friday, July 25, 2008

A Mega-Recap

It’s been one week since my brush with the Megabus, and I’m now privy to that world of tiny seating, efficient driving and bizarre road stops that Megabus encapsulates.

After staying up scrubbing the floors in my apartment until 3 AM on Thursday night, I was looking forward to a good minimum four-hour nap on the bus Friday afternoon. J and I rushed over to the random corner in Chicago where Megabus handles pick-ups, where we were met by throngs of the masses, waiting for various bus routes.

“Is this bus going to Minneapolis?” asked one lady.

“No, Indianapolis, then Cincinnati,” responded a random woman, who seemed to be a representative of Megabus and in charge of the pick-ups and drop-offs.

“Then Minneapolis?” asked the lady hopefully.

“Um, no,” said the random woman. Megabus is such a confusing experience that even we proud Americans forget simple geography.

I handed over my printed-out reservation confirmation, and J and I plowed our way through the narrow aisle to snag the last two seats open next to one another.

(We were ten minutes early to our 3:30 bus and it was packed. Later, around 3:35, a girl who I’d like to refer to as “Northwestern Stupid”—ask me to define that for you another time—arrived with her friend. They wandered the aisle, looking surprised that no paired seats were open five minutes AFTER the bus was scheduled to leave and slamming people with their backpacks as they turned and turned.

Finally, they settled their eyes on one 20-something college student who had clearly arrived early, settling in with his laptop, bag and some chem notes arranged neatly over two seats.

“Ummmmm,” said the girl through her nose. “Can you move over there?” she pointed to an open seat next to a woman who clearly had no interest in sharing her space. “My friend and I are traveling together, and there’s an open seat over there.”

Miraculously, this guy moved for these girls. People like this deserve medals...or the seats they originally chose when they arrived on time. Moving on...)

I was disappointed to realize that, despite my pillow, I wouldn’t likely be falling asleep any time soon, and at least not for any long periods of time. I had heard legends of the double-decker Megabus, but we hadn’t been so lucky to land a ride on one of those. The bus was packed tight, and it wasn’t easy to relax, or lean back, or do much else other than ride in a semi-fetal position with my feet resting on my bag and my knees up against my face.

The ride itself was fine, replete with Pride and Prejudice reading, music listening and The Office watching. I might take this opportunity to point out that the albums I listened to (The Beatles, Coldplay, Once) were all UK artists, and I was struck by how much good music that country turns out. It was a British-themed Megabus ride.

When we arrived, John and I to have some extra time downtown in Cincinnati, which could have been really bad if the area was as desolate as it normally is. Instead, a summer music festival was happening in Fountain Square, so we both tried a BL Lime (too lime-y, yet it covered up the tinny taste of Bud Light, soo... kind of a draw) and admired the Square while we waited for my family.

As much as I complained when I lived in Ohio about there not being anything to do there, I have to admit that being in the Square and watching the music was really nice and provided something that busier urban areas don’t have--tranquility. Unlike my experiences in Chicago or New York, where outdoor music and movie nights are jam-packed and the beers are 8 bucks instead of four, this little outdoor concert was relaxing and calm, with space for kids to run freely and people to break out into dance occasionally. It was great.

The rest of the weekend was not so peaceful, with an early Saturday wake-up, a trip to a sketchy warehouse to pick up a Uhaul, and lots and lots of packing. The best part of the weekend was a dip in the pool and a trip with J and family to Dewey’s Pizza. Oh, God—Dewey’s pizza... a miracle upon miracles. MMmmmm Deweeeyyyyss x-pepperonnniiiii pizzzaaaaaaa....

J drove the whole back to Chicago on Sunday, and I cannot thank him enough for it (or all of his other help loading and unloading our truck). We listened to lots of bad music on the Uhaul radio and were forced into conversation (awwkwarrrd!) on the ride back. We also ate Penn Station. Mmmmm... Penn Statioooonnnnnn Clubbbb sandwichhhhhh.

The family stayed a night with me, helping me get stuff together, and slowly, slowly, slowly the apartment comes together. I’ll post pictures, I promise, as soon as I can!

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