Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Greyhound - We're...On Our Way? Eventually?

Ok, so, the Greyhound.

I live about a 15-minute walk from the Greyhound, and I usually leave the house at 9:45 to get there by 10 to catch the 10:25 bus, because you're supposed to do that and travel stresses me out and so I like to do things the way there supposed to be done, as though that would lessen some of the stress. So, a number of weeks ago I get to the Greyhound station just before 10, buy my ticket, and settle in to read my book and eat my snacks and wait my half-hour. An hour goes by. A handful of people drift in between 10:25 and 11, when the bus actually shows up.

'Uh, sorry folks,' says the mild-mannered if mildly-dull Greyhound driver. 'I only have room for 11 people.' I rapidly counted heads in front of me, and phew, I'm #11, and sucks to everyone behind me but thems the breaks. Except that he'd miscounted the empty seats, and only had room for 9 people. So sucks to me.

Those of us not lucky enough to board the bus sulk back into the station, and it's only a minute or two before we realize that these are all the faces we'd exchanged courteous smiles with over an hour ago, when we'd bought our tickets. All the johnny-come-lately's, the 10:25-11 drifters who, had the bus been on time, would have missed it entirely - these are the people who grunted and elbowed their way to the front of the line and down to Vancouver. What douches.

And to make matters worse, the next bus isn't until 1:00, and to make matters worse, the lady at the counter is still selling tickets into Vancouver, which means that, should the 1:00 bus be anything but empty, we might miss our boat again. So a dozen or so seniors and I storm the front counter and rant and rail and shake our canes, and the lady phones the Greyhound Big Dogs to tell them that she has a bunch of angry people at her counter.

So they cab us into Vancouver. Which is nice of them, but I still don't get into Burnaby until around 3:00, when I should have been there at 1:00.

One week later, I am again at the Greyhound just before 10:00, waiting in line, buying a ticket, sitting down with my book and snacks. The station is eerily quiet, and I make casual mention of this to the ticket lady.

'Oh yes,' she says, 'the 9:00 bus just came five minutes before you got here, and took everyone.'

Well, rats. So I'm sitting and I'm waiting and I'm snacking and I'm reading, and then I overhear her say quietly into the phone:

'Ok, well, I'm just going to deal with the people in line and then I'll tell them.'

So I check my watch and it's nearly 11:00, so I head to the counter and ask the lady if she's heard from the bus, which is rude because there's still a line-up of people, but I'm a little angry because I know she has and isn't telling us just yet. The bus is stuck out in Hope, the roads are blocked, Chilliwack has no buses to spare, they're not sure when it'll be through, we all just have to wait.

I know, I could go home now, but it's uphill all the way, and then I'd miss the bus for sure, and I have to go to Burnaby because Gillian's shower is that evening, so I hunker down to wait, and the bus finally breaks through and shows up at around noon. I get to Burnaby at around 3:00.

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally managed to beat the Greyhound at their own game, except not really. I always catch the 10:25 bus because I like to go to the gym on Friday mornings, and 9:45 is the earliest I can conceivably finish gymming and showering and packing so I can leave the house on time. Last Friday, however, I managed to catch the 9:00 bus.

Except that I caught it at 10:15!!! I have no idea when the 10:25 bus came (my guess is...about now), but the 9:00 bus was so tardy that I was able to cool my heels for a quarter of an hour, and then climb aboard. Take that, Greyhound. Your inexpressibly bad service moved my arrival up by 10 minutes!

So...about learning to drive...

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