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- ► 2010 (46)
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Another Greyhound, Another Nutter
Leaving the Rocky Mountains was like leaving a girlfriend, I was going to miss them but I had to do it if I was going to see some more sights. I was taking the overnight greyhound bus to Vancouver and even though there were only a couple of free seats left some people were still spreading themselves across two seats or were sat in the aisle seat with their bag next to them. This pisses me off. Surely it is common courtesy to leave an empty seat accessible and play the lottery of who is lucky enough to get the double. If I was on a short trip I'd have picked the seat next to the person who was making their spare seat least convenient. As it was a twelve hour ride I decided to be a pacifist and took the one free aisle seat. It was next to a small man (result, more space) who was fetally curled up, gollum style, muttering to himself (hmm... not such a result, we'll see how this pans out).
I christened him Rainman because he spoke like Dustin Hoffman's character in the film, repeating the first part of a sentence at the end of the sentence. 'There should be a sign, I can't see a sign, there should be a sign'. It was hard to tell when he was talking to himself, me or the world in general. He was very jittery, intensely staring out the window and with some sort of sign fetish from what I could work out. Occasionally he calmed down after popping some pills from a little orange bottle, I liked these times as they allowed me to rack up a full eight minutes of sleep.
Come morning, about 4:00am his discomfort escalated. He was leaving Winnipeg for the first time in his life and hadn't quite worked out how the world functions. The idea of the earth spinning was definitely something he hadn't got his head around. He said 'We're three hours behind Winnipeg here, the sun should come up now. We're three hours behind Winnipeg'. 'It comes up at seven thirty there, it should come up at four thirty here, it comes up at seven thirty there'. This was too big a conversation for me to have at this hour in the morning. I figured he'd see the sun come up for himself.
Come 7:00am still with two hours left until Vancouver Rainman became worryingly agitated.
'I can't see the fucking sign, I can't see it, I can't see the fucking sign'. And my particular favourite of his eruptions: 'Fucking look at those road works. They're fucking standing there fucking doing fuck all the fucking fucking fucks' all I could reply was 'yeah, bloody roadworks eh'. Seconds later Rainman leapt up and shoved out past me in to the aisle to try and get a view out of the front window saying for the hundredth time 'I can't see the fucking sign'.
By now everyone on the bus was aware of Rainman and looked to me as if I was his carer. I decided I would try to help and asked him a few questions trying to understand his obsession with seeing the signs. From what I could work out he only had an address on a scrap of paper for a contact in Vancouver, not having traveled much he thought that he would be able to see the street name on a sign and get out there to find the address. He thought that the bus stopped for each individual passenger and when I told him that's not how it works, there were just a few designated stops he looked perplexed. How he had managed to get on the right bus with such a limited knowledge of public transport God only knows.
In a final panic Rainman leapt past me again at the stop before Vancouver downtown thinking it was time to get off. On discovering it wasn't the Vancouver stop the tirade of expletives, well just fuck and fucking repeated over and over, was awkward.
Rainman's final sentence to me before getting off was 'I need a fucking lager, I gotta fucking get off, I need a fucking lager'. I knew how he felt.