Thursday, May 10, 2012

Most Likely to Have Hillbilly Teeth

Before I begin, let me just start by congratulating my brother Nicholas for being a monster on the track, finishing the 10K with a personal record of 32:01.  After he finished, we were talking and I told him he had a poppy seed stuck in his teeth.  He picked it out, looked at his finger, said "that's a bug," and just carried on like a boss.  When you end up with bugs stuck between your teeth, you know you're running fast.

Just awful.
Alright, so about the Greyhound bus.  I know I throw around the term "the worst" often, but when I use it to describe Greyhound, please know that I do not use this expression lightly.  First of all, it departs from the Port Authority, which is one third of the worst-places-in-New-York trifecta (accompanied by Penn Station and Times Square).  I drank all of the whiskey gingers one night at a bar in the Port Authority with a few of my co-workers and as far as I was concerned, it blew up the next day and I would never see its hideous, Jack-and-shame stained face again.  But alas, Springfield-bound, I begrudgingly returned to this hell hole an hour before my bus was scheduled to depart per the directions on my online order confirmation.  This was unnecessary. Never get to your Greyhound bus more than 20 minutes ahead of time. Save yourself. Protect your sanity.. and your general health.

At our gate, the waiting area was divided into four lines by boarding number (1-10, 11-20, etc).  There were 12 people in the 1-10 line.  Not surprised.  Already mad.  When a Greyhound employee showed up to herd us onto the bus he asked if anyone in line spoke English (??) and then repeatedly asked everyone to check their tickets for their boarding number.  I grew increasingly angry at whichever two idiots in line 1-10 were not getting this.  Oh wait, Greyhound man says, sometimes in order to keep things efficient and affordable our online system ends up assigning repeat boarding numbers.  Uhhhh... how is your shitty ticketing software keeping things efficient and affordable for us?  Ok sure, I didn't think it was possible but I officially hate you more than line 1-10.  Oh wait, two bossy black ladies are on my side and are now telling this jag-off that Greyhound is NOT affordable.  This is true.  This round trip ticket cost me $66.  To go to SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS.  They don't even have a Chili's there.  Ladies, you're my favorites.  If you sit in front of me and recline your seat, I won't be mad.

There is an art to avoiding other human beings while riding public transportation.  My cousin Eddie told me he likes to put his headphones on and turn some abrasive music up super loud so people won't want to sit next to him.  Some people spread their bags across the seat next to them.  Some people bust out food (there is nothing more offensive than a tuna salad sandwich).  But when a bus is sold out, you've just got to hope for the best and plead with your eyes when you see a normal person creeping their way down the aisle, scanning for you, their normal-person soulmate, to sit next to.

I am not a normal person, though, so I usually end up with the crazies.  This time I got a fat lady who sounded like Uncle Frank from Mrs. Doubtfire.  I think she sneezed out a carton of cigarettes.  At one point, given her girth, she didn't have room in her seat for her giant Pepsi, so she shoved it in my seat next to me, thinking I was asleep?  Nope, not happening.  I picked it up, handed it to her, gave her my best grimace, then went back to fake sleeping.

Here are some more terrible things about Greyhound.  If you need to change your ticket, you can't do so over the phone or online (hang on a second.. ok, yeah, just wanted to make sure this was 2012).  You have to physically go to a Greyhound station to change it.  After paying $66 for a service 50x worse than Megabus, I now had to spend 45 minutes navigating the worst automated phone system of all time before pressing "4" for an "emergency" just to speak with a human being the devil's minion who told me that I would have to haul my irritable ass to the Greyhound station in Springfield to pay $15 to change my ticket to a bus three hours later so that I could attend the meet on Sunday with my dad.  For $81, I could have ridden Amtrak with the rest of civilization. Total bullshit.  Also, when my dad dropped me off at the station on Sunday, I walked inside and asked the dispatcher which gate the bus to New York was going to depart from, to which he replied, "Gate 1. And another thing, if you're ever going to ride this bus again, you will not enter from the back door here.  Cars are only allowed in the front of the building to drop off."  I said, "Don't worry.  I'm never riding this bus again."

Before I get to the Bill highlights of the weekend, you should know that there was a ladies' barbershop quartet competition happening in Springfield, and our hotel room (#1115) was next door to the party room.

And finally.. #MyWeekendWithBill:

- My dad picks me up at the bus station and there's a whole pineapple wrapped in a newspaper in the front passenger seat of the car.  "Who needs an air freshener?"  Totally normal.

- I asked him if he'd been following The Voice, which he claims is not as good as American Idol (LIES), and then asked him what he thought of TheRealXtina cutting Jesse Campbell.  For those of you unfamiliar with #TheVoice, Jesse had what should have been a winning combination of a killer voice and unbeatable sob story - his wife left them because he wasn't making enough money and he and his daughter were homeless and had to sleep in his car... Are you crying yet?  No?  How about now?  After singing crushing Beyonce's "Halo" while pictures of his daughter were projected on the stage (obviously I wept), Xtina rudely eliminated him because she wanted a team that had the most potential for growth.  YOU DON'T NEED TO GROW WHEN YOU'RE ALREADY THE BEST.  I can't talk about this anymore, I'm getting angry.  Anyway, I told my dad I thought Ms. Aguilera was high on prescription drugs.  My dad just matter-of-factly responds, "I'm telling you.. Christina Aguilera is a lesbian."

- While my brother was warming up for his race, my dad yelled "I've got my money on the kid in red" and then followed that with "I like it a lot" in his best Lloyd Christmas impersonation:

- He asked me if I remembered seeing the space shuttle launch when I was in high school (we happened to be in Florida at the time).

     Do you ever feel bad that you were video-taping it when it blasted off?
     No... why?
     I don't know, I worry that it distracted from the overall experience for you.  That was so cool seeing the space shuttle lift off.  Do you feel like you missed it because you were holding the camera?
     No.  Where did this come from?
     Just something I think about sometimes.

- He referred to this guy as "Captain Amherst"

Tell me, what's the catch of the day?
- I was wearing an elephant pendant necklace that Kelly gave me for my birthday and my dad asked me if it was a Brooks Brothers emblem.  Sure, because what 23-year-old female isn't a Brooks Brothers label whore?

- After Nick ran, my dad kept asking him if he was going to celebrate that night.  He then kept reiterating that he should only be drinking a light beer to stay in shape for summer training.  We went to dinner that night and my dad - a notorious lightweight - had a beer called Rye on Rye which was 11% alcohol.  He apparently decided light beer was no longer an option for young Nicholas and texted him that he hoped he was drinking the "sweet nectar of the agave plant."  Bear in mind it was Cinco de Mayo.  Then he said, "I wish Devin was here," referring to Nick's bff who went on vacation with our family last summer.  I asked where that came from and he said something to the effect of "Devin gets me" or "Devin would get it" and then just left it at that.

- I had forgotten to bring toothpaste and asked my dad if I could borrow his.

     Dad, can I use some toothpaste?
     You didn't bring your own?
     ... Ok, I'm taking your toothpaste.
     Don't use all of it.
     (Later on)
     Dad, where's the toothpaste?
     Oh my GOD, seriously?
     Oh my GOD, SERIOUSLY?  How much toothpaste do you think I'm going to use?!
     I don't know.  You could use the whole tube on one of your hillbilly teeth.

[ed. note: flabbergasted]

[ed. note: my dad is a dentist. He has a box with a hundred travel-size toothpastes under his sink at home]

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