Oh Greyhound busses. You’re a guarantee of going away to school, much like awkward frosh week friendships and believing for a long time that beer cans make for great interior decorating.
I took a Greyhound a few days ago. It was an overnight bus to get me back into North Bay, and it was long. Long but not awful. At least not as awful as most of my bussing experiences.
There’s a weird fun of the bus that you don’t get with other modes of transportation. It’s a game called “Pick A Bus Buddy,” which boils down to getting on the bus and deciding which stranger looks least likely to smell your hair while you’re sleeping. Sadly, you can’t go back either. If you’re walking down the aisle hoping for something great at the end, then you’re most likely out of luck. There’s no awkwardly turning around and going back to that decent seat. You’re stuck.
Once I was on a bus heading from Ottawa (where I had just spent a weekend going to concerts and discovering what a Four Loko is and how it can single-handedly destroy your insides) to Cambridge. I had a bus buddy who was probably the best bus buddy I could hope for: a fellow student. I didn’t know her, but she seemed nice.
As you may know, people fall asleep on busses. My bus buddy was no exception. About an hour into our trip, she began nodding off.
The issue was she was nodding off towards me.
Yes, her head kept lilting off to the side. My side. Which left me with one of two options:
- Let her fall asleep gracefully on my shoulder, like some white knight of public transit. It’d potentially be awkward for both of us, but whatever. We’re tired students.
- Wake her up before she hits my shoulder. While that would be weird and make me seem rude, it would spare the embarrassment.
While I was mulling over my options, a third option came up. She fell asleep quickly and all at once, like people apparently fall in love in John Green novels. And when she did, I reacted by moving out of the way.
As I dodged her incoming upper body, she kept falling down. Down until she came to an abrupt stop with her head hitting my upper thigh. Obviously she woke up, and was confused.
Now I’m in a more awkward space. This strangers head has just hit my leg, and she’s staring at me because well, that’s not something that most people have happen on busses.
I’m at an important cross road, because I need to say something to make the situation less awkward. I could have gone with “Are you okay?” or “I’m sorry,” both great potential answers. Since it is me though, I didn’t. Instead, I simply said:
Which when you look at it, is in the top five creepy/awkward things to say in that situation. It haunts me to this day.
So there it is. My most awkward moment happened on a Greyhound bus. I’m so thankful she got off at the next stop because any more sitting next to her and I’m fairly certain I would have combusted from pure strangeness. I’m reminded of that moment every time I board a Greyhound bus.
I think I need to buy a car.