Texas has been a constant stream of first experiences for me. The very first of these was the journey from Albuquerque to Lubbock, where I was heading to attend Jerod Foster‘s annual workshop (more on this later). I got on a Greyhound bus instead of the plane, and had possibly the best bus journey to date.
I’ve been amused at how jovial the atmosphere is on US domestic flights, but it is nothing compared to the carnival that was my first Greyhound ride. Everyone was talking to everyone, individually and as a group, about anything and everything (and I mean everything). I am continually surprised at how keen many people are to tell a complete stranger their life stories, intimate details and all, despite it happening with remarkable consistency over the course of the last four months. I’ve heard a fair few biographies in my time on the road, but some of the tales throughout that eight hour ride certainly top my list of the most colorful. I expected to finish a book or two in the course of the day-long journey, but that never happened: I got my narrative fix from real people instead.
As a regular bus taker in my former life, I appreciated this long ride mightily. It was a comfortable, pleasant change from flying, and the security rigmarole one has to go through in airports, especially since I had the time to spare. I also got to see a lot more of the country than I would in a plane, and in this case, learn about all the random things passing by because Ted, our driver, was more than happy to ensure this visitor walked away with an appreciation of his life on the road, and how driving a bus really can be a meditation on the human condition.