What a trip
I recently rode a Greyhound bus from Chico to Phoenix. It was a trip. I took a bus from Saint Paul to Chicago in the late ‘80s and encountered the same kind of motley assortment of poor people. Of course I have no way of knowing they were poor people other than my keen analytic and deductive skills, and they fit the stereotypes in my head.
The drivers were all polite and professional, including the one out of Sacramento who warned a bunch that sat together in the back that there weren’t gonna be any shenanigans this trip. No loud talking, no radios, no cellphone conversations, pretty much nothing audible.
As far as I could tell he picked them out solely on the basis of how they dressed and carried themselves. He was profiling. In his position, I would have expected some hubbub before we got to L.A., also based solely on how they were dressed and carried themselves. They clearly used the same fashion consultant, and I bet they were used to getting special attention. Folks who fly in Muslim garb probably experience the same thing.
Even given the state of corporate paranoia I was still surprised when some guy with a “security” patch on his shirt rifled through our carry-ons before we could board to leave Los Angeles. He put the bags on a little table by the bus door and—maybe because the light was so dim—stuck his hand in each one and felt around inside for God-knows-what.
There were a lot of fat people, mostly women. I just managed to get my arm rest in place before one plopped down next to me. She flowed over anyway, but the steel barrier saved me.
The most popular luggage, as it were, was plastic bags, mostly black yard-waste and white garbage bags and some from low-end retail stores. One dapper young man dressed in white used a clear plastic bag for his stuff. Clear. There were a few roll-along suitcases and a couple of paper bags, too.
I tend to look askance at parents who dress themselves more warmly than they do their child. Several times I found myself wanting to say, “Cover that baby’s head, you ninny!” Not being armed, I didn’t.
Sincerely wishing to avoid the onboard toilet, I opted for dehydration, and for the 19-hour trip I limited myself to two Tin Roof cookies, 12 ounces of water, and a truck-stop sandwich sealed in plastic, which I decided would go down best in the dark. I was right.