Every Day is an Adventure – 2010

On a dully lit December morning I stepped out into the world with my suitcase wheeling behind, and my money in hand. A ticket in my back pocket expected the occasional hand tap to reassure myself it was still there. I mean, these things happen and I don’t have very good luck. We can chalk it up to bad timing or bad karma. Either way, I’m living everyday with a little extra caution. Opening the trunk I remember the free tv I’d stuck in the back. Too lazy to bring up with me last night but not cold enough out to worry. I shut the trunk with a sigh and dig through my purse for my keys. A chingling sound catches my ear and I dive my hand straight down. After opening the back door and placing my suitcase on the burgundy seat, I slide myself into the passengers side and yell to my Mom to hurry up. She closes the door, buckles herself in and places they key into the ignition. With a rumble the Buick Regal starts and we sit there in cold, December silence while the car warms up.  7:58 and she puts the car into reverse. Driving around in circles leaves us with only one option, a parking spot somewhere in the back. I lug my suitcase from out of the back seat and it falls on the ground. Lifting up the handle, I wheel it to the curb and grunt as I lift it up. My mom laughs at me and opens the glass doors. I walk past her into the white building, I assume it’s supposed to be blinding but the build up of dirt on the walls leaves a grey tinge for my eyes to rest on. So we sit down on the red plastic chairs that are all connected to each other. Greyhound would not want anyone to put a chair out of place. The place is pretty empty and a few people walk past with suitcases and a few people walk past without suitcases – go figure.  But we just sit and wait.
Chilliwack’s never been that good for people watching, so we pass the time with simple conversation.  Making jokes about the awful service and the woman waiting seemingly patient for some help. A small rectangle and a dirty counter separate the worker from the customer. I looked away while she bought her edible product, the distraction of the “If You Make a Mess: Let Us Know!” sign was overwhelming. I laughed, but I soon forgot the humor. With the creaking sound of the swinging door, an employee stepped out of the boxed surrounding. She was wearing a long-sleeved grey Greyhound shirt. I wondered if the simultaneous grey was just a coincidence. Perhaps they should have gone with blue. The words in red, and the dog in white; that would have been more typical. Walking through the roped line up that I doubt ever sees more than one person at a time but is designed  for a mad rush, she places her bottle of water on the counter. The man laughs “now that’s a huge bottle of water!” My eyes move down to see it’s a half sized bottle of water, oh I get the joke. Wait, what joke? A gust of cold wind takes my mind away from the water and a cute girl walks in; I like her boots. Four seats away from us she sits down. Removing her (what seems to be) three coats she gets up leaving her stuff on the chair and walks to the box. Tight pants and a grey sweater vest over a white shirt she gets a double take from a gentleman on the chairs in front of us. We smile at this and watch her sit back down. Moments later she removes her cell phone and dials. Out of no where a raspy French voice drowned in the sound of a dying camel startles me and I jolt up. Turning our heads to the right we realize it’s her. The seemingly quick phone call turns out to be a detailed conversation; nothing is ever what it seems and I assumed detailed as she had a lot of French things to say. My Mom leans her head into me and says rather loudly, “she’s not so cute anymore”. I laugh, nod and defiantly agree. I’m about to be rude but an elderly gentleman walks in.
He’s wearing a sport jacket and velvet-looking pants. His grey hair is pushed back and his shaven face bears no expression. A solemn ignorance and a white tee shirt explain nothing so we watch him wander. Walking up to the vending machines he checks for change but of course is disappointed – I assume as neither of the vending machines leaves him with cents. He left foot trails slightly behind him unnoticeable but blatantly obvious to me. He walks up to the phone booths, one after the other he checks for change. I’m not sure what he’s really hoping to find because it can’t just be a few quarters.  He drags his feet to the second set of doors and with a push he leaves. We sit there contemplating the occurring events as we continue to wait. Moments pass and another gust of wind tingled against my bare neck. Nonchalantly I look over to find the same man returning with a plastic bag. He steps over to the first garbage can and leans over. I watch him with my head turned around, I don’t worry that he will see me; I don’t think he will care. He reaches his hand in and starts pulling out empty bottles of Vitamin Water, Cola, and Sprite. He walks past the phone booths and checks for change again. Slumping over to the second garbage can he pulls out more empty bottles almost filling his Superstore grocery bag. He leaves out the first door and I look over to see my Mom watching him too, “well that’s a senior with a shitty pension plan.”
A boarding call is made and we make our way to the exit, pushing the door open with a grunt and a “oh sorry, Al” we walk over the last gate. I don’t know why they call it a gate, it’s a cement slot the bus drives into. The door is open but we wait for the driver. My Mom hugs me and kisses me on the cheek, I smile and say, “I miss you already.” The bus driver walks up to us with his yellow safety jacket and we confirm his destination. My Mom wishes him a safe journey and warns him of the idiots on the road. He smiles and says, “there are no idiots, it’s just the guys who fall asleep at the wheel.” He winks and loads my suitcase into the under carriage of the bus. I second guess the trust I have in this driver and wonder if he realizes what he just said to the mother of a traveling child. Neither us thought it was funny but my Mom laughs, “well, if anything happens to you we can just sue Gre

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