I am currently on my second bus of the day, heading towards DC. This bus is spacious and un-crowded, and I have my stuff spread around me and room to stretch my legs. Oh, but this was not the case with the first bus.
Now, I do not consider myself a bus pansy. And by this I mean that while I like a luxury bus, I have ridden some pretty uncomfortable/unhygienic/dangerous buses in my day. Mostly in Peru.
(Also some very nice buses, with wait-staff and music. Also in Peru. )
So buying two bus tickets from a cheapo company, and riding from Atlanta to Charlotte and Charlotte to DC, with a total time of about 14 hours seemed like a perfectly legitimate plan.
Isn’t that how all stories start?
I got on the bus in Atlanta and was excited to see everyone would be getting his or her own row. Then, at the last minute, someone boarded....
He hovered a bit and then this THREE HUNDRED POUND GENTLEMAN decided to sit by me.
He struggled to put the seat handle down and finally gave up and just forced his way into the seat.
I had to laugh to myself – I mean, of course this would happen to me.
But then I realized I couldn’t move my legs and was nearly squashed into the window.
I stopped laughing.
For those who don’t know, I am pretty claustrophobic. I can’t go caving, and I hate crawling under beds. I would have been taken way earlier in that scene in Taken.
All the sudden I realized I was completely trapped and would be for the next four hours and I started to panic – my breathing became fast and I felt super hot.
Tears started pouring down my face.
I quickly put in my ipod and turned on a favorite song to distract and calm myself.
The poor man beside me probably thought I really hated him. (It was nothing personal, man!)
I knew I had to pull myself together before a full blown claustrophobic-white-girl goes-bat-poop- crazy attack was to happen.
Me: Come on Mary Ellen, you’ve got this. You’ve been more crammed on buses and subways before. Oh, your right leg is hurting and you can’t move it? No, you don’t have a right leg! Forget about it. In fact you are only a torso. Now see, you have a lot of room that way!
That wasn’t working too well though.
Me: Ok, well you want to live a life of adventure. What if you have to hide from terrorists in the jungle by crawling inside a small hole? And you can’t move because they would hear you? And it is hot and humid and there are bugs? Think about that. Now think about this as training for that – and you even get an ipod!
For the rest of the bus ride I was in training to overcome claustrophobia and learn to hide from terrorists.
But no sort of training prepared me for what happened next – as we were all suddenly witness to an exorcism.
(Coming in part 2!)