Warning: This story is gross. Proceed with caution.
Anyone who has taken a cross-country bus trip in Ireland knows that it feels a little like this:
Which can be relatively damaging to the gentle American stomach. I learned that the hard way.
Note: You should probably stock up on motion sickness pills before entering Ireland. They’re less common here than leprechauns.
1. Do not have the nachos for lunch. You might find this a pretty straightforward concept, especially considering the lack of Mexican chefs in Ireland.
2. Take the direct bus. When you are traveling between two (relatively) large Irish cities, there are usually two bus routes. The direct city route, which sticks to the (relatively) large, smooth, straight highways. And the regular route, which stops in every town along the way and uses roads that were built by the aforementioned leprechauns.
3. Avoid Sunday evening buses. All the college kids go home at the weekend, so they all return to Galway and the assorted college towns via bus on Sunday evening. This makes for one very packed bus. Actually many very packed buses.
Well, that fateful day, I chose a seat next to a little old woman who sat munching away on a Subway sandwich. It wasn’t until I was dropping eaves on the phone conversation of the girl in front of me that I realized the multitude of my mistakes. This bus was scheduled to arrive in Galway at least 3 hours later than I’d expected.
When my stomach began to rumble, it was to my great joy and relief that I discovered there was a bathroom on the bus. One of those half-human-sized things that you have to crawl into, but it would do!
I climbed down the stairs to the bathroom and
The five steps it took to get there had apparently been too much for my stomach so I scrambled back and thanked my lucky stars that I was sitting next to a sweet old woman.
When I asked her for her empty sandwich bag in which to…ah…let’s say “store some belongings,” she obliged along with some grandmotherly sympathy.
But when that bus reached the next stop in a tiny town that let off more people than there were buildings, that “sweet” little old lady kindly suggested I move to the front of the bus. For the sake of my stomach, of course, not her own.
Cussing the broad all the way, I lugged my stuff – and my Subway bag of “belongings” – to the front of the bus where I found an empty seat. Unfortunately, the entire population of this godforsaken town was on the move, and I was not going to be able to keep my double seat.
The first suitor was a twenty-something girl. I decided it was only fair to give her advanced warning. One look at my Subway bag and
The next candidate was a teenage boy who sat down next to me in order to be near his friends who were sitting across the aisle.
As you all know, boys are gross, and this one wasn’t phased by my clear plastic Subway bag. He shrugged and said, “I’ll take my chances.” No doubt those friends across the aisle lost their guts…er, I mean, “belongings,” on the streets of Galway on a regular basis.
Regardless, when I feared once more for my “belongings” I scrambled back to the bathroom to spare my neighbors witnessing such an event, hoping that the previous occupant had finished.
Nobody answered my knocks and “Hello?”‘s but that door was locked.
Now, I don’t have a great track record with doors, locks and/or keys, so I crawled back to my seat and asked my seatmate (in the best impression of a hot girl that I could muster in my current state) if he could try to open it.
So much for the luck of the Irish.
So I went to my last resort: the bus driver. His face said:
But his mouth said: “It’s locked.”
No shit, Sherlock. Did he have a key?
By this time the front row was listening so I abandoned the bathroom plan and stumbled back to my seat in shame. I must have looked fairly pathetic as my seatmate’s friend leaned across the aisle to say,
“Do you want a cookie?”
Yeah, you know what, Einstein? Let’s stuff one more “belonging” down there for me to lose at the next bend in the road!
It was dark by this point and I hunched against the cool window to “store my belongings” in the shadows as quietly as I could. That didn’t stop the people nearby asking “Are you okay?” every so often.
“I’m not drunk!” I repeated again and again to anyone within hearing distance. “I’m not hungover!” The words rolled from the depths of my soul, desperate, for some unknown reason, to be thought respectable at this – my lowest point in life. “I swear! I haven’t been drinking!”
When my seatmate tapped me on the shoulder, I only just avoided releasing a string of cuss words in his direction before he squeaked out:
“It’s the 15-mintue stop. There’s a bathroom in the rest stop.”
I propped my phone up on the back of the toilet to keep track of the time as I “stored” more belongings in that bathroom than I knew I had.
With 60 seconds to spare, I scrambled back to the bus and slid into my seat with my Subway bag, having no alternative receptacle. My seatmate asked,
“Do you have someone to make you soup when we get back to Galway?”
Whether an attempt at flirting or simply unable to speak of anything but food, this boy was ignored as I curled into the fetal position and daydreamed my way back to Galway.
So what’s the moral here?
Always take Dramamine? Find a friend with a car? Never leave home again? Don’t eat Mexican food in Ireland? You can take away whatever lesson you must from this tale, but my lesson was this:
For the love of everything God stands for, do not confuse the indirect bus for the direct!