Three weeks ago I was at a Roseburg service station waiting for a Greyhound bus. I had purchased my ticket several hours earlier, but the bus was running late – so I was told by the worker who was frantically trying to wait on everyone. He had us stand in two lines – those who were purchasing tickets for Greyhound and those who were patrons of the convenient store.
Fortunately for him there was another employee working the pumps. Whoever had been assigned to be in the store with him had called in sick, had been fired, or quit without notice. I guess he handled himself rather well. Poor guy couldn’t wait until ten when he’d finally be able to turn off the lights and call it a night.
There were probably about 15 people or so waiting for the bus going to Portland. The man who had sold us our tickets said that the rumor was that the bus driver had had a nervous breakdown and had decided to walk out on whatever passengers happened to be on his bus. I looked at it as kind of a good thing – after all I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a bus with a driver who was having a nervous breakdown.
The time stamped on my ticket said June 5th @ 5:58 pm. I was told the bus would be 4-5 hours late. Fortunately I had brought with me a book that Tony and Rochelle had given me for my birthday just the week before. I had plenty of time to finish it. Fortunately for me, I also had light.
Most of the passengers had moved to one side of the building where they enjoyed their smokes – I don’t know how many or if they were all smoking. I was waiting on the opposite side and so was a guy named Jake Wood (real name) In between reading, we talked for a bit. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Jake lived in a different part of Roseburg (or so I had assumed) and had taken a taxi to the station and had purchased a ticket as far as Eugene. He had planned to see a concert in Eugene with some of his buddies – and as the clock made its way around, Jake would say that there would still be time to see the second act if the bus would come right now. Soon the concert was over, but he could still hang with his friends. After 11:00 he decided to call it a night and announced that he decided just to walk home and shook my hand and excused himself.
I had seen other potential passengers come and go throughout the night. There had been some fair or carnival going on across the street. But it had even shut down by the time a bus pulled in at 12:20. It was going to Los Angeles. I had to wait another 2 hours and 10 minutes before the one to Portland finally showed. I felt rather blessed that I had noticed it at all. It had pulled up to the side where the smokers had been waiting. I guess that’s why they had been waiting there. Somebody in the group knew that it came on the side.
So I boarded the bus at 2:30 Saturday morning. According to my ticket I’d be arriving in Salt Lake that same night. I asked the driver about correcting the dates and times which he assured me I could do once I arrived in Portland. Nobody else was there to catch the bus. I wondered how long after Jake left had I been by myself – well, maybe not totally. There was another man asleep on the benches when I left. He said he was waiting for the store to open.
The bus was nice. The seats were comfortable. Most of the passengers were asleep. It was about 4:30 when the sun started to peek in the sky. It was almost 8:00 when we pulled into Portland.
I took my tickets to the counter to have a new agenda issued with the correct dates and times. I was told I’d have another four hour wait. At least the Portland station was nice. It was an actual bus terminal. I ventured outside and walked around the area – but not too far. I did want something to eat, but my sense of direction is not that keen. Plus my backpack felt like it weighed 80 pounds. I should have not brought the amount of stuff that I did.
I called Beth to tell her I’d be in Portland until noon. She felt bad that I hadn’t called sooner. I didn’t know. Until after I arrived, I had no idea how long I would be.
I wish the bus I had ridden from Roseburg was the same one that would take me to Salt Lake. It was actually going from Portland to Denver. Its outward appearance didn’t seem different from any other bus, but the interior was definitely smaller. Even a person with anorexia would not be able to walk down the aisle without touching the two aisle seats. Not a sweet deal for anyone even slightly overweight. I can guarantee you that. It was awful. It was worse than waiting 8 ½ hours at a service station in an unfamiliar city.
I did not get back to Salt Lake until after 6:30 Sunday morning (keep in mind that Denise had dropped me off at the station on a Friday when there was still enough light in the sky to get her to Newport) and Roland and Jenna met me there and took me home – where I slept for about four hours before getting ready for church (one of the few times when the 1:00 – 4:00 block is not so bad)
I thought it would be my last day at that ward, and got up to express my good-byes. I thought I’d be going to a family reunion the following week. But that’s also for another post.