Getting out of River City is always fraught. Or, at least, it seems that way lately. I tell myself it's important to remind myself: it's the time of year. Summer travel is a always a little .... more. More crowded. More expensive. More prone to run late.
I decided to cheat on the old grey dog and use Megabus for my run up to Chicago. Yes, I could have taken a bus up to Indy and rode train... except that regional train travel is complicated thanks to the monumental lack of foresight that led to the decommissioning of the Indiana State Hoosier. It would have extended this leg of my trip a bit too long, and I would have had to spend at least one night in the Indiana Depot... an accommodation I've experienced many, many times too many. In order to be an even more particular traveler, I opted for the option. -- at the cost of an additional $2 -- to reserve a specific seat. I chose one on the left side of the bus, next to the window, near the front, on the top level.
That proved to be a complete waste of time. Not only was the bus an hour late, but my seat and the one next to it were taken up by a future seminary student and his prodigious amount of luggage. I wasn't the only one to fall prey the hopeful, false advertising. Two women across the aisle and one row up from me were actually sitting in seats that had been reserved by a young woman and her friend. When the young woman attempted -- politely -- to explain they were sitting in her seats, they were incredibly rude. Sure, they were probably still sore at being bamboozled. But that's no reason to call a fellow sufferer a bitch.
Bus travel isn't my preferred mode, but it gets the job done. Mostly. At least regionally.
So I remind myself the delays are seasonal. Interstates are construction- choked arteries. There are more people on the road, and because we're heading out during rush hour, delay is almost guaranteed. But there's been a steady increase in people moving around the country by bus. Flying can be prohibitively expensive, and trains don't go everywhere people really need them to go.
More people are in motion, for reasons and excuses to numerous to list. No, they're not traveling; at least, not traveling in the sense that I travel. And they're not vacationing in that Sunday Morning retirement IRA commercial sense, either. But people are in motion. Not in control, but still in a damned hurry. And because of this, and because public transit goers tend to see themselves as consumers rather than the consumed, the gentility and etiquette I saw a few years back is wearing off like tired, neglected paint.
But the sunset in Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, is lovely. The colors are autumnal: purples and blues highlighted with splashes of tangerine, splashed across the sky above an endless ocean of green fields waiting for the harvest. And that, more than anything, is why I don't drive.