Sunday, October 21, 2012

13 Feet, Zero Inches

After a series of unfortunate events, I made it to Milwaukee. Let's recap the last twenty-four hours, so you can fully appreciate or at least understand my experience.

I spent most of Saturday morning relaxing at my friend's apartment while she studied at her school's library. Since my bus was scheduled to leave at three in the afternoon, I did not feel the need to be a busybody. I made the assumption that the bus would be half-full, just like the other trips I had taken thus far. I was packed and ready to go just before two and headed out the door to meet my friend. By the time I reached her, I was hankering for a bite to eat. Though the bus ride was a two-hour journey, I decided to grab a sandwich from the nearby Subway. Remember this tidbit.

My friend and I get to the Chicago pick-up location, near Union Station and see a rather long line. I questioned two individuals as to whether or not this line is heading to Milwaukee. Both times I received a simple, "No". I wasn't too worried because I was confident I was at the right location, so we waited. Three o'clock rolls around and the Megabus finally arrives. By that time, my friend left to continue her studying. That long line of standbys quickly inched toward the bus. It seemed as if everyone and their mother had a piece of luggage or two. I had to wait in that line to ensure my roll-away was placed in the designated area for the "Milwaukee" destination. Luckily, I had chatted with a Milwaukee guy beforehand and he offered to save me a seat. I was relieved because it appeared as though the bus might be full.

I got on the bus, found that Milwaukee guy and took my seat. He chose the front-most seat on the upper-level of the deck bus. Remember this tidbit as well.

Sometimes, Most of the time, I am an inquisitive person who likes to learn about people. I think people are fascinating. Traveling offers me the opportunity to meet random people, engage in conversation, ask questions and in the very least pass time. Well, this Milwaukee guy was more than curious. After some small talk, we introduced ourselves (Hey Nic!). Our "small talk" morphed into exchanges about faith, spirituality, my attempt to take over the world, the use of sarcasm, Milwaukee, active listening versus questioning. Nic was awesome because he likes to learn about people. It was a little surreal for me because I am usually the spitfire who has a plethora of questions but he was very engaged.

Now, Nic is from Milwaukee and was feeling a bit antsy to head home to meet with a friend. He recognized something that neither of us would have realized if we were sitting on the lower level. Nic realized that the bus driver was going the wrong way. We left Chicago twenty minutes late, and now we were heading back to Chicago. No bueno.

Our Megabus vs. The Clearing

Up close and personal and "indefinitely" delayed
The bus driver admitted his mistake and re-routed the trip to get the bus back on the right exit. I felt bad for the bus driver because it was a little embarrassing. Unfortunately, it was one of two times that same mistake occurred. The second attempt at leaving the Chicago area was an epic fail and I have the pictures to prove it. By this point, most of the passengers had no faith in the driver. Our bus was stopped several feet in front a overpass that was clearly marked "13' 0". The Megabus needs a clearing of thirteen feet and two inches. Seriously, two inches. I said a prayer or three because I just wanted to get to Milwaukee safely.

After the bus driver called the local police, they were able to direct the thirteen-car-pile-up and then the bus driver reversed the bus and backed out of a rather narrow street. It was 4:30.

Thankfully, Nic and I had a set of really interesting conversations that kept us preoccupied for the remainder of the trip. We eventually arrived in Milwaukee, just two hours after the scheduled time. I will give the bus driver some credit in that he kept his cool. Sure, patience is a virtue but if you don't know where you are going, ASK!

All in all, it was an interesting series of events. I got to Milwaukee intact with my two pieces of luggage. And I made a new friend.

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