In my previous post I mentioned a girl who I sat next to on the way to Medford the second time down. These are my memories from the conversation I had with her (Note: Her=Brittany, going into 5th grade; she seemed very precocious and had cute little freckles and a hair clip.) She took her seat next to me around 7:30 in Corvallis, I think.
Brittany: How long have you been on the bus?
Me: Not too long, but we left pretty early so I’m kinda sleepy.
Brittany: I got up early, too. Usually my dad gets me up early so we can all play more because he works early in the morning.
Me: That’s cool.
Brittany: This is my own purse! (She shows me her purse. It has a cowboy/Southwest theme.)
Me: Awesome! (I’m trying to be nice and excited even though it is probably 7:30 in the morning and I am on 5 hours of sleep)
Brittany: Do you like to draw? I like to draw horses.
Me: That’s cool, I used to like to draw horses.
Brittany: Do you know the five states of matter?
Me: I think I did at one point. Could you remind me?
Brittany: Solids, liquids, gas, plasma, and Bose-Einstein.
Me: Whoa, what’s that last one?
Brittany: I don’t remember. (At that point I wasn’t sure if she was making it up. Later I found out from my friend, an optics graduate student, that it is, in fact, a recently discovered state of matter)
Me: What’s plasma? Like the blood kind?
Brittany: No, like the sun and stuff. Do you like Pokemon? (Nice transition there, don’t you think?)
Me: Um, I don’t really play Pokemon.
Brittany: Want to see the level codes I got? I love Pokemon. I have loved Pokemon since my neighbor gave me this Game Boy Advance. (Nate noted that I probably did not want to know why her neighbor had given her a Game Boy…I think I might agree.)
Me: Uh, sure. (She shows me her little sheet. It is poked into her purse next to a stuffed horse.) Cool.
The trip continued this way, although she was pretty good about letting me nap during a lot of the ride to Medford. She played that Game Boy almost the whole time, even though her mom and grandma sitting in front of us had given her a limit on it. She shared her Starburst with me, so I gave her some PopTart. In the background I would awake to snippets of the Pokemon theme and a woman with a smoker’s voice a few rows back telling her life story to a young man her son’s age. I liked that she was so open about her life experiences.
There was also a guy who I did not hear except when he said, “Happy trails, man” and got off the bus to buy a smoothie at the fruit stand next to the station in Grant’s Pass. He had a scraggly gray beard and wore big bulky headphones and a tie-dyed shirt with jeans and Tevas. That dude rocked, and waved to the bus as we pulled away.
That’s the beauty of the Greyhound. You meet strangers to whom you may or may not divulge your soul–or be the recipient of a soul divulgence–and you share food and the annoyance of riding the Greyhound for twice as long as it would take to get to your actual destination. I might complain about it, but in the end I”m pretty glad I choose to use public transportation like that when I have no other options.