I board the bus; It’s fairly new. It’s only half-filled.

As I make the way down the aisle, a rather disheveled man tells me I can’t sit next to him because he has “Hepatitis C of the right leg.” “No problem,” I tell him. I wasn’t planning on sitting next to his stinky ass anyway. Throughout the bus ride he carries on an ongoing monologue with himself. I overhear him explain why he wants to live in Reno, “Cheap rent, cheap food, and they serve drinks all day and night.” I can think of other reasons to live in Reno, but decide against engaging him in conversation. At one point, he says he still wishes he was in prison, “They feed you, they dress you, and you get to go for a walk every day.” Godspeed fellow traveller–may all your dreams come true.

I take my seat and wait for the other passenger to board. In comes a perky, middle-aged blonde with a ponytail. She is wearing earphones and even though she’s several seats in front of me, I can hear she’s listening to country-western music. She bounces down the aisle and stops next to a woman sitting in a window seat. She points to the aisle seat. “Is this seat open?” The other woman nods.

Perky Blonde: Do you like country music?
Woman: No habla ingles.
Perky Blonde: Good! Me too!

She takes the seat, head nodding to the music, which she continues to do pretty much the entire trip. The last people to arrive are an elderly couple. They sit behind me. They’re quiet for a time, but once we leave Oakland, they begin a low, mumbling argument. As the bus ride continues, they grow louder and angrier with each other.

Him: You stupid.
Her: Your ignorant.
Him: You stupid.
Her: You stupid ‘cuz you ignorant.
Him: You shut up, bitch.
Her: Fug you, ol’ man.

I can’t tell what their relationship but it’s apparent they are very drunk. Even though I don’t see them drinking anything, they seem to get drunker and louder.

Him: mmurgle murph shenow bish.
Her: i’m gowa cu’ yur ash up.
Him: u ayn doin shi mufuger bish.
Her: harubl rawtus farzzle cogsuger.

They become more angry and less coherent.

Him: shup bish. shup bish. shup bish. shup bish. shup bish. shup bish.
Her: fugoo. fugoo. fugoo. fugoo.

Who's Afraid Of Virginia WoolfI realize this is the Greyhound version of “Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf.” And like that movie, their interactions are terrifying to watch. Not just to me, but to the entire bus. At the summit, the woman goes all toxo. She stands up, falls into the aisle, and lurches her way towards the driver, screaming:

Her: STOB DIS BUS! DRIVAH! STOB DIS BUS. you loss. you gonn kill us all. you loss. fug all deez oder pipul. dey all bline, no won no de drivahz ded. STOB! STOB!

The bus driver threatens to stop the bus and call the CHP. The passengers groan; we all know this will add two hours to the trip. The perky blonde gets up and kindly leads the still screaming woman back to her seat.

Perky Blonde: There you go, honey. Don’t worry. I take this bus all the time. We’re not lost.
Perky Blonde: Okay! Thank you!

The couple seems to grow tired and start to fall asleep/pass out. The rest of the ride they continue to mumble angrily. When we pull into Circus Circus, they stand up to leave. He lurches into the aisle and falls on his ass. His glazed eyes look bemused as he tries to figure out where he’s at, what’s he doing on the floor. I help him up. He says, “thang you, verrr mush,” and exits the bus with his companion. He falls to the sidewalk as soon as he’s outside.

Perky Blonde: Oh, that’s a shame.
Another Drunk Guy: der naw shpozed to led you awn ef ur drung.

The driver closes the doors and drives to the terminal. He says to me, “Someone should write a story about those two.” Guess what, driver? I did!