Thursday, September 16, 2010

Murphy's Law Part 1. - Ohio Bus Trip

You know those moments in life where you say "I can't believe this is happening right now!"? Well, if you know me, then you are well aware that when they happen to me, the more common reaction is "hahaha, of course this happened!"

Now, I'm not saying that I am unlucky or accident prone (although I am a bit, perhaps), but I certainly have had my fair share of occurances that make me say "really?" Some are caused by blatant wrong choices, some by minor missteps and others are just fate. They tend to occur when I am either on my way somewhere important, or when I have left myself very little time for errors.

When I was about 19, I was about halfway through college and on a weekend near the end of one semester, I decided to go down to Cleveland for Clevelandfest. Now, I was between cars and although both of my parents loved me very much, they had no desire to loan me their car to drive to Cleveland. So I decided to take a ride on the Greyhound. Luckily, I was able to convince my good friend Ben to come along for the trip. We got up super early in the morning, loaded up with coffee and caught the 6:30am bus (the 6am bus met up with the same connection bus, so we opted for the extra sleep (mistake #1)). Off we headed towards Buffalo (connection city from Toronto) and all appeared well. When we got to about St. Catherines the highway was closed and as a result, we headed off on a detour. Now, you trust your bus driver to know the way around so you don't really question it when you end up on curvy residential roads and start feeling like you are getting a bit far from the highway and start feeling that maybe soon the road will get narrower and become a dirt path and you'll end up on the news but not in a good way. Then the bus did a 3-point turn on one of the residential streets and I knew something was wrong. Turns out the bus driver was unaware of the detour and either the signage was not good or he didn't know how to follow it properly. EVENTUALLY we made it back on the highway and got to the border. We crossed the border with only a slight hiccup (one of us only had no photo ID) and rolled into the Greyhound station. As we were pulling in, we saw a bus leaving the station and I said, "Wouldn't it be funny if that was our bus?"

It wasn't.

There were no more Buffalo-Cleveland buses for a few hours and they couldn't (or wouldn't) call the one that had left less than 10 minutes earlier to hold up while we took a cab to meet it. We loaded up on quarters and watched some 10" black and white tv-in-the-chair in the station. Luckily there was a Fresh Prince marathon on to keep us occupied for at least a little bit. If you've ever been to the Greyhound station in Buffalo, you'll know there is nothing to do within walking distance. Finally, the other bus came and picked us up (by which time the festival had started...we were supposed to get there 3 hours early). The bus driver had a serious case of pump-the-pedal style of driving, causing us to feel like we were in a wave pool for the remainder of the 3.5 hour trip. In addition to this, the movie was Ernest goes to camp, which I would normally force myself to get immersed in to pass time, but a malfunction in the system caused it to repeatedly play for 15 minutes, get fuzzy, kick back in and then restart.

We arrived at the festival minutes after one of the bands we most wanted to see had finished, around 5pm, 6 hours after it had started. The normally 5 or so hour trip had taken us almost 12 hours. In good news, the rest of the evening was great and I saw what became one of my favourite live bands for the first time.

We stayed over at a B&B that my mom had reserved for us. It was a nice alternative to a hotel, especially after our long excursion the previous day. While we were eating breakfast, though, one of us picked up a newspaper on the coffee table to check it out and noticed a small pile of white powder. I said immediately "OH MAN IT'S COCAINE!" to which Ben replied "it's probably just sugar from somebody's coffee". So, naturally, I dipped my finger in it and gave a taste. It definitely wasn't sweet, salty or soapy; and my tongue did go numb, but we decided to give the B&B the benefit of the doubt and go with it being laundry soap.

We departed for the second day of the festival on foot. We couldn't remember the exact roads we took to get home the night before and weren't familiar with the area, since we were left with no time to explore. We looked at all the options and trusted our instincts as far as what direction to head off in. As the map shows, we went the right direction, but took the wrong roads (mistake #2).

One Wrong Turn Can Change a Lot

As we headed through what one might describe as the "rougher part of town", some guys on a porch yelled out "Hey, give me a smoke" (we weren't smoking), to which we replied "we don't have any". They decided that we had answered the question improperly and thus, should be subjected to a beat-down. They came up between us and kicked Ben and clocked me in the face. I moved back after that and sort of scurried away. Ben tried fighting back, which they didn't like, so they hit him more. We got away with only a few bruises, I had a big bump on my face, but I am fairly sure Ben's torso got the worst of it. They didn't steal anything (and we had all of our stuff to catch the bus home after the show), so it's safe to say they were just assholes.

We made it to the show and enjoyed the second day, met lots of people and I think we may have got in free (because the promoter felt bad for us). A couple of the dudes we met were nice enough to drive us to the Greyhound station. We caught the bus home and things were generally incident-free. The border people were so interested in our story of being jumped that they didn't even care about the lack of photo ID.

Coming soon, in no particular order: Rear-ended on the way to my mom's funeral; blown tire on the way to the corn roast; how my van got ants; the year my sister cursed my car; when CAA wouldn't let me into the van; and more!


Ironically, during the course of writing this post on occurances and accidents, I got my finger caught in a wire machine at work.

Accident Scene

Which created:
Gross Finger

Anyhow, that plus being away for the weekend meant no Record a Week or Sunday Brunch this week, but I should be able to get back to them this weekend.


  1. Blown tire on the way to corn roast next please!

  2. or no, maybe it's when CAA wouldn't let you into the van.

    Shit, I don't know - the one where we went to your cottage and waited by the side of the road for hours on end. That one.