Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buffalo by bus

The problem, if it is a problem.
One car for a family of five.
scenario: family leaves to Buffalo on Wednesday.
I still have three days of work, AND
two gallery shows Friday night.
then I need to get to Buffalo to pick up stuff,
as our grandmother's house is sold off.

how do I get to Buffalo, 300 miles away?

I thought Uhaul, $20 a day plus gas & mileage. But the mileage
was the deal breaker. At a dollar a mile, I'm $600 not including
the gas the beast would eat up. So I'll rent a one way trailer
for the family truckster. $80 takes care of the 'stuff' coming home.

Now how do I get myself there?

Train? Saturday am is only $43, but sold out. The next train is $63,
but get me in Buffalo Saturday night, a whole day lost, not an option.

Rent a car? Through an agency about $140 a day, and need two days.
Through an online deal, $49 a day, but then I'm paying for gas out
and back. And I really hate the idea of another car, with one person,
driving across the state. A self serving douche way to travel.

Seriously the last time I was on a bus, it was the epitome of trash.
Early am, leaving Las Vegas, in the late 80's (I am old).
Everyone you expected to ride a bus, was on THAT bus. And the six
hour trip seemed to take twelve.

The bus runs $63, and surprisingly
there's a Friday/Saturday 1am bus!
That puts me in Buffalo by 7am.
And gives me a whole (exhausted) day to get 'things' done.
Awesome! Now how about the bike?
Well it reads, you provide the box, and pay an extra $20.
Not airlines bad,

So it's decided to go by bus, now I have to plan my night out -
in reverse. I can do amazing reverse math when it involves sleeping
in past the alarm. But two gallery shows, commuting by bike, letting
dogs out, picking up my bag to travel with, and several drinks?
I'm screwed. It was a frantic night, with a large imaginary clock
looming over my head. As the shows wrap up, I stop by the terminal
to pick up my ticket. As I'm waiting inline, there is a young dad
with his son, trying to get a ticket to NYC. The lady at the counter
is just being a nasty old thing, "you're STILL short money!"

Seriously? If you hate your job, then quit. Do not take it out on
'the customer'. Obviously NY state employees were never told that
the citizens were their 'customer', but that's another story.
As I approach the counter, she glares and starts with me,
"YOU, can wait your turn, this doesn't involve you."
The guy is digging in his pockets for change.
As another ticket agent comes to the counter, I ask the dad
how much does he need.
Really, all of this over $2.50? So I give him a $5, and wish him
and his son a safe trip, then head over to the new agent.

He greets me with,
"thanks for doing that! she's a beast, and that was really cool
to see."

Not a problem, I would've spent that on a beer tonight,
but instead, I'm here.

So I get my ticket, but it's 10% less than I thought.
I look at the agent, and he simply replies
"you helped him out, I'll help you out."

Now this lady is even more pissed.

So now is my time...
"so..... how do I go about bringing my bike with me?"
(the bike I wheeled through the terminal & line)
"oh, man, all you got to do is show up a half hour
earlier than normal, find me, I'll call the guy in
back, you give him $6, and he gives you a box to put
it in, and you're all set!"

Now we're talking!
cause I have time to go home, shower, get my bag and a couple
beers and ride back to the terminal.

This is when plans come together, when there is no plan.
And people make things easy for others.

Keg cans in bag & cage.
Stop in for some pre-trip pizza,
a beer, load the bike, give the guy a good tip
(so it makes it on the bus),
and now I just wait.....

grab the ipod, and managed to sleep in between each stop.

next thing you know, it's Buffalo,
put the bike together, and return the box so someone else can use it.

completely different agent here:
'here's your box back, thanks!'

'NO MAN! you go throw that thing away!'

'what? can't you guys reuse it? we did in Albany.'

'that ain't ours, go throw it away'

'yo, I just pulled it off YOUR bus, from YOUR terminal,
in Albany, where I BOUGHT it from YOU guys'

'NO, go put it in the trash'

well, for one decent person, you'll deal with two or three
assholes, fact of life. thanks dick. so I left the box in front
of the door and left.

Elmwood, one of the FEW things that I like about Buffalo,

self portrait:
7:30 am, three hours of sleep, and a long day ahead.

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