Wednesday, September 10, 2003



The People On The Bus part one...

Me.

I was eighteen. That was a long time ago, I think. Maybe not that long. 365 days pass, and then we allocate another point to the internal and external atrophy system. I was on a bus. The rest of my high school class that I recently graduated with was slinging down tequila shots in Mexican resorts while I was trying to not take poops on Greyhound busses. My graduation present was getting kicked out of my house. My father and I had actually been getting along pretty well for the last couple of weeks. For us, at least. I was eating some chicken or something when he came out of his dark room into the dark living room and then walked into the dark kitchen. He plopped down an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a card with his signature scrawled on it, along with a check for three hundred dollars. Three hundred dollars? Wow! He didn't get me anything for graduation, not that I expected anything, and for birthdays, I might get twenty-five or fifty bucks if I was lucky. I expressed my gratitude, thinking that maybe this was a combo-graduation-birthday-present-thingy. He told me that it was for moving expenses. I asked when was I moving? I had twenty-four hours to leave. Oh. He walked back into his dark room, and I sat in the dark kitchen, not really feeling particularly hungry anymore. I threw the rest away and went into my room. Looking over a lifetime's-worth of accumulative teenage crap. Where the hell was I supposed to go? What the hell was I going to do? Did I really have to leave?

I did. By noon the next day, I'd thrown away mountains of stuff that really didn't seem as important to me as they did the day before when I had a place to keep it, and the rest that I deemed essential enough to keep, got stored in a friend's parent's attic. I floated around in the next couple of weeks at a couple of buddy's houses. Tried to stay out of everybody's hair. I didn't try to figure out what to do, because I had absolutely nothing to do. Where the hell would I go? I'd always told my father that I was going to get the hell out as soon as I possibly could, but never really thought about what that meant. It meant money. A place to stay. A steady income. I ended up homeless and would sleep in parks or stay up at the only twenty-four hour donut shop in town. I'd smoke, write, and wait until dawn. Wander around maybe, until a buddy got home.

After a couple months of this crap, I finally decided to get the hell out of Dodge. I was losing sanity points. I bought a round trip ticket that was good for one year from Montclair, California to New York City. This was great because this meant that even though I didn't know what the hell I was doing, I could stay in one place for a short time if it suited me, go back to a bus station and get a new series of tickets printed out, and everything would be cool. My father, of all people, dropped me off. He was really the only one who could take me. He seemed sad, and this perplexed me. If he was so sad, why didn't he just let me stay for a few months, stop being the ass that he was, I would stop being the ass that I was - and then I'd get out as soon as I could when I was better prepared. I waved to him as the bus pulled away. He had his hands in his pocket and looked very old. I didn't know what feeling old was, yet. I just felt scared. Confused. Unreal. Like a character in a movie or some cardboard cut out in a poorly written story. We were heading to Arizona, it would take all night, so I tried to make myself comfortable and quiet all of the voices in my head. I turned to my left and smiled timidly at the man next to me. We eventually introduced ourselves…





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