Who would have thought a Chinatown bus ride from NYC to Baltimore during rush hour could turn my foul mood all the way around? Maybe it hasn’t rejuvenated me completely, but something happened along the way this evening and now I feel like a completely different person. As recently as noon, I was feeling as confused, depressed, and frustrated as I have in… well, let’s not kid around here… since last month’s cycle of funk stunk up my spiritual bathroom. But now I feel much, much better. I don’t know if the following story justifies it completely, but it certainly helped.
I carried a ridiculous amount of luggage from my apartment to the bus depot in Chinatown this afternoon, which made for a grueling, awful, sweaty subway commute. But I at least made it onto a bus at four o’clock. However, getting out of the city was brutal. It took over an hour to break on through to the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel. After having a double-whammy repeat listen of both the new Wilco, SKY BLUE SKY, and the new Travis, THE BOY WITH NO NAME, only to discover that I might not dismiss and discard them as easily as I thought I was going to the first time around (much more so Wilco than Travis, which I think might actually be a keeper after an initially brutally harsh reaction to it), something quite magical happened. In the seat directly in front of me, a pretty young Russian/Polish teenager was having one of those absurd nap attacks where her head kept looping downward before a bump on the road would jerk her neck back into a proper sleeping position. I watched this like a frightened parent who was forced to watch their child climb a tree from afar. Though I sensed impending danger, I didn’t do anything to prevent it, for it wasn’t really my business. Seriously, what would I have said or done? But then, it finally happened. She conked out long enough for her forehead to drop in a rush and c-r-a-c-k the side of the window. But rather than wake up, she simply returned to her proper sleeping position. Less than a minute later, she did it again. While I could hear her forehead t-h-w-a-c-k the window over the music blaring in my ears, she still wouldn’t wake up. After this happened for the eighth time (I’m not exaggerating), I looked away to my left to keep from bursting into laughter, only to witness another even more dramatic episode of travel napping gone horrifically wrong. At the exact moment that I looked to my left, a pudgy white girl in the row directly across from me, who had gone into full sleep mode, shoes off and pajama pants on, literally tumbled off the seat and landed with a thud on the bus floor. Startled, she looked up and around, but I spun my head to the right and buried my face against the window, pretending to be asleep, in order to save her some embarrassment and prevent me from looking like a total asshole when I started laughing hysterically in her face.
Funniest bus ride ever? By golly, I think so!
There is a lesson to be learned in almost every situation and encounter, but this one was about as blatant as a near-death epiphany. That one-two punch of slapstick hilarity was the world telling me to stop whining like a baby and to instead open my eyes and appreciate the magical glory that is occurring in front of and around me at every waking moment. Of course, I’m only programmed to do this when my serotonin level is balanced and healthy, but I’ll take what I can get. Thank you, world, for reminding me that all of this is nothing more than a funny, irreverent joke, and should never be taken too seriously. (Note: Both girls appeared to be fine, so you can sleep peacefully tonight.)