Tag Archives: Cleveland

homeward bound, pt. V

My tolerance for alcohol was probably at it’s lowest it had been for the past couple of years, so by the time we actually set off, I was pretty zonked. Before I passed out, I made sure I called my sister, our friends, Ned, Peter and Melissa drunkenly rejoicing on our successful acquisition of the prophetic yellow beast. I took the opportunity to run up and down the aisles, somersaulting and all. I was very amused at the thought of never having anyone yell at me to sit down and shut up in a school bus ever again. John and I were both in a state of euphoria.

A few hours must have gone by when John woke me up to as me whether I wanted to take over the wheel for a bit, but I told him I was still pretty drunk/hung over, so we decided to take a nap for a few hours. It was absolutely freezing without the bus running. It was at that point that my cold (which had most likely been brewing for a couple of days now) really took a swing for the worst. I woke up to the sight of Chicago at the crack of dawn. The sight was picturesque, to say the least. Unfortunately, I would not be able to appreciate much for the remainder of the journey back home because of the severe cold I had developed early on.

HeadshotAfter making a pit stop for gas, I fell back asleep. I woke up as soon as we made our next stop in Indiana for breakfast. After our routine meal of cracklin’ oatbran, I told John that it was time. Way back when we set off, I had told John that I wanted to have a photo shoot for the front cover of my prospective album that I’m planning on releasing in my fantastic phantasy of celebrity. I think it went well. It was a beautiful day, crystal clear skies with the sun a-shining brightly.

After the shoot, it was finally my turn to take the reigns. I had been fantasizing about driving the school bus for such a long time, so I was especially giddy. After John ran me through the controls, We were off again. It was very nerve-racking at first, but I quickly got the hang of it. I drove for at least a hundred and eighty miles before I got really exhausted from staring at the sun without sunglasses on, as well as the fact that the heat would run relentlessly in the cockpit, despite it not being turned on. I pulled into a rest-stop down I-90 for some good ol’ fashion red bull and (a trucker favorite) No Doz. I also wanted to find out whether there was any good classic rock station we could tune into for the ride. As soon as the cashier rang up the red bull and No Doz, the final cost came to $6.66. Now that’s just silly. “Oh wow, you sure you didn’t want to add anything to that?” he said to me. “Nahhh, I’m not superstitious. This is going to be a fun ride back, though. Oh before I get back on the highway to hell, do you know any good rock stations?”

The next thing I can remember that really stuck to memory was driving over Cleveland on I-90. It must have been the middle of the day, around 4pm, and there wasn’t a single car in sight. Anywhere. This just strengthened our theory that Cleveland doesn’t actually exists. Fuck you Drew Carrey. You lied to all of us. Your a big fat liar. And your not funny.

The reception on the radio was pretty abysmal, so we opted to turn it off. While John was asleep in the back, I decided to be my own radio and sing to myself for the next hundred miles or so. After I had sung every single dylan song I could recall, I found myself driving through Pennsylvania. Now I consider myself to be a jolly fellow. But Pennsylvania… It never ends. By the time I got to exit 265, I was so anxious, I wanted to stab something. Our escapades in Pittsburgh station didn’t help.

wise mexican bhodisattva, pt. 3

When we got to Cleveland station, we had about 8 hours to kill, so I called up as many friends as possible to find out if there was someone that could show us around town. My efforts proved to be futile. With five dollars between the three of us, we head out to dig this new city. It was around 6pm when we hit downtown. You wouldn’t think so. It reminded me of a zombie movie. We were standing in the middle of what should have been a very busy intersection, but was completely desolate. Granted, there was a huge snow storm the night before, it still seemed strange that there wouldn’t be a car or a person in site in downtown Cleveland at 6pm. Two dudes eventually walked by us and asked us for cigarettes, but we said we didn’t have any. So they replied, “Alright, well you guys be careful.” When you locals tell you to be careful, you know you’re pretty fucked. we saw a city map down the way and we checked it out. Nothing noteworthy. I noticed that there was a Chinatown somewhere, and we asked a passer-by if he knew where it was. He said that he’d lived in Cleveland all his life and never heard of a Chinatown. Reassuring. We head straight back to the station.

After documenting my experiences of the day through pen-scribblings in my handy, ostentatious moleskine, I sat near John while waiting for our bus to leave. The man who sat in between us, John told me before hand, was also on his way to Minnesota. John said he reminded him of Seth Rogen. I couldn’t imagine what that entailed, but he was stunningly accurate. Everything down to his mannerism was Rogen-esque. He said he was a chainsaw sculptor who is going to MN for a court date. Interesting. half an hour before the bus was scheduled to leave, we moved to the gate. We sat just ahead of these mexican landscape artists who we struck up a conversation with. One man in particular seemed to be the spokesman, and had some very interesting stories to tell. We each shared our crazy stories of our trip thus far and touched upon some very profound philosophical topics. Never be afraid to talk to people. You’d be surprised at how much you can learn from everyone you meet along your frantic walk of life, O Humble Reader..

Chicago. The first thing I see entering the station is a group of people being restrained by police officers. This is going to be an interesting visit. Luckily, our next bus was to leave about an hour and a half after we arrived. We stood in line at the gate and met with this wonderful Jamaican man with a thick accent. I unfortunately forgot his name (edit: Courtney), but regardless, we all had a wonderfully sophisticated theological conversation at 6:30 am that really got me going. We each had so many different perspectives on religiousity and faith, and each left feeling quite enlightened.

Wisconsin. As soon as we arrived, we were off again to Winona, then Rochester, Minnesota. It was at this point that John and I parted ways with Jae. It was a very emotional separation, as it seemed like we had spent a lifetime of wandering and rambling side by side. We will meet again soon. This bus ride was surprisingly comfortable. There couldn’t have been more than 5 other people throughout the bus ride. Driving through Wisconsin, I was able to take pictures of the beautiful scenery that lay ahead of us, including an Amish town, hundreds of silos, farmland and mountain ranges. I got a really big kick out of driving down Highway 61. I was singing that song the entire time, and John was really getting irritated. I didn’t care. Opportunities like this don’t come often.

pittsburgh blues, pt. 2

StuckWe had to get outta that bus station. Max already went back to New York the night before, unfortunately, since he had finals that week and the prospect of getting from MN by monday seemed bleak at best. At around 8am, Greyhound announced that nothing was going west for at least another day, so it proved to be a wise choice.

While Jae and I surprisingly slept a full seven hours, John hadn’t slept a wink all night. Jae spent the next two or three hours yelling at his girl, trying to convince her that, yes, he was actually stuck and he wasn’t lying. In the meantime, I looked to James Joyce for company. Eventually, John woke up and I reiterated our need to get the hell outta dodge. I heard from some folks that the promise land is yonder across the bridge a little ways from the station. So, we were off.

The Bee HiveWhile we walked down East Carson/Southside, we noticed the plethora of bars littered across this drunken boulevard of a has-been town. I stopped at a Lebanese restaurant for some hummus and some warmth. I initiated conversation with our waitress, Cori, who I told about our adventure thus far and our plans with the bus. She then very readily assured us that she could find us a place to spend the night. Meanwhile, we went to this cafe down the way, called the bee hive, where we subsequently spent the next 6-7 hours sheltering ourselves from the rain and cold. Cori did eventually call us, but plans unfortunately didn’t pull through, so we decided to get drunk. Jae bought us a bottle of rum and we spent the next few hours sipping out of hour Arizona ice tea cans at the good ol’ bee hive, watching YouTube videos of Julie Andrews singing Supercalafragilisticexpealadotious. What a night. In the height of our inebriation, we decided to splurge on a room between the three of us at the holiday inn. Good decision. After a continental breakfast the next morning, we were on our way back to the station.

That morning we finally left for cleveland. It was incredible. The sun was shining, the storm fully subsided, things were looking good. We met a lot of really cool cats on that bus. The dude behind me was a Sierra-Leonian man with pharonic glasses and a thick accent. The guy next to me was a soft-spoken Liberian who spoke softly to the beautiful girl sitting next to him all the way to cleveland. We found out he was just getting back from spring break and was on his way back to Toledo University. Jae had a really close call midway. After we started moving from a pit-stop, John noticed that Jae was missing from his seat in front of us and we all yelled at the bus driver to stop. Apparently, he went off for a cigarette and overheard me saying how thirsty I was, so he ran to a nearby gas-station to pick up a bottle of water for me. You can’t even imagine how guilty I would have felt.

At Cleveland station, we met up with this army dude who jumped into our conversation we were having about bad food. He assured us that it didn’t get any worse than army rations. He then continued to describe how he was back from Iraq and how he got shot in the neck and seriously screwed up his foot and wrist in combat. Immediately after, he showed us videos on his cellphone of his two children he has back home, along with his beautiful wife, who’s pregnant with a third. This dude was 20 years old. After he told us that he had six more years of service, I told him, “listen man, fuck the army. take your wife and kids and open up a bar in Puerto Rico and never come back. You have too much to lose.” He immediately picked up his phone and called his wife and she readily agreed to it. I really hope I saved his life. Goddamn this war.