I am currently on the "BOLT" bus to Boston. For the bargain price of $17.50, I am on a deluxe coach bus (with WiFi) and will be in Boston in 3.5 hours. I packed lightly, 3 bags for one day....jumped on the E train, went 3 stops, ascended from the depths of the subway and saw the line already forming on the street corner. I knew then the trip would be a success as I had accomplished the first task of actually locating the bus stop!!! As I was waiting for the bus to arrive, these two ladies were eyeing me up and down...So, I "Minnesota'd" them and smiled. They came running over and saild, "Oh, sugar we just love your dress!" It was fate...I had made a friend on public transportation! So, I am now sitting next to Marilyn from New Hampshire and she's fab! It reminded me of the last multiple-state bus ride I took back in 2001 after 9-11. On the journey from NYC to Mpls I had the most amazing seat partners. From NYC to Ohip, it was Mr. Hawkins, who just so happened to be the father of a high school classmate. He was the best possible person to start this journey home with because he, too had been in NYC for this horrible event, visiting his son at Columbia. After I switched buses in Ohio and was en route to Chicago, I had a completely different experience. I was seated next to a panic-stricken young guy who was on his way to propose to his girlfriend. He rehearsed his vows to me until he was blue in the face...and they were perfect. It was nice to zone out my past week of chaos and uncertainty and remember the simple joys of love and possibility. The final leg brought much-needed sleep and when I awoke and got off the bus and saw my mommy there waiting for me...I don't think I've ever hugged her tighter. September 11th reminded us that life and the people we love are a blessing which CANNOT be taken for granted. When I was hugging my mom so tightly and feeling overwhelmed with relief that I had made it home I thought to myself, how can you go back there? This is where you belong.
Now, 7 years later, I'm back again. And I'm so glad this bus ride is one taken by choice, not necessity and the destination, although not home, is sure to be warm, welcoming and memorable.