I get up in the morning and decide to do the big drive all the way back to Vancouver. Stopping first in Eugene, Oregon. I really don’t expect this to turn out to be one of the most stressful days of my life.
Driving into town, it seems a nice quiet place, lots of people chilling on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon. I drive around looking for somewhere to park and grab a bit of brekkie. I turn down a one way by mistake, realising I’m driving into oncoming traffic I go to pull over, but no. The car is fucked…….
Getting out and pushing it to the kerb I’m a bit freaked out – What am I gonna Do????? I ask people on the street, nobody wants to help me. Eventually I get into a supermarket and a guy there helps me to push the car into their car park, but really this could have been the most unhelpful town on the planet – nobody cared.
Without a phone I have to run around the town looking for free Wi-Fi to find the number of a roadside assistance company. I find one, offering to possibly fix my car – or at least tell me its gone. I call and the guy says he’ll be there in 20 minutes. Cool.
He arrives, looks all understanding and says
– Lets get it on the back of the truck, I’m thinking cool, we’ll go to his garage or something. Once its up he turns to me and says
– Where d’you want me to take it. I reply – how the hell should I know!!!!!! I’ve never been here in my life. Cant you take a look at it.
– I don’t know anything about cars, I just tow them he says.
Great. So we spend the next 45 minutes driving around Eugene looking for a garage that’s open on a Sunday. Obviously nothing is and this guy’s suggestion is
– Why not just leave it in a car park. Great, I’m thinking. And say why didn’t I just leave it in the supermarket car park – Yeh, you should have done that, totally, would have been the best idea, he says.
Once again I’m completely dumbfounded by this guy’s complete idiocy. How stupid can he be. But I end up paying him $90 to dump it in the greyhound car park. Apparently in the US this isn’t such a problem – In the UK they’d hunt you down and make you responsible, I later find out in Vancouver that nobody there cares about the car either – Its a massive piece of metal surely somebody has to be responsible for it!!
I get out, grab as much stuff from the car as I can, losing a ton of camping equipment, not forgetting my tub of home made kimchee, kept on ice the whole time, and head into the Greyhound station. Only thing is its closed. Great. This means a massive walk to the train station where there are no trains, but a bus.
This get’s me to Portland, where I snag the last ticket on the train to Seattle. Luckily the train has Wi-Fi and I book myself onto the last bus to Vancouver. Only thing is I also look up the train status and find that its gonna be late. I grab a conductor and ask
-Is this train gonna be late? – yes, he says – is it always late? – pretty much he says!!!
Once again, great, great, great.
Pulling into Seattle I’ve got 8 minutes to get to the greyhound station for my bus at 2200. I grab a cab and tell the driver, an Ethiopian guy my story. He literally puts the foot down and we drive like loonies through Seattle, getting there in four minutes. I give him a tip and thanks – really, he’s been the only person nice to me all day.
Running into the station at 2157, I ask the people in the queue if the bus is here – no, great!! This time no sarcasm. I queue up for a ticket behind two black chicks talking to the guy behind the counter and wait. Time rolls by, they’re not buying anything just talking – c’mon, c’mon, I’m thinking, hurry. They finish, and the guy pulls out a board that says – GONE FOR LUNCH, BACK IN 30 MIN. Nooooooooo. Another Greyhound employee is there I ask can you just give me the ticket. Thing is this guy is like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman
– On his lunch, cant work, cant work on his lunch, cant work, he keeps on saying. Greeeeaaaaaattttt, just great. Eventually he tells me the bus wont be here for ages. I calm down a bit. Someone will be here to help me. The bus turns up at 2216. I get in the queue hoping the bus drivers gonna help.
– You cant get on the bus without a ticket, he says. – But I cant get a ticket because the guy wont give me it, I reply. He calls rain man over – on his lunch, cant work, cant work on his lunch break, is all he’s got to say.
Next thing you know the ticket guy turns up on his way to the staff lounge and the bus driver asks him to do it for me. His answer
– I’m on my lunch break, I don’t work on my lunch break. We he obviously has the Rainman well trained – actually,the Rainman is still saying this same thing the whole time.
I beg, I plead – I’m begging you man, please help me out. My car blew up, the train was late. – I don’t know why your begging, I aint doing it. I DONT work on my lunch break. I’m pulling my hair out now. Is this for real? Really, can people be such assholes? Why? What reason? Why treat your fellow man like a complete piece of shit? They leave me, well Rainman doesn’t, he follows me repeating his lines. In a fit of anger I turn round and say – fuck off, you fucking retard. I feel bad, because he obviously is a retard.
When the bus driver returns, I plead more. He wont look at me. He slams the bus door in my face. The bus leaves at 2226.
Now I need to find a hotel. I end up at the YHA American hotel. A shithole. And I’m offered a dorm for $50 or a single for $80. I take the single, with shared bath. I get to my room. Its dirty. Cant one thing go right. They wont believe me when I tell them, and certainly wont apologize. When they give me a new key, they want the old one back, but my stuff is in there. This causes an argument. Eventually I get into a room.
I go out and get drunk, two crack heads try to accost me, I tell them if they come anywhere near me I’ll fucking kill them. They retreat. Seattle really isn’t the nicest place in the world.
I have to get up at 5am to get the train to Vancouver – no more buses please. I can only describe this train as the slowest I’ve ever been on, but it gets me there. And I’m so glad I’m back in Vancouver. Its raining hard, and even that makes me feel at home.
Its over. Thank god.