“Madam, the trays on back of these chairs are made within parameters of an average person. I’m very sorry your knees don’t fit within those.”
I snidely tossed my remark to the lady behind me. Montreal the Vacation was only one hour underway and already I’d found an archenemy.
I deserved my ire. She was kicking and shaking my seat like a kindergarten student. All because I had leaned my chair back while her tray was down and it scraped into her bulbous knee. Whatever.
Highlights of the trip so far.
Earlier that morning I had shaked and kicked the seat in front of me in our car service vehicle. Hah. Karma!
Our driver did not like us. He was a tiny Indian man with an honorable moustache but terrible body odor.
At the Hudson news in Penn Station a married man read Black Inches while I read PC Gamer, a peeked over his shoulder.
Microwaved ham, cheese and egg English muffin sammies have very little hint of chemical preservatives.
At 9:08 a.m. a frizzy haired blond lady was passed out, face down in the dining car, with two half empty glasses of chardonnay in either hand.
OH FUCK! We just found out a freight train derailment has terminated all train service beyond Albany. So they are bussing us to Montreal. I hate changes to plans, but we’ll get into Montreal an hour earlier than planned
Man I hate changes to plans. Well, the optimist in me is thankful that it wasn’t our train that derailed. The pessimist still wants to rumble with that big knee’d lady behind me.
Later that evening...
Travel turns ordinary, God fearing citizens into feral beasts. I talking the jostling and jockeying for position in the ticket line. I’m talking the greediness as little packets of pretzels and crackers are handed out to crazed passengers, “Miss! I didn’t get my peanuts!!” I’m talking the terrible moments where humanity must exist together prior to the salvation of their individual destinations; their reward for the sweaty hours of hunched, cramped travel.
This is why Bryce and I chose to ride the train. There is one line. The immigration agents come to you when crossing the Canadian border. Contact with other passengers is minimal.
Then the train before ours derailed. And Amtrak informed us we were being put on buses in Albany to continue our ride to Montreal.
“Bryce get out bags. We’re going to be the first ones on that bus!” It was the Bingham Cup all over again as I shouldered my way off the idle train and to the front of the bus line.
I don’t know where Amtrak found our bus driver. Perhaps behind the trashcans near the train station? He was a stocky, older man wearing big sunglasses. I wasn’t sure if his wisp of hair was real or fake. Great toupee if that was the case.
I cannot offer the same compliment of his driving. At one point he struck an orange highway can. Left to right to left, he weaved a perilous path crossing highway lines in defiance of the giant semi trucks roaring down the interstate next to us. Upon reaching the Canadian border, our driver killed his engine. Another line of three buses stretched before us. “Can you turn on the A/C?” The temperature of the bus began to bake as the setting westward rays illuminated wet brows and growing sweat stains on t-shirts. “No.” He replied. “Got to keep bus turned off.” As we waited outside customs, Bryce fanning himself with Spin magazine, myself with PC Gamer, other passengers had to rouse him from slumber as the Canadian officials knocked on the door of our sweltering bus. Arguing that Amtrak should have hired someone to help him, he begrudgingly tossed everyone’s luggage out of the bus’s belly for inspection. When we finally made it to Montreal (five hour bus ride, two hour custom’s check) he refused to unload our luggage in the rain and proceeded to smoke cigarettes and glare at us. I called him a fucker to his face.
We made it to Montreal! Not before I was sent to level two of Canadian customs for further questioning regarding the nature of my visit to America’s northern neighbor.
A pretty redhead with freckles and a heavy French accent asked me so many questions:
“What is the nature of your visit?”
My answer: Vacatioin/pleasure.
Real answer: Cheap prescription medicine, great weed and orgies with lumberjacks (with my boyfriend bien sur!)
“Where are you staying?”
My answer: What?
“Where are you staying?”
My answer: What, I’m sorry?
“Where are you staying?”
My answer: Oh Montreal.
“No. I mean the hotel.”
My answer: What? (the lady had a terribly obstructive accent.)
My answer: Oh! We’re at Big Boys Guest House!
I out-ed myself to Canadian customs. You think I’d get honorary citizenship for my bravery. No such luck, although her immigration associate, a petit young man with shellacked hair did toss me a sassy smirk.
And so the comedy routine continued. My fellow unwashed masses were allowed to file one by one out of the level one immigration area as Crepe Suzette and I played mind games back and forth. I felt like Hannibal Lector being interrogated by Clarice Starling.
During the course of my interview it was revealed I was born in Georgia, moved to DC, then California, then Georgia then New York. I have had no DUI’s or DWI’s. “I don’t drink. I live sober!” However the unfortunate incident of my arrest in Atlanta at Blakes nightclub was revealed. Suzette told me to bring my dismissal documents the next time I visit Canada and bid me a bon voyage with a stamp on my passport.
My reply: What?
Later: Big Boys Guest House is actually full of big girls!