When Beauty was 9 months old we made a trip to see her
spermdonor father in Delaware. I live on the west coast. Pretty much as far west as you can go and not be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Are you aware of where exactly Delaware is located? Clear across the freaking country!!! 3000 miles across the country actually! I made the trip once before on the train with my ex and the in-laws. The train was actually pretty cool. The in-laws had a sleeper car and they slept during the day so the ex and I slept at night. It worked out perfect! We could get up and walk around which made 3 days go a heck of a lot faster than one would think. The one scary thing about that trip was when we got to Chicago and the ex and I decided to go outside to get some fresh air (isn’t that a myth in Chicago?) and were approached by a man in a trench coat with his hands in his pockets. I was so scared all I could do was hang on to the ex for dear life and hope my in-laws would be able to identify the body. Turns out he wanted to sell us some cheap jewelery. o.O
Anyway, my second time making that same trip was on the Greyhound Bus with a 9-month-old who was teething and learning to crawl. 4 days, 3 nights. On a bus. With a baby. By myself. In August. I’m from Podunk, Nowhereville and I was 21. Getting the picture here? My luggage consisted of Beauty, a diaper bag full of clothes, formula, food, diapers and wipes. I also had another bag full of more diapers, clothes and wipes, a small insulated bag with ice packs cold water to make her bottles since she would only drink them if they were really really cold, a big suitcase with the rest of our clothes and more diapers and formula, a stroller and a heavy leather jacket. Yes, I brought a heavy leather jacket with me on a cross-country trip to the east coast where I’m pretty sure the temp never dropped below 100. Don’t judge!
So we made it there ok, a little wilted and a lot tired of sitting but we made it. We spent 10 days in Delaware mostly hanging out in the air-conditioned house. The first time I was there it was winter. I think it was the worst winter New York had seen in something like 30 years. My second trip was obviously nothing like that. We did take the stroller to the park one day but after about 20 minutes thought we were going to die of heat stroke so went back to the in-laws. I did get to see lightning bugs for the first and only time in my life! That was pretty cool! The night before we left I didn’t get any sleep because Beauty wasn’t feeling good and I was trying to make sure I got all of our stuff packed and we had to be at the bus station at 4:00 in the morning. Yep, that’s right. I prepared for a 4-day/3-night bus ride across country by staying up for 24 hours. Brilliant, I know. We made it to the bus station at oh-dark o’clock and loaded the bus for our adventure home.
First stop…NYC! I had never been to New York before. I was hoping to be able to see something recognizable like the Statue of Liberty or something. Well, we may have been in the area where I could have seen Lady Liberty…if I had been awake! Beauty woke me up just as we started to pull into the bus station. We got into the terminal and tried to find a place to wait for our next bus… for 7 hours! Yes, you read that right. We had to be at the bus station in the middle of the night to catch a bus to take us to NYC so we could wait for 7 freaking hours at one of the scariest places I’ve ever been in my entire life. I was a smoker and wanted to go outside. I had to go up 3 flights of stairs to get outside. One of the very nice security people talked to the ticket agent people and let me leave my stuff with them so I wouldn’t have to carry it all up and down the stairs. So we made it up the stairs and outside. I don’t know even know what part of town the Greyhound station is in but to this 21 year-old mom from Podunk, Nowhereville it was truly frightening. XXX shops and stripper bars everywhere. There was a homeless man (I’m guessing here) that kept walking back and forth in front of the doors, stopping at each end to check the garbage cans for treasures, yelling at the top of his lungs “THE WORLD…IS GOING TO END…TOMORROW!!!” The security guy that was working at the street level was also amazing in that he came over and took one look at me and said “Honey, you’re not from around here, are you?” I said in a teeny squeaky voice “no”. He radioed for another security officer to come up get me and he also talked to the ticket agents and informed them that I was NOT going to be going upstairs again and that if I promised to stand right by the door where the buses pull in I could stand there and smoke.
After what felt like forever we finally were able to get on the bus and head for home. I don’t remember our exact route (it’s been almost 20 years, give me a break!) but I remember that I met some pretty amazing people on that bus ride home. This was in the days before cell phones so it’s not like I could keep in contact with anyone or play video games or something. All the smokers congregated to the back of the bus. Because I had the baby I was able to sit all the way in the back by the bathroom for most of the trip. You know, the one where there are 3 seats? Yeah, it was next to the bathroom which sucked and it was right on top of the engine which sucked even more but at least I didn’t have to hold the baby the whole time. We had one bus driver that just so happened to be a smoker too. There weren’t very many people on the bus and most of us smoked so he would call over the intercom “Hey! You guys in the back! Is it getting a little bumpy back there? See, they have to log every stop so he was logging the extra stops at rest areas as “tire checks”. That was also the bus that the air-conditioning broke. That SUCKED a really lot! Going through the mid-west, in late August, on a bus, with no air conditioning o.O The driver was nice enough to open the escape hatch on the roof so we could at least have some air but it was like sitting in front of a furnace blowing hot air at you. Not really helpful. Our next big stop we were able to transfer to a different but with working A/C which made things 1000% better.
Most of us riding through the midwest were headed for somewhere on the west coast so we ended up together for a long time. We kind of became like a little family. I remember one lady that was probably in her late 60’s/early 70’s that just fell in love with Beauty. If Beauty was sleeping during one of the “tire check” stops she would go sit with her so I could go outside. Of course I always stayed right by the bus door but it was really nice to be able to step away for a minute. There was also a very cool black lady that almost killed a man because he tried to sit on the Baby Beauty! We made a stop in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere and this drunk guy got on and he came all the way to the back of the bus thinking he would just sit back there. We had tied a trash bag to the bathroom door and it had some cans in it and he bumped the bag when he was trying to sit on Beauty and it woke everyone up. The lady (I’ll call her J, mostly because I don’t remember her name!) woke up screaming at Big Drunk Guy and getting all up in his business! BDG ended up going into the bathroom and lighting up a joint. Needless to say, he didn’t last long. He was kicked off the bus at the next stop. If you’re reading this BDG… Sorry dude, hope you were able to find a ride at 2 in the morning from a closed up station in the middle of nowhere!
I think the worst was when they would stop at some scary station at 3 in the morning and make everyone get off the bus so they could clean it. Do you people know what it’s like to wake up a 9-month-old at 3 in the morning and take her into a brightly lit new place and expect her to go back to sleep??? Not gonna happen! We did finally make it home safely and lived to tell the story. Beauty likes to tell people she’s been to NYC. She just leaves out the part that she was a baby…