I’m a pretty laid back traveler.Â I don’t need much.Â Enough space not to feel like I’m suffocating, preferably a window seat (to lean on for napping) something good to read, some music, and maybe snacks.Â I always say that I’m the person you want to sit next to if you are traveling with small kids.Â I don’t mind them, in fact I love them and will often be glad to play with them and distract them if you need help.Â And I can usually sit companionably next to most anyone, as long as they aren’t a complete jackass.Â I’ve even been known to forge friendships on long airplane flights or bus rides or train trips.
So, this morning, at the butt crack of dawn (7am), when I set out on the bus, on a (not so) well rested ninety minutes of sleep, I was only concerned that the person sitting next to me not be too fidgety.Â Sizing up the people getting on the bus, I was hoping for the diminutive woman rather than the very tall man, who was likely to take up a lot more room. Â Be careful what you wish for.Â The woman sat down next to me.Â It started off inauspicious enough, but before too long, my seatmate was telling me her life story in a stream of consciousness, off kilter tear.
She started with her terrible experience during Hurricane Sandy, and I felt for her, because she’s been out of her home since it happened.Â Then she moved on to her gallbladder surgery that she had the day after Thanksgiving, which would have also been okay, until she started telling me about ever little detail of her surgery and her after care and her scarring and having to be bathed and…you get the point.Â She told me in no uncertain terms that she was very annoyed with her cousin, at whose home she was staying, because she “just needed her space.”Â She then somehow transitioned to a discussion of President Obama and how she needed to go to Washington, DC to visit him because she had a lot of things she needed to tell him.
It was at this point that I realized she wasn’t just a talker (I mean, I’M a talker), she was a little off.Â By the time she started talking about god and how children were rising up to kill their elders and all of it was foretold, I knew I was in trouble.Â Up to this point, I had been a vaguely active participant in the conversation, though relatively quiet — and you know if I’m the quiet one in the conversation, the other person is a world class talker.Â So, now I’m sitting in my seat thinking, “Okay, how to gracefully exit this conversation?”
Fortunately, at some point, there was a lull and I took that moment to put on my headphones and feign sleep.Â Before I knew it, I was actually napping.Â Phew.Â Crisis averted.Â I kept my headphones on for the rest of the trip for fear of getting sucked back into it.Â The good news is, because we left so early in the morning, there was no traffic.Â We arrived a half hour early into Boston and I was able to make my escape and head for the commuter bus to New Hampshire.
All in all, though, I can’t really complain.Â Bus travel is the cheapest way to go and it means that I get to see my sister and her family on short notice for the holidays.Â And, if I’d never sat next to her, I would have had nothing to write about tonight, so bonus!