This morning I am doing the American thing – sitting in a hokey little New Jersey Greyhound terminal waiting to catch a bus to New York. But there is a home feel to this adventure, for Frente is being playing on the radio. A small touch of home although if it wasn’t such a unique sound it would be quickly swamped by all things American.
It is a Saturday morning and a warm spring day. A small crowd dozes in the warmth of the building although it need not be heated so. A black girl with jeans she has been poured into, gold looping earrings and braided hair talks to a candy machine, coaxing chocolate from it. Mid thirties something buys a donut and feeds it into the microwave. Gold bangled girl gives up and moves to the Coke machine. Jam donut explodes and fills this hokey hole with the fragrance of sweetness. Belinda, for it appears her looping earrings contain her name, comes back to the candy machine. Crowd of Hispanics bustle out and board a bus destined to “Have a Nice Day” – the only thing I can see posted on the bus. But they seemed to know where it was headed. Joshing and jostling and laughing they seemed pleased to be boarding. In a clunk of a coke can down a shute they are gone and with them the scrolling injunction to have a nice day. Belinda settles for a coke.
Beside me a young chap sags and relaxes then snaps upright in a cycle of slumber that delivers no rest. The seats here don’t offer anything like that. Classic youth uniform of runners, jeans and windcheater. A line is starting to form for this New York bus which has yet to arrive. The line is composed mainly of women. Shoppers? Not likely. Workers? Perhaps. A bus pulls into “Track 3” – the “9:05 to Baltimore and downtown Washington D.C” we are duly told over the intercom by an employee speaking into a microphone only ten feet away from us all. The young chap snaps awake and does a bolt for the door.
Tuning into a conversation at the counter I realise this service is offered on a first come, first served basis, and that all those folk out there lining up next to vacant bus slots were not doing so for the warm spring air. After joining the queue a Greyhound rolled in but it was a shortlived visit. Three alighted. Three boarded, the door hissed shut its mockery and we were left to wait for the next service, due in an hour! Such are the risks even before you alight the dog.
1 May 2004
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