The 1289

by Nic Olson

I have seen dozens of towns that run on Tim Horton’s and environment strangling mines and paper mills. It is like the Canadian dream is built on non-unionized industry and coffee beans stolen from indigenous groups somewhere. This trip feels like an afterthought of the 1970’s with all the payphone usage and the thousand different tints of brown in every room we stop at. I am amidst and partaking in some lower class spiritual discovery. I, the struggling writer, am travelling with strippers and serial rapists and Winnipeg Asians, or at least that’s what I would like to think them as. They are nothing more than serial arsonists, internet strippers and Brandon Asians. I kept wondering how some of these people could stomach 3 bottles of Coke a day, or a giant bottle of root beer Faygo, but understood when I saw the thin bottles of rye whisky they mixed to make the ride a bit warmer.

The average age of the passenger of my bus has increased maybe tenfold since I first took seat in Montreal. Students going to visit family were quickly replaced by middle aged people going back to see their family which, when the prairies hit, even more quickly transformed into cloud-headed old ladies going to Regina from Moosomin and Grenfell. But hold on a minute, that woman across the aisle looks a lot like the woman who got on next to me in Montreal, only thirty years older. And that young woman at the front vaguely resembles a new born baby I saw in Ottawa. I might have actually just traveled through time.

The best business sighting of the trip was the carwash called Baywash, written with the same typeface as the 1990’s television hit, with half of a truck sticking out of the building. The best question uttered was, ‘Is it a cheese string or a cheese stick? I don’t eat cheese sticks.’ The best meal was bagel number four of six, shared at the Winnipeg airport with Nathan. The best redneck was going to Saskatoon. Go figure.

I can see nothing but white again, besides the laser show inspired upholstery of the seating. The sky, the ground, and even the brown bark of the trees is being hidden by the light frosting of the hoarfrost, like someone was sprinkling the past ten hours of prairies with confectionary sugar to sweeten it all for Christmas day, or someone sneezed instead of huffed the biggest pile of cocaine in the world.

Internet on buses is technology that blows the minds of anyone I talk to. It is also technology that I have witnessed only in Saskatchewan and New York. This trip only took a Saskatchewan Second. (I am coining this term before Brad Wall does.)

It is proven that a half-dozen Montreal-style sesame bagels, three dozen cookies, a whole pile of rum balls and several litres of water are all it takes to travel across the country, however badly the executives at Greyhound want you to eat at Tim Horton’s. Must be some dual shareholders there.

I regret nothing. I am car sick.