Death of a Greyhound

by Nic Olson

Humans bond in tragedy. Or near tragedy. Or in the tragedy they create for themselves.

To many, the Greyhound is a tragedy. A disaster. A punishment or prison sentence. To some it is a sore-assed haven of travel. For most it is the only means they can afford. But when the Greyhound breaks down twenty miles from Pittsburgh, PA, no matter what the Greyhound means to the traveller, it is discouraging. The amount of discouragement caused, however, does differ from passenger to passenger based on how they deem the bus itself. Those who view it as a tragedy on wheels are far more discouraged by a four hour delay than one that considers the bus a privilege.

Everyone fears for their lives when the bus driver is raving. It is no better when the already irritable passengers accept conclusions that the bus driver has fallen asleep while driving, created by the mother being summoned to a court out of state. Then there is the woman who complained to her husband while standing in line at Penn Station, grumbled to her husband when she smelled the toilet, whined to her husband when the person was talking to loud on the phone, and screamed out loud to her husband that she valued her life when the bus broke down. She was obviously having a more difficult time than I was, as I chuckled and emailed the first contact I saw so that someone knew how I died. So that someone could rate this tragedy.

Humans bond in tragedy and my journey has been characterized by the disagreeable itch of tragedy. Missing university students, feared buried in a construction site or dismembered in the river. Driving through towns stripped completely by high speed tornado winds as if they were humans that had decayed to only skeleton. Greyhounds breaking down with passengers crying and calling the police and their families, locked in the bus because of a faulty computer and a incompetent and inhuman driver. Each tragedy has its own weight which depends on the one being traumatized.

But through the tragedy, I have bonded. With one friend and his friends, then two friends and their other friends, and one more friend and his friends. Because just like natural disaster movies or killer animal movies or horror movies, humans bond in tragedy, no matter what kind of human or what level of tragedy.

You make your best friends by living in the disasters you have in common.