Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Greyhounds and a Few Sobering Conversations.

Photo: Photgraph of Dallas lights when I figured out how to change the exposure time on my camera.

I've done something different every spring break during college. Freshman year I stayed in Golden and played Battlefield 2 the entire time. Sophomore year I took a bus to Mississippi to see my sister and brother in law. Junior year I can't remember what I did. Senior year I went to Moab Utah and did some great mountain biking. Grad school year I stayed in Golden and spent a lot of time with friends including a trip with Bryant to Boulder to tour some breweries. Sophomore year was the most memorable spring break, however. Riding the greyhound is sketchy enough when nothing goes wrong and it's outright ridiculous if anything crazy does happen like it did sophomore year.

I'm not sure what inspired me to go, but I had the money and figured, what the heck. Why not go. Kalen gave me a ride to the bus station in Denver. I had no idea how greyhounds worked. I didn't know where my bus was or even what the procedure for getting on it was. I started waiting in line. Just a line. I didn't know what it was for except it looked like they were getting on a bus. After standing there for a good 10min I asked the lady next to me where the bus was going and she said it was going to Minneapolis! Where's my bus! I finally "asked for directions" from a greyhound employee and he told me that the bus was about to leave and I'd better hurry over there. I ran through the door and found a bus outside already running and it was almost completely loaded with luggage. I quickly thanked God and gave them my bag and got on.

I walked down the aisle, looking for somewhere to sit. All the seats had 2 people in them except for a few. I chose a seat next to a tall Mexican man, expecting I might get to have a conversation with him and practice my Spanish. I really like speaking Spanish, but I kind of suck at it even after studying it for 3 years in high school. I can read quite well, but when it comes to comprehending words or getting the person to understand what the heck I'm saying, I'm pretty lost. Well after an hour or so, I decided to ask the man where he was going. Here's how the conversation went.

Where are you going? Huh? No Ingles. A donde vas? Que? Aaa Doondeee vaaass? Dallas. Vives in Dallas? Si. Que haces para trabajo en Dallas? ***Some spanish I didn't understand*** Muy bien. Tienes una familia alla? Si. Tienes ninos? Si. Cuantos anos tienen? Tres y ocho. Muy bien...

Translation: Where are you going? Huh? No English. Where are you going? What? Wheeeerrreee Aaarreee Yooouuu Goooiiinnnggg? Dallas. Do you live in Dallas? Yes. What do you do for work in Dallas? *** Some spanish I Did not Understand *** Cool. You have a family there? Yes. Do you have kids? Yes. How old are they? Three and eight. Cool...

I don't always have the best of luck when I try to talk to people...much less when it's in Spanish. That was our entire conversation. I tried, but saw that I was failing and he had no intention to have a conversation with me. I was looking forward to Dallas for a new seat partner to maybe strike up a conversation with. Unfortunately, we were stuck in Amarillo, that God-forsaken city.

We were there for 2 hours when we were only supposed to be there for 45min. I knew that I only had a 30min layover in Dallas, so there'd be no way to catch my connection there. Everyone at the bus station was mad. Some lady with 3 little kids was crying and I asked her what was wrong. Her ride had bailed out on her, so she was stuck at this horrible bus station at 2 in the morning with 3 upset kids. I offered her my cell phone to make a call, but she didn't need it. Her sister would pick her up at 7am. Poor lady.

We finally got back on the bus...they told us they had been cleaning the bus and the cleaners took longer than they were expecting. Sure. I got on and realized that someone had stolen my Sony Walkman cd player. Sad day. I should have known better than to leave it in my seat. At least they didn't steal my cds, which were and still are precious to me.

We got to Dallas at 8am. I was mildly impressed too. I mean, compared to the rest of Texas that I had seen while the sun was up. Wow that's a boring state when you're on whatever road I was on. And the fact that texans love texas was even more firmly nailed into my head after witnessing countless front yard texas flags and a trailer painted with the texas flag. But Dallas looked kind of interesting. I was looking forward to walking around.

I ended up walking around town for a good 2 hours because I knew I had about 4 hours before my new bus was going to leave. I saw a bunch of sky scrapers and found a Chipotle. I love Chipotle's burritos and I was a bit homesick after having driven through a wasteland, so I bought myself a steak burrito with black beans, fajitas, green chili, pico, cheese, sour cream, and lettuce. So delicious. I was bored of walking around, so I went back to the bus station where I had locked up my bags. I decided I wanted something out of them, so I unlocked them and sat down, watching CNN.

A man walked up to me and asked me if I was a Christian. Yes. I knew it. How'd you know I was a Christian? I could smell it on you. You have the reek of a Christian...He just stood there, looking at me for 30 seconds. Is there anything I can do for you? Where are you from? Colorado. Have you ever heard of _____ (Some pastor that raped a child and I can't remember who). No I hadn't heard of him, but that's horrible. He's a hypocrite just like all you Christians... Yeah, Christians are often hypocrites.

He kept talking to me for a good hour. Mostly about Christianity. He hated how hypocritical Christians are and he said that he might believe in Christianity if it wasn't for his dad. His dad had raped him when he was a child and claimed to be a "Devout Christian." His dad taught him not to sin and to believe in Jesus, but he was a terrible, abusive father. He completely destroyed this man's view of Christianity, but the rest of the Christians in the world hadn't helped their reputation much. I was sad and tried to convince him that Christians aren't perfect and mess up sometimes and all that nonsense that's just a bunch of excuses. He was tired of me trying to convince him away from something that had already been completely proven to him, that Christians are hurtful hypocrites, not worth being around. So he left me. He told me never to tell anyone about him and I lied to him and said I wouldn't.

He was right. We are hypocrites. We really don't live like Jesus did. So few people have a problem with Jesus. In fact most people really like Jesus. It's Christians they don't like. I had nothing to think about. Nothing in my mind needed to be processed because all I could think was Wow. It was such a convicting conversation for me. I had nothing that I could argue to prove to him that Christianity is good. I started to realized that yeah, we really do more harm than good a lot of the time. It's sad. I still think about that man regularly because it was such a convicting experience for me, making me realize that it's not acceptable to say, Christians mess up every once in a while, just like everyone else. If we identify ourselves by the word Christian, which means Little Christ, then we are identifying ourself to a much higher calling than one that just gives excuses for mistakes.

Anyways, I finally left Dallas at whenever I left. I was in a bad mood after that conversation and really hoped I had a seat partner that just didn't say a word the entire time. I sat down next to a lady, who happened to be from Colombia. Oh great, I'm gonna try to speak Spanish again and fail...again. Thank God she spoke fluent English. I found out she was a high school spanish teacher. She was a really nice lady. She was about 35 years old and was maybe a little chubby, but pretty attractive. She was going to see her fiancé (or fiancee? whichever is masculine) in Jackson, MS. Nice! I'll have a good seat partner all the way to Jackson! We only talked occasionally. Both of us were sleepy, so I slept most of the way there. She said goodbye to me from across the parking lot when Sarah and Lance picked me up at 4am.

The time in Mississippi was good. It was enjoyable and relaxing. Sarah and I drove to Atlanta to visit our Grandmother. I had the pleasure of explaining special relativity to Sarah on the drive because she wanted to know. I wasn't just rambling about physics on my own. So the trip was good and I left Mississippi on Friday.

The trip back wasn't quite as eventful as the trip to MS, but I had the pleasure of sitting next to the creepiest of creepers from Jackson to Dallas. Some guy from Alaska was rambling about how amazing Alaska is behind us (sound familiar, people who know me?) and The Creeper next to me started mumbling something. This guy better shut the &#%@ up or I'm gonna turn around and stab him right in the gut. He was playing with his knife in his lap, flipping it open and shut, gripping it very tightly. Needless to say, this made me uncomfortable. Again, I couldn't wait for Dallas.

We got to Dallas and left after a 45min layover and this time I got to sit next to a nun. She kept handing me these newspaper articles that I should read and pamphlets and all kinds of stuff. You'd think that she was giving me literature about Catholicism, but it was just random stuff. I never read any of it, but it was all just really stupid, boring stuff. She was kind of weird, but much better than The Creeper.

I started to get tired of the New Mexican landscape. Yeah, it's not completely boring like texas, but all the mesas and brownness was uninteresting after a while. I made it back to Denver that evening and I was incredibly happy to be home. Greyhounds make for interesting experiences, but I was pretty tired of that experience.

Someday, perhaps, I'll write about my other spring break "adventures," which are all pretty boring except the Moab one and the mysterious Junior year one that I can't remember.

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