Friday, November 24, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE MEGABUS
Originally Posted: 02-22-2013 7:15 PM
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“Leslie, ROAD TRIIIIIP…” *click*. Leaving that message for her was sure to get a response and sure enough she called me back shortly after wanting to know what I was talking about.

“I’m headed to Berkeley and San Francisco on Thursday for the Sound City Movie premiere and to catch Bill & Tamara Champlin at Yoshi’s. Two must-sees in one night--wanna go?” I asked.

“Wow, I don’t know that I can get away Thursday”, she said with some thought. “Are you flying?”

“No Leslie, it’s a ROAD TRIP. You don’t fly on a road trip!” I said saltily.

“Oh hell no, I’m not doing that”, she replied.

“What did you think a road trip was? Haven’t you ever been on a road trip?? I thought you were a rock & roll chick!” I laughed. Suddenly she had to jump off to take a call, which made me laugh even more. So traveling solo, I booked my round trip on the Megabus.

The Megabus is an express bus between LA and a few choice destinations: San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Las Vegas. Featuring free Wi-Fi (fairly spotty service), two AC outlets at each seat, and a bathroom, the double decker coach-style bus was perfect to take me to and from the Bay Area because it allowed me to write, snooze, stay in contact and generally be rested when I arrived—all for the low cost of $19 each way. Gasoline would’ve been twice the cost alone. Minus a 20-minute stop for leg stretching and a bite to eat, the bus continues non-stop and was nearly as fast as driving it myself without concern of speeding tickets.

I was pleased to find that in each trip, the bus was at about half capacity and its riders’ demographic was broadly mixed: families, grandmas riding solo, students, etc. There was even one well-dressed hootchie mama “professional” on one of the trips, but I’ve always thought a little leopard print spandex and heels stacked as high as one’s hair keeps things interesting.

The only really annoying thing was the 6 year-old boy sitting behind me who is in that “cough for attention” phase kids go through. I put my filtering skills to work as best I could and after quite a while he finally stopped. Sadly, no intercession from his dad.

During the morning trip, a woman in her late 70s spontaneous started singing a hymn for Jesus. The quick thinking driver took care of it by starting a George Clooney DVD on the bus monitors. She stopped singing and paid attention because, yes, even 70 something year-old women like George Clooney.

At our mid-way rest stop, our driver was also quick thinking when he reminded everyone that Megabus didn’t allow food and drink on the bus. Then he told us that he never liked that rule. And with that in mind, we were encouraged to hurry back with our lunch so we could leave on time. We were then encouraged to remember that he enjoys tips for a job well done and to remember what a great driver he was. I’m not kidding.

The rest of the trip was uneventful until about an hour later when a heavy stench began to hang in the bus air like an unchanged nuclear diaper. I looked around for a baby and noticed that a man in his late 20s sitting across from the hymn-singing lady had his coat pulled up over his face and was staring intensely at her. She was leaning, face first, into the bus wall. The odor was horrifying.

I began to look carefully at her coat to see if she was breathing, thinking for certain she was dead. I eventually talked myself out of that ghastly thought, got up, and began searching for another seat upstairs. There was no way I was going to be able to stand a couple more hours in my seat if she’d soiled herself.

Then miraculously, when I came back to get my things, the smell was completely gone. The man’s coat was down off his face and it appeared the woman was still asleep. I later discovered that we had been passing Harris Cattle Ranch, the largest ranch on the West Coast. Wow. That smell brings you face to face with the meat industry in a real way.

Pulling into Oakland, my friend Gary Cambra (Tubes, Jefferson Airplane) called and told me to watch for his white Prius. Off the bus and walking toward him, his Toyota began honking with a sporadic fervor usually reserved for a post-wedding procession. I wondered why Gary was so happy to see me… Getting to the car, I realized that he wasn’t honking the horn and this grand reception was some sort of short-circuited car alarm. We exchanged some distracted greetings as he tried unsuccessfully to figure out why his car wouldn’t behave.

Giving up, we drove off with horn honking coronation into Oakland’s early sunset of winter, other drivers blew their horns back and waved their congratulations to the handsome newlyweds in the white Prius. Cracking up, I waved back to everyone and asked Gary “should we tie tin cans to the back bumper and do this right?”

Nothing to see here, nothing to see here… it’s just ‘A Day In The Life’.

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Dave Carlock
DAVE CARLOCK -
A DAY IN THE LIFE
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