Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Early mornings on strange city buses (an excerpt from Plant)

How long am I going to stare at the ceiling? Is it really still dark outside? I wonder what time is it? 5:38 am. Jesus, did I sleep at all? I might as well get up, use the washroom, have a shower, get dressed, sort out how I am going to get to the Rockland Center for 9:00 am. Mike disappeared yesterday, he is no longer an option. I have about $3 in change, surely there is public transport. I hope to hell there aren't very many connections. The guy at the front desk will help me out, I hope.

Dried off, relieved, packed, gear on back, down the YMCA stairs. A quick look at my watch, 6:49 am, I have loads of time. The guy at the front desk looks surprised that there is anyone up and about this early.
“How you doing?” I ask.
“Good morning, can I help you?” He responds.
“Yep, first I'd like to check out, here is the room key.” Hand him the key.
“Great, thank you, I hope you enjoyed your stay with us." He hangs the key on the wall with others.
“Ya, it was great, thanks. Listen, I have to get to the Rockland Center, I was wondering if you knew if there was a bus or something that could get me from here, there?” (fingers crossed)
“Hmm, let me think. I think it is the number 4 that goes straight from here to there. I better look at the bus route to make sure... yep, the number 4 bus, it stops just up at the end the street every half hour or so. According to this schedule the next bus leaves at 7:25.” He passes me a bus schedule.
“Awesome, thanks so much.” Off I go!
“Your welcome, good luck eh.”

Out the door. Heavily weighted down by my own gear, I waddle up the street to the bus stop. Check watch, 7:12, light a smoke, wait. Shit, I forgot to ask the Y guy how much a bus ticket costs. It can't cost any more than 3 bucks, could it? I will have to ask the bus driver. The number 4 bus, right? Is that it? Nope that is the number 12. It's only 7:17, chill Joe, relax, hell light another smoke.

Here comes the bus. Change in hand.
“How are you? How much do I owe you?” I had that line well prepared in advance. I didn't even stutter.
“$2.50” The bus driver mumbles.
“Right, good. This bus takes me to the Rockland Center, eh?” (fingers crossed)
“Sure does.” Another mumble, barely heard him.
“Great, thanks.” Pick a spot, sit down.
Over-stuffed knapsack and dufflebag placed on two seats, sit beside them, watch for that mall like a hawk. You don't know Edmonton at all. Keep your eyes to the window. Don't blink.

Downtown Edmonton had come to life, it seems that Mike was right, there is a rush hour in Edmonton. The bus and I were in amongst it. We slowly inched our way out of the downtown core. I recognized the university area, Whyte Ave was around here somewhere. I bet we are getting close. We roll through an area of gas stations and strip malls. We will arrive soon. I can feel it. I am excited. It is really happening, adventure will ensue. There was no turning back now.


  1. Well come on...what happens next ? don't leave us hanging there staring at strip malls.
    Good morning Joe....Went to a downtown bar after a gig in Edmonton many moons ago...its was 2am, a VERY cold winter, so cold the guy driving us ( 6'6''hockey player) got in his car, sat down to start the engine and the vinyl seat covering shattered like glass.....That was new one to a bunch of boys from the UK, thats what we called cold...loving Plant btw....

  2. Thanks Brian. Edmonton is a very cold spot in the winter, which explains why I headed East at the end of each and every summer. Canada's East Coast gets lots of snow...but it never gets near as cold as it does in the Prairies. Oh and I don't care if it is a dry cold. Cold is cold!

    I will post more Plant, I promise. I gotta keep readers hanging, I need to leave them hungry for more. :)

  3. Thats What P T Barnum always said "Leave em wanting more " He knew a thing or two about the public....Anyway..just trawling around the net looking for clues....have a gr8 triumphant dude...