Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Megabus Proves Elusive

I try to find the Megabus!

I've taken the local bus to the Megabus, so I have to walk a fair distance. To keep costs low, the Megabus doesn't use terminals. So it will - say - pick you up under a parking structure and drop you off on a downtown street corner. I'm not complaining because my entire round trip cost $40. I'm just saying that the tiniest bit more specificity about bus stops would have been helpful.

I approach the appointed parking structure. No giant blue bus in sight, I check the bus stop info again. Oh yes, I have to be under it (?). I take the elevator to the basement level and see a pull-through that looks bus-friendly. I walk outside to wait.

Except that something doesn't feel quite right. The bus is due in 10 minutes, and I'm the only one waiting. I keep hearing that all the gang members take the bus back and forth between Chicago (my transfer point), but there's not a soul to throw gang signs too.

Beyond the pull-through are two major interstate exit ramps. The garage is built over them, so I can't try the "under" portion of the other side of the garage without going back up to street level.

I try to walk back inside to the elevators, and discover that the doors are locked. I'm all alone under a parking garage on the edge of the interstate. Shit, dude.

There is literally no way out but to cross the exit ramps. I wheel my bright yellow suitcase behind me as I approach the guard rails. Cars shoot past me.

I keep thinking how cheap everyone will say I am if I die trying not to miss my $40 bus.

I look for all the world like a crazy homeless person. Suitcase, ratty traveling clothes, no makeup, crossing the interstate. I dash across, suitcase bumping as I drag it through the dust and weeds of the median.

I can see the bus in the distance and run across the second ramp. I keep jogging, sweat dripping down my back, hair disheveled, flailing my free arm at the bus to indicate that there's one more crazy that needs to board.

I make it just in time.

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