Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Layover in LEIGHton

So this is what Pennsylvania looks like. The Pennsylvania that isn't Philly, that is full of working class whites and disaffected Hillary supporters.

And this is what Densi in PA looks like

I am fired up and ready to go, I promise. I'm also really tired and ready to nap.

The rest of my bus rides was pretty uneventful. Except for the woman behind me a few rows back kept coughing and hacking. And I turn around and she's reaching her whole hand into the back of her mouth to pull out God know what. It was truly one of the most horrifying and disgusting thing I've ever seen.

Another thing Greyhound neglected to tell me was that I would have another layover in Leighton. When I texted Adam "Layover in LEIGHton", he suggested that it be the title of my memoir. (Because as you all know my middle name is Leigh.) So I'm waiting by the a small park, across from the V.F.W. Post 256 (shout out to my dad) and I notice the banners hanging from the poles "Leighton - A fountain of opportunity" (Which could also be the title to my memoir.) And then I spy the Fountain. Beautiful.

So a short half an hour later I reach Hazleton. Dave and Heather meet me at the station, take me to the apartment, and head back to the office. I run downstairs to the pizza/hoagie place on the bottom floor, get myself a nice eggplant parm and head back upstairs. Lights out. Big day tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that . . .

The only passenger who didn’t buy the Atlantic City $35 roundtrip special.

So I didn’t read the fine print very carefully. That Greyhound bus from Brooklyn stops through the City where I have to transfer to Susquehanna Trailways after a 90 minute layover. The best part is that the Susquehanna Trailways line stops at a different terminal than the Greyhound terminal one building over. So after carefully maneuvering the escalator because the elevator doesn’t go down to the terminal level (I thought either one of my bags or I wasn’t going to make it) I found the terminal. This is a forgotten place and I hope none of you ever have to spend any significant amount of time here. The cheery baroque music being piped in does not make up for the uncomfortable metal seats or the dingy surroundings.

I was also the only white person on the Atlantic City Greyhound bus. And although this might be an overstatement, I felt like I was one of the freedom riders coming down from the North, pre-Civil Rights to march and sing “We Shall Overcome.” I take that back. It’s not an overstatement. This time, right now, is just as an important moment in history, maybe even more important. Not only are people’s civil rights and civil liberties at stake, so is our economy, national security, world standing, and the list goes on and on.

I just spotted a bunch of working class whites get in line for what I believe to be the Allentown bus. Should I ask them where they stand on the election?

I’ve been really stressed out the past week or so, trying to take care of everything before taking off for these five weeks. I kept saying that as soon as I got on the bus I would feel relieved and be able to relax. Well I was on the bus, then I got off the bus, and now I’m waiting for another bus. I hope Barack appreciates all of this. I’m ready to go; where’s the bus?

Day One

Well, I've packed up the apartment, given the keys to my amazing Danish subletters, stashing my valuables at Scotty's apartment, and am waiting for the car service to roll up and whisk me away to the Brooklyn Greyhound station. (That's right, there's a station in Brooklyn near Flatbush and Livingston.) I'll be getting into Hazleton around 7:30 pm tonight. For the short term, I'll be crashing with Dave and his girlfriend, Heather at their apartment until they find a long-term host family. I've spoken to Scott on the phone and he seems cool. He claims he and his girlfriend have two pet rats that they keep in a cage. I wonder what their names are. I keep thinking of that Smashing Pumpkins line "Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage . . ." What song was that anyway? Anyhoo, better get curbside. More to follow . .