so last week i took a bus to florida and back.
it was almost thirty hours long, one way.
i have spoken a bit about it, but now that i’ve had some time to reflect, i’d like to share more.
riding the bus is kind of fun and exciting.
there’s lots of opportunities for people-watching, and even talking to some of them.
there’s a sense of community on the bus, as fifty-some people slog it out at stop after stop after stop. at the bust stations, as opposed to gas stations or truck stops, everyone piles in, and sits down, with a sigh which means, “this just blows, huh?”
and you kind of nod or mumble some sort of assent — “yah, it blows alright.”
at gas stations or truck stops, where no one new is getting on or off the bus, you have to rush to get back to the bus on time, because the driver doesn’t go through any steps to ensure everyone’s there.
it is simply your responsibility to be on the thing when it pulls away.
i am sure a couple people got left along the way to florida.
seats that had people before suddenly did not — but their stuff was still there.
there were exactly zero people i met on the bus rides that i would actually want to spend any real time with. i chatted with several people, of all ages, sexes, colors, and none of them were interesting in the least. most were just plain dumb, and while i hate sound so harsh, it simply was a fact, and there is no two ways around it: the intelligence level of the people i spoke to on the bus was astoundingly low.
the person who most qualified as “interesting” was only so because she was so very stubborn about talking. (this was good for me, since i’m so bad at carrying conversations.) but she needed no help from me. she just kept talking, and talking, and talking.
i learned about a whole lot of things in her life. her kids, her boyfriend(s), her mom, her “schoolin'” her new job “drivin’ rigs” and
her ex husband.
one cool thing about her was her hair. she had one of those birthmarks that made a two-inch spot of her bangs perfectly white, while the rest of her hair was dark brown.
i thought that was really neat, actually.
the only time either ride that i didn’t feel safe was on the way home. somewhere in tennesee, the pleasant and quiet older black gentlemen i was sitting next to got off, and was replaced by a late-thirties white guy. this dood had full-on yanni hair, complete with molester mustache. he climbed up onto the bus, and i was like… “oh, no…”
sure enough, he sat next to me.
he smelled funny.
not like B.O. (and believe me, there’s plenty of that on the bus) but just not right.
he said that he had had to stay behind and “finish a job” while his boss had gone on ahead to the next one. i believe he was referring to construction of some sort, and that may well have been the source of the offending odor, but still, it took me almost twenty minutes before i stopped noticing it.
then there was simply the “vibe” this guy was giving off.
i was totally creeped out, and i really have nothing i can point to and say, “that! that’s why!”
i was glad when he got off the bus.
there was one older black lady, on the way home, who i knew as soon as i spotted her at the bus stop would be the bane of my ride.
she was heading to chicago, which means she’d be on the bus the whole time i was.
and she did not stop talking, loudly, during the entire trip.
now, i am a patient person, really. i don’t get annoyed with people easily, and i am fairly forgiving when they do annoy me.
but there were a couple times that i thought i was going to lose it with this lady — and i was wearing headphones for most of the trip. i only had to listen to her during stops.
i can’t imagine how people who didn’t bring ipods dealt with the racket.
i’m sitting at the abbey coffeehouse, just off of pennsylvania avenue in downtown indianapolis.
it’s nice here: there’s a girl playing a guitar and signing like lisa loeb, there’s espresso machine sounds in the background, and there are people sitting around studying or surfing or chatting.
i have started reading a new book that i checked out from the library:
“Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality” (Donald Miller)
it is an interesting book, and not at all your typical book about the christian life.
I started to sin about the time I turned ten. I believe it was ten, although it could have been earlier, but ten is about the age a boy starts to sin, so I am sure it was in there somewhere. Girls begin to sin when they are twenty–three or something, but they do life much softer by their very nature and so need less of a run at things.
I sinned only in bits at first—small lies, inconsistencies to teachers about homework and that sort of thing. I learned the craft well, never looking my teacher in the eye, always speaking quickly, from the diaphragm, never feeble about the business of deception.
“Where is your homework?” my teacher would ask.
“I lost it.”
“You lost it yesterday. You lost it last week.”
“I am terrible about losing things. I need to learn.” (Always be self–depricating.)
“What am I going to do with you, Donald?”
“I am grateful for your patience.” (Always be grateful.)
“I should call your mother.”
“She’s deaf. Boating accident. Piranha.” (Always be dramatic. Use hand gestures.)
donald miller’s writing style is very informal, and his way of describing what it is he’s been thinking about hits me just right, at least this month it is.
at a time when i am looking at so much in the world with fresh eyes, wondering eyes, eyes that are trying to discern the real from the fake, to read his words with informal questions, discomforts, doubts and just plain uncomfort at this christian faith thing…
well, anyhoo, i’m enjoying it.
when i was a kid, my parents, my mom mostly, but my dad too, read the bourne identitty, and the following books.
i have always been a reader, and i tried to read these books at my mom’s request, as she knew i would like them, but i tried, one time, and i didn’t get into it.
now, at age thirty-two, i am in the middle of watching the movie, not because my mom liked the book but because i like matt damon, and i checked out some nintendo gamecpube games from a movie-rental place, and for signing up for an account i got a free movie, too, and the bourne identity had matt damon in it.
and suddenly i am finding myself thinking i missed something big.
now, i’m not an indie snob. i like the bands i like, no matter what other people think.
but suddenly i’m faced with the idea that i had the chance to like some books, in the eighties…
and here it is the year 2006, and i have never read them…
and they are likely very good.
to make up for this oversight in my personal inventory of “have read”, i have requested all of the books related to this series that i can find from my local library.
mom: you were right, and i was wrong.
sometimes things occur to me.
things that mean something in the grand scheme of thing of things.
and then they slip away, and i try to blog about them, and i have no idea what it was i was going to say…
it is frustrating.
this has been one busy weekend!
i don’t think i have gotten less sleep, drank more beer, or spent more time with people i love hanging out with in three days before than this weekend.
it was so amazing, strange, yet good to meet a lot of these people in person.
some of the people i met this weekend i, and this is no exaggeration, have chatted in AIM with almost every single day of the week for almost five three years, and up to five in some cases.
people like tom wiebe, jono guthrie, kyle jessup, johan sölve, alex pilson.
i had met jim van heule before, three times in fact (first in 2001 at summit in orlando, then i had lunch with him at the claddagh in indy, then at some bar in chicago, when we both happened to be staying in hotels five minutes away from each other one night).
but of the eighty-plus people who were there this weekend, most of them i had not met before.
and it was so fun doing so.
of course some i *clicked* with more than others. some were surprise (some in really positive ways (hi kerry!)), and some were exactly like i expected (hi tom!) but spending some real face-to-face time with people i have spent years with in chat, talking about lasso, a product we love, or just nothing, or watching girls (some ugly, some not) or watching guys (some frat and stupid, some fat and funny) or just sitting around thinking about how freaking tired we are having spent tooooo much time up talking/drinking/chatting/socializing…
anyway, this weekend was one of the best in my life, and i am so thankful i got to go.
and that is even when i’m sitting here on a greyhound bus, at 10:03 PM, one and one-half hours north of fort lauderdale, and only a fraction into my long-ass trip (i left florida at 8:30 pm, and i get into indianapolis at 2:00 AM — wednesday morning — today is effing MONDAY.
on my last bus ride, if you’ll recall, i was sitting with a drug dealer who’d gone through my bag when i wasn’t around…
after a thirty hour bus ride, i am in fort lauderdale, florida for lasso summit 2006.
the bus ride was more or less awful, but not, actually, as bad as i had feared.
i started to get a bit stir-crazy by the end of it. really. ready. to. get. off. the. bus.
for a good deal of the trip from atlanta to florida, i sat next to a guy who tried to sell me ecstasy, over and over.
when we got to orlando for a stop, the driver told us that it would be a quick stop, and to leave our stuff in our seats, so that new people getting on wouldn’t steal our seats.
then the bus pulled away with the drug dealer, and my bag with my powerbook in it, but without me.
fortunately, i was able to get on the next bus to ft lauderdale, and that bus actually caught up with my bus, and at a truck stop i was able to hop onto the correct one.
all my stuff had been, uh, gone through a bit.
my camera and reading light and some other little things were in a different compartment in my bag than i had left them (O_o) but it was, at least, still all there.
the drug dealer informed me that he had used my pillow. sorry.
i got an email from my very good friend will this morning, with a link to a page at the air force website where there’s a picture of him flying his B-52 over afghanistan, taken by the refueling plane, in flight.
SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) — A B-52 Stratofortress, flown by Capt. Will Byers and Maj. Tom Aranda, prepares for refueling over Afghanistan during a close-air-support mission. The crew is deployed from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)
it’s not about singing heart-lifting songs
it’s not about providing christian family
it’s not about tithing or about finding purpose
it’s not about being content and happy
it’s not about mothers it’s not about dads
it’s not about children, or siblings, or veterans
it’s not about grandparents or the next generation
it’s certainly not about fancy new buildings
it’s not about filling in blanks on your paper
it’s not about turning to page twelve sixty three
it’s not about passing notes down to your classmates
it’s not about doughnut holes or spilling your coffee
it’s not about race, it is not about strongholds
it’s not about making up for our past sins
it’s about loving our neighbors, and turning our cheeks
it’s about making disciples of all of the nations
The technology is multi-touch screens, developed at NYU (as per post on the Cult of Mac blog). And the interesting part is that Apple has patented these interactions, which means… a TabletMac?