If you are considering taking a bus from Provo to Los Angeles any time in the near future, I would strongly recommend that you first take a few moments to strike yourself in the head with a rock.
I present this tip to you because I recently took the bus to L.A. and back again, all in one weekend, and the only question I have now is who’s been slipping drugs into my food and trying to kill me by making me do stupid things?
The major problem with the trip to L.A. was that the driver was way, way too friendly. His name was Buck, or something equivalent, and he was a middle-aged jolly fellow from the mid-west somewhere, and he chose to delight his passengers with some of his enthralling bus-driving-related stories. I wanted to sleep; what I got was bus lore, at a volume just loud enough to be too loud if you wanted to sleep.
For instance, he mentioned that he had been driving his bus in Utah just a few short weeks earlier when he had hit an elk in the middle of the road. Now I happen to be attending BYU on a scholarship from the Elks Lodge, so I was rather upset to hear that Buck the Happy-Go-Lucky Bus Driver had hit one of their members, but I didn’t say anything.
The elk story naturally led into several titillating tales about hunting, which he continued to tell for several hundred miles because the woman up front kept encouraging him by seeming interested. She probably was interested; she kind of looked like an elk. No one else on the bus was interested, though, so Buck could have just told her the stories in a low, quiet voice so as not to bother the other passengers, but he didn’t. He talked really loud, making sure that we could all hear every fascinating word, and if we hadn’t stopped for lunch and gotten a break from him when we did, the inevitable result would have been open rebellion and mutiny.
We stopped for lunch in Fillmore (town motto: “We’re Somewhere in Utah — Keep Looking; You’ll Find Us”). I was sitting in a greasy spoon diner, eating my greasy bacon greasy cheese greasy burger, when a greasy young man came in and sat down greasily at a greasy booth. He was apparently a regular, because the greasy waitress, whose name, I’m guessing, was Flo, knew him. She even called him “Sugar,” which for all I know could have been his name. The following conversation, which I am not making up, took place:
FLO: Hiya, Sugar! Y’all got your hair cut!
SUGAR: Yeah, I’m going on my mission in a few days.
FLO: Oh, really? (pause) Well, y’all want some coffee?
SUGAR: Yeah, one last cup before I go.
I don’t think any comment is necessary.
Anyway, we changed bus drivers in Las Vegas, thank goodness, and the rest of the trip was a success. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Los Angeles, but I think I like Provo even more, because when you get right down to it, going to Provo — with all its problems and shortcomings — is much, much easier than going to Los Angeles.
(Eric D. Snider is a freshman at BYU. He is from Lake Elsinore, California, where he worked at his grandfather’s Greyhound bus station for five years.)
I must have been hurting for ideas this week, because this column was more or less directly from the Lake Elsinore News several months earlier. I had taken the bus trip in September, for crying out loud, and this was March.
The story in the diner is one of my all-time favorite true-life anecdotes. I told it at my Mission Conference one year, in front of everyone.
This bus trip also resulted in an amusing story that pertains to the town of Beaver, Utah. It is an utterly harmless story, but it cannot be told in mixed company. Also, it must be told in person and not written. So if you see me sometime, you can ask me about it.