Let’s face it, the Greyhound is gross. But it’s cheap, and when you’re in a long distance relationship, or within driving distance from your home, it’s usually the better option than flying or the train. But each time you step foot onto that confining, sticky cesspool, you play a dangerous game: who will be your seat companion for the duration of your trip? Whether it be a an hour-long cinch or a half-day doozy, the person sitting next to you can make all the difference in your Greyhound experience. So, with no further ado, I give you the ten people you will sit next to on the Greyhound.
The Sleeper does just that: sleeps. Seems fairly innocuous, right? WRONG! The Sleeper forgets every rule about personal space once unconscious and will happily invade yours with complete abandon. You will often find yourself nudging The Sleeper’s head off of your shoulder, or cranking up the volume of your headphones to drown out the ground-shaking snores. In the best case scenario, The Sleeper will have chosen the window seat and be leaning against the side of the bus instead of you. But be warned: The Sleeper never stays in one position and eventually will be drawn to your pillow-y shoulder.
2. The Stinker
Probably one of the more unfortunate seat companions for both parties. Be it because of body odour, a spilled lunch, or just plain old gas, The Stinker can magically turn a two hour long trip into a ten hour ride. You know it, The Stinker knows it, the whole bus knows it: The Stinker just reeks. Now, there can be varying degrees of The Stinker, but the general outcome is you being the first one on and the last one off the bus at the rest stops. Your only salvation when sitting beside The Stinker is the knowledge that your trip will soon be at an end and you can escape the pungent patron.
Be very weary of The Talker, as they can sometimes be disguised as a quiet, bookworm type. But if The Talker picks up any hint that you might be interested in conversation, it’s game over. You’re done. Toast. You will end up talking for the entire five hours of your ride, and your poor chapped lips and parched throat will forever begrudge you for engaging in conversation. And you will feel extremely guilty about not finishing your homework/reading your book/writing that essay that you planned on doing during the ride. On the plus side, the trip will seem only minutes long because of all your chatting and you might have made a new BFF for life.
4.The Bad Traveller
It’s easy to spot The Bad Traveller as you walk down the aisle to choose a spot. Instead of a bored glance, The Bad Traveller’s eyes will plead for help at the thought of the long journey ahead. Almost without fail, The Bad Traveller will be soloing the trip and will rely on you for support/comfort/snacks. It is likely that The Bad Traveller will suffer from one or more of the following: motion sickness, sever to mild anxiety, have a flue/cold/food poisoning, homesickness, claustrophobia, or agoraphobia. Unlike most other companions, you can choose how to deal with The Bad Traveller; but if you decide to help, make sure you know where the vomit bags are located.
The Bagger knows some trick the rest of us don’t and can defy the laws of physics to fit more bags than you thought possible onto the bus. Every centimeter of The Bagger’s space is occupied with stuff, but by some magical force, none of it will be touching you. You will often marvel as The Bagger easily juggles dozens of Coach, TNA, reusable, and duffle bags while waiting in line. The Bagger will never reveal the secrets to living life like a snail (i.e. carrying around your house), but you might be offered a snack from one of the bags crammed in the overhead compartment.
For whatever reason, The Two-Seater just NEEDS that extra space and will do anything to keep everyone else away. Is many cases, The Two-Seater will claim a spot, plant a backpack or jacket down in the aisle seat, put on headphone, and pretend to be asleep. This ensures that no one, not even the bus driver, will be able to steal away the coveted two seats. Maybe an hour after the bus has departed, The Two-Seater will suddenly wake up, feign surprise that the companion seat is empty, and happily lie down and actually go to sleep. It is okay to secretly hate this person for this genius tactic.
Sitting beside The Child is mostly awkward because you can’t help but wonder where this tiny human being’s parents are. If you happen to sit in one of the four front seats, the task of guarding The Child has become your responsibility, as well. You don’t fully understand how you got into this situation, but your parental instincts will kick in at some point. After all, you’re the only person The Child can actually rely on for a real adult role model, because no one in their right mind should ever put a child on a bus alone. You’re doing the right thing, you brave soul.
It’s difficult to top The Do-Gooder when it comes to Greyhound companions. Almost too compassionate and understanding, The Do-Gooder knows exactly when you walk to talk, or be alone, and will even offer to buy you a candy bar at the rest stop. You will remember this trip because The Do-Gooder will do everything to make your journey as comfortable as possible. The Do-Gooder will remind you of a kindly grandparent, and you will feel a strong bond with this person even if no words are shared between you two. Unfortunately, The Do-Gooder is a rare find, and you are unlikely to stumble upon more than one in your Greyhound adventures.
Once in a while, you will have to take a Greyhound bus with a friend. It’s usually because neither of you has a car, or you’re both just poor, but you will be sharing your Greyhound space with someone you know. If the trip is only a few hours in length, this can be an exciting event; you’ll giggle about the shenanigans you’re sure to encounter at your destination. But if the ride is a long one, The Buddy can become your worst nightmare. The tiniest annoying habit gets blown out of proportion, and you will suppress the surge to strangle The Buddy. Just take a deep breath and do shots as soon as you arrive. Friendship mended.
10.The Other You
Just like you, The Other You wants to get through this trip alive. You are both content to ignore each other by reading books, watching movies, or listening to music. Neither of you is interested in finding a life-long travel buddy, or overstepping personal bubbles. However, you’re both worried about the other person being one of the other nine companions in disguise. So you will sit quietly beside each other, avoid eye-contact, and busy yourselves with any task possible. But since you both fear the possibility of conversation, there is almost no threat of The Other You straying to the Dark Side. If only Netflix worked with the Greyhound’s terrible internet…