I was riding in the very front row of a charter bus headed north to Athens, T.N. to coach the last lacrosse game of the season. I like sitting up front because the big windows make me feel like I’m on one of those weird trains that ride around the food courts at malls during the holidays. Everyone you pass gives you a condescending smile as their way of expressing how happy they are to not be you. While I find the condescending smiles from the people in the RVs annoying, and a bit ironic, I’d still rather be up front because this means I’m not in the back next to the toilet, which, more often than not, smells like what I imagine the inside of a warthog’s poop shoot smells like.
As I stared out the window and thought about all of glorious things I was going to do once lacrosse was over, a cloud blacker than Lady Gaga’s soul rolled authoritatively over the pale blue sky. Then, like a big, fluffy machine gun, the soulless clouds started firing bullets of hail at our bus. The wind picked up ferociously and with it, it brought any loose sticks, rocks and small cats crashing into the front, side, top and back of the bus.
I looked over at our bus driver who suddenly became my savior. To my dismay, my newfound savior was un-heroically fumbling around on the control panel like a blind man. I assumed he was looking to activate the windshield wipers since we were knee-deep in a tornado and he had yet to turn them on. After about five minutes he gave up and decided the windshield wipers weren’t necessary to our survival.
I took a mental note of his short-lived perseverance before I accepted that I was going to die. I was going to die on a charter bus with a bunch of people who I yell at everyday. The paramedics were going to find me after the storm and simply shake their heads in pity when they saw that I was wearing an awkward fitting Under Armour tracksuit and tennis shoes. One of them would probably sacrifice their own garments so that the last image my mom saw of me wasn’t one where I looked like an 80-year-old synchronized swimmer. In order to do that, though, they’d need a crane to lift up my lifeless body, which I assume would weigh more than my living body, if that were possible.
Just as I was throwing together a mass text detailing my last goodbyes the storm cleared up. Our bus driver used this as an opportunity to pull into a rest stop and investigate the windshield wiper situation. He called corporate headquarters to “troubleshoot” the problem. I can’t say for sure what was said on the other end of the phone, but after he talked to them he turned a knob near the steering wheel and the wipers fired right up. I heard him say, “Oooooooh,” and then, without an apology or explanation, he whipped the car into drive and we continued our trip.