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The Bus Ride From Hell

You may be the hapless victim of circumstance, but that doesn't mean you have to act or think like one.

In the telling, this story is rather amusing. In real life, it was incredibly frustrating. Upsetting. And very hard on the bladder.

This was the Gilligan's Island of bus rides. A short 25 minute trip that stretched to five hours. With nary a modern convenience (read: potty) in sight.

I was on a ski vacation and took one day off to visit a nearby town for some shopping and sight-seeing. It started nice and easy. I arrived, I shopped, I drank some nice hot apple cider. It was a good trip, I thought, as I boarded the bus for the return. A blizzard had just blown up, but I was warm and comfy in my padded seat. Then ... word arrived that a tractor-trailer had just jackknifed across the only road in or out of town, blocking traffic in both directions and causing multi-car pileups. We weren't going anywhere.

Not to worry, said the bus company. We might be delayed an hour, but we're pretty resourceful up here in the mountains and we'll get moving shortly.

Uh huh. After 90 minutes, the bus finally began moving. Hooray! I'd still get back in plenty of time for the special dinner plans I'd made months ago for my family to celebrate us all being together. Or so I thought. Yes, we were moving, but at the speed of a tiptoeing mouse.

Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.

Plan B? Yeah, and throw in a Plan C for good measure. You never know. Stuff happens.


A lemon is falling through water. It has been pricked, causing bubbles to trail alongside and above it as it sinks towards the bottom of the photo.
Lemons into lemonade? Sometimes you just want to sink the lemon.

That whole lemonade out of lemons thing.

It was very, very slow progress. I decided I might as well make the best of the situation by finishing a business book I had on my iPhone's Kindle.

I did. And I took notes. And I outlined a plan to apply what I learned to my business. I felt very good about the progress I made. Which was a lot more than that bus made.

Hey, was that a snail that just raced past?!

Biology beats the evil eye. Every time.

The hardest thing about being on a bus creeping along in super-slow motion was recognizing that certain biological needs weren't slowed down in sympatico. We got hungry. (I ate the chocolates I'd bought to bring back to my kids.) We were thirsty. (Drinking as little as possible, because....) We needed a restroom break.

This was not a tour bus. It did not come equipped with a toilet. It did, however, provide a large, moving barrier against the prying eyes of traffic for the guys on the bus to step outside and do their business along the side of the road. And then to jog a few feet to catch up with the bus and climb back on board. We women sitting by the windows could do nothing but give them the evil eye when they returned. Keeping our own legs tightly crossed, of course.

Stay positive. Negativity just breeds more of the same and it doesn't make you feel any better.

Fighting the dying of the light. And that of the phone battery.

What do you do? No sense just sitting there fuming over a situation in which I had no control. Don't call me Pollyanna, but I did resolve to focus instead on any positives I could come up with:

  • Well, I finished my book. Which was a good thing, because the eye strain from taking notes in the dark was getting to me.

  • I'd come up with a new business strategy. Not bad for a vacation day.

  • I wasn't outside in the blizzard. Thank goodness for at least being moderately warm!

  • I wasn't hurt in the horrible wreck I saw as we slowly inched past the scene of the accident. Even in the dark, the pile-up was impressive.

  • And I was able to nurse the last few percentages of battery power left on my phone. Just enough to have texted my husband the situation a few hours earlier and tell him to go ahead with dinner plans without me. The positive? Well, the best I could come up with on that one were the pity points I'd racked up to cash in another time. And I was impressed with myself that I could cajole 1% power to last as long as it did. Ultimately to the end of the ride.

And there was one more. After finally arriving five hours later, I made a beeline to a popular restaurant where I'd earlier tried (and failed) to get a reservation. First to their restroom. (Ahhh!) Then to the hostess stand, where at such a late hour they were able to seat me at the bar. I actually had a wonderful dinner and a great conversation with another woman who sat next to me. A local, who told some terrific stories. Turned out, she had many more problems in her life than the temporary inconvenience I'd suffered sitting on a bus for five hours. She loved having someone to talk (read: complain) to and I realized that overall I had it pretty good in comparison.

Laura's Quick Tips

  1. Focus on what you CAN do, not on what you can't.

  2. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Think about the positives or, if you can't do that, how much worse it COULD have been.

  3. Remember: this too shall pass.

The moral of the story? Sh*t happen. Deal with it. As best you can. Make the best of a bad situation and focus on thinking and doing something positive or constructive with it, rather than stewing in your frustrations. Negativity just breeds more of the same and it doesn't make you feel any better. Oh, and keep a battery-powered phone charger handy at all times.

A Porta-potty wouldn't hurt, either.

We've all been through stuff. The challenge is to put it in perspective. Sometimes that "stuff" is really awful. Most times, though, it's just awfully inconvenient. So, if you can, turn it around. Look for the silver lining, etc. Here are some other musings - drawn from personal experience! - on the subject: Read more about it here >

Laura Doman smiling

I'm Laura Doman, a former tech industry sales executive, hands-on mom, voice & TV/film actress, and improv performer. I create memorable characters that tell my client's stories, from the friendly CEO touting new upgrades to your sassy best gal pal dispensing some necessary, real-world advice...Let's Talk!


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