1. Make sure you have a friend or relative drop you off that will be responsible enough to remember to pick you up when you get back. (I’ll tell you why later).
2. Don’t arrive any earlier than 10 minutes before your bus leaves. At 11 minutes you may have a panic attack and leave.
3. Walk into the bus station and go to the front desk. Yes, there will be someone there and the line won’t necessarily be long, but the person standing there will probably be in a heated conversation about some soap opera. DON’T INTERRUPT. The “usually” female clerk will at some point (most you may wait is 10 mintues) laugh hysterically and slap her hand on the counter exposing her long, oddly beautiful, fingernails. If you interrupt, she may slit your neck (Joking….kinda).
4. The “usually” female clerk will ask for your tickets. DON’T TEAR ANY TICKETS YOURSELF. I thought I was helping the clerk and tore off my first ticket. It took me, let’s say, 10 seconds, to tear the first ticket and she watched slightly. After I tore the ticket, she goes, “Oooh, you’re not supposed to do that! You may not be able to get on the bus now.” And if this happens, you, like me, will be thinking in your head, “Why did that bitch stand there an let me tear that ticket?” DON’T SAY THIS TO HER THOUGH. Throat slit, remember?
5. If this took 10 minutes, your bus should be loading at your terminal, not leaving on time, of course. This is also helpful to avoid having to realize you’re about to get on a greyhound bus with a multi-ethnic version of the cast Roseanne.
6. You will meet your bus driver. If you are dressed nicely, he will give you a suspicious look. So, I encourage bandanas, piercings, baggy jeans, chains….normal stuff like that. No suits or kapri pants.
7. When you get on the bus….you kinda want to be in the middle of the pack. If you go first and take a window seat, it is likely either a woman with a lot of bags or a clown (who kinda looks like John Goodman) that just left a strip joint will sit next to you. If you go last, you will have to choose between someone who just got down doing a triple shift at Waffle House or an unaware farter. Neither are friendly looking.
8. While the bus is in motion, do not engage directly in conversation immediately with anyone. Play it cool. If you managed to sit by yourself, PLEASE PUT A BAG NEXT TO YOU. There is a 91% chance there is a middle-aged woman sitting across from you that has a doll buckled in next to her. She could reach over and grab you while your sleeping and ask, “Do I know you?” Snatch a way from her and yell, “No!” She will leave you alone.
9. When you arrive to either your destination or next station. You better make sure you have all your belongs. Let’s say you leave your cell phone on your seat. You just screwed yourself. But for my hard workers out there, here’s what you do. Once, you realize that you have left your phone, go to the bus driver who should still be standing by the bus with the door closed. Tell him that you left your cell phone on the bus. He will laugh and say, “Ha, you can kiss that shit goodbye!” DON’T GET ANGRY. Give him a sad face. He will then tell you to go tell the guys getting your bags off the bus. Yep, this doesn’t help. The bag guys will tell you to go into the station and tell a clerk at the desk. Yep, this time you have to wait in a long line for some reason. After 30 minutes to an hour, you will reach the person at the counter. You will spend time explaining your situation. She will respond, “Why the hell he told you to come up here? Go tell him to let you on that bus and get your phone!” When you return to the bus. The driver will be sitting on the bus with the door closed this time. He will open the door. You tell him that you were told he has to let you on his bus. He will shake his head. Let you on. You will find your phone wedged behind the seat. Play it cool. Walk past the bus driver. He will ask you if you found the phone. Smile lightly and say, “Yes.” He will grunt, as if to say, “Lucky fool.” But you won, so fuck him. Get your bags and leave.
10. Whether you’re arriving from your destination or returning. If you do not have that trustworthy person waiting for you at the bus station as I suggested in rule number 1, your baggage will be stolen within 15 mintues if you are in a large city, or if you are in a rural area, your underwear will be missing from your bags. But you got your cell phone. Winning.
(Note: These rules are applicable 14% of the time.)