My boarding pass reads 9:45 pm. After four hours and forty five minutes of Fox News, its 10:45 pm. I’m still sitting on the metal, attached seats of the Tallahassee Greyhound, on Tennessee St. My ass squirms. The stench of a left over Greyhound Service Food eight piece fried chicken meal combined with poverty and freshly mopped floors permeates.
A lanky black college kid approaches the vacant seat of the man next to me. I tell him that someone’s sitting there. He ignores me. In a few minutes, a short, stout, old, black man, that’s in need of a shave, walks towards the college kid. His face is mean. He says, “Ya sittin in my seat.” The college kid replies, “What?” in a dumbfounded look. The old man repeats, “Ya sitting in my seat.” His deep voice is penetrating. The college kid replies by moving to another seat.
Listening to “Dane Cook” on my Ipod, my dimples are protruding so much that my cheeks hurt. It’s 11:15 pm and we’ve just past Lake City on our way to Jacksonville. The bus is silent and dark. I can hear the faint whispers of the passengers that sit behind me. Directly behind me, sits the same old man that had the encounter with the college kid. In a deep voice, he blurts out, “Ow God…please forgive me of my sins.” I shudder. “This dude is crazy!” I think. He repeats, “Ow God…please forgive me of my sins.” I lean forward and cover my eyes with my hands.
Amid the bustle of SUV’s around me, I open the passenger door to my little brother Jonny’s 96 white Isuzu Rodeo. My mom and Drew, my older brother, are seated in the back. They waited an hour to pick me up. My mom reaches over my head rest and tickles my neck. I squirm and say, “Mom stop!” She says, “Ow…come on you big baby.”
We’re on our way to Osprey Hall, the destination of Jonny’s dorm, in University of North Florida.
To save money, for three days of Thanksgiving Weekend, my family and I are cooped up in Jonny’s dorm room. My mom sleeps in Jonny’s sheet-less bed on the back of the wall. Drew sleeps on the Futon on the side of the wall. Jonny and I sleep in the air mattress in the middle of the room; it gradually deflates as the night progresses.
There is only one real blanket, so my mom receives it. Drew has this red Sponge Bob blanket that’s so short it barely reached past his knees. And, Jonny and I are each given a skimpy sheet.
It’s cold in the dorm room, but if we shut off the air conditioning, the room gets moldy. Therefore, I sleep with my red and blue stripped Ralph Lauren sweater. My mom sleeps wearing her favorite pair of blue jeans and a Hippie looking shirt, with socks. Drew sleeps in his Joe Boxer pajamas and plain white V-neck shirt with socks. And, Jonny sleeps shirtless with a pair of black Footlocker basketball shorts; he’s apparently adapted to the cold.
We are displeased with Jonny’s living habits. Expired underwear, the Publix brand of Fruit Loops with no milk, and a sink filled with unwashed Dallor General plastic cups and bowls, along with crusty socks that smell, is Jonny’s version of self sufficiency.
The day after Thanksgiving, Jonny suggests we go to movies in Tinsletown and see Beowolf. I kind of want to see Beowolf, too. Within ten minutes of the movie, however, mom has enough. Eyes closed and face contorted in fear, her head rotates forty-five degrees to the right. She refuses to watch anymore.
The next day we drive to the St. Augustine Outlet mall. Ironically, I only buy one item; whereas Drew, who’s usually frugal, buys five to six items. His total is over three hundred dollars. After Drew’s third item, our feet became sore. Drew is determined though and traverses every store. We decide to leave Drew and grab some fruit smoothies in the food court. Finally, Drew’s shopping had ended.
For dinner, we eat at this Hookah restaurant. After appetizers of couscous and pita bread with hummus, we ask the waitress to recommend a hookah flavor. She convinces us to try double apple cherry. Within a few minutes, mom feels a little light headed. She then excuses herself from the couch pillows that we are sitting on.
She comes back from the bathroom with a story. She says that she did her thing in the bathroom and then tried to wash her hands but couldn’t. There was soap, and she lathered up, but both hot and cold knobs for the sink were removed. So she resorted by wiping the soap off her hands with tissue paper; there weren’t any paper towels left.
Arriving at the Osprey Hall parking lot from dinner, Jonny develops a plan. Jonny and mom leave the car first. Mom appears to be escorting Jonny back to his dorm room. After a few minutes elapse, Drew and I head to Jonny’s dorm room. Appearing to be students of UNF, I carry Jonny’s backpack and Drew carries Jonny’s psychology textbook. We walk at a moderately fast rate. Almost up the stairs to Jonny’s floor, a girl approaches. We simultaneously say “Hi” and walk past her, without waiting for a response.
In Jonny’s dorm room, Drew and Jonny whisper because they both have deep voices and the walls are thin. We all then take turns at the bathroom. Going in the bathroom first, mom takes a thirty minute shower. Then Drew showers. Meanwhile, I channel surf the TV. I stick to I Love New York on VHI. Jonny, on Facebook, updates his profile. About five minutes elapse, Drew’s out of the shower. He demands to use the computer. Jonny concedes his seat at the computer for a seat on his bed, next to mom, who’s attempting to rest. Two commercials later, we hear loud snores from mom. Reaching in his pocket for his Blackberry, Drew checks his voicemail. Realizing no one important called, Drew’s body flops on the futon. He’s soon asleep. Then, Jonny and I realize our only light on is from the TV.
Now, our Thanksgiving jaunt is almost over. Jonny is a Resident Assistant of his dorm, Landing. He is told that he can’t leave Landing for Thanksgiving. We have no choice; we are a family and we stick together. Therefore, I go to Jacksonville by Greyhound. Drew flies a connected flight from New York to Atlanta to Jacksonville. And, mom flies from North Palm Beach to Tampa to Jacksonville.