It was the evening of the 6th when I left Toronto on the Megabus. I was America-bound. I slept as much as possible on the bus, but had unfortunately been landed with a neighbour who was three-quarters arm. It was like sparring with the kraken.
At some obscene hour, I was woken up to go and get through border control. I rolled out of my chair and dragged my bags to the queue. When I finally was asked to step up, I made an absolute pigs ear of the interview and answered honestly – always a no-no at border control. For example, they hated that I didn’t know when I was going to be back in the UK or whether I would be coming back to Toronto from Harrisburg. I was promptly rewarded with a fingerprint scan and a foul look. That look grew even more sour when I couldn’t get all of my fingers together on the machine without the use of my other hand because of my ailment. That must have looked hilariously intentional, so I would forgive the guy for having, “you must be taking the piss” plastered all over his stormy face. The claw had struck again. That was all supposed to cost me $6 American, and you can guess how it went down when I said I didn’t have any American to pay with. Admittedly, this wasn’t my finest work. Luckily, the cost was waived, and I scuttled off in an attempt to avoid the back-room interrogation I so richly deserved.
Somewhere in Pennsylvania we pulled over for a rest stop. Immediately, two of my American stereotypes were confirmed. First, I asked the driver to open the luggage compartment, which she did, but reluctantly. I spotted my bag and stepped in to grab my wallet. She asked me what I was doing and gave me an earful before explaining that if I had fallen, the first thing I would have done would have been to sue Megabus. I was a little taken aback and said, “I’m British, I wouldn’t know how to” before I could stop myself. Weirdly, she seemed to feel better. Secondly, on entering the service station it became apparent that everything came in HUGE sizes. From nachos to Slushies, amounts could be bought whereby consumption might well have ended in a hospitalisation. Pair that with the fact that none of it costs that much, and “voila”, you have one of the main tenants of obesity in the States.
Then again, it’s just so damn hard to judge when you spend the next 4 hours working your way through a carrier bag of snacks.