After leaving Houston, we had planned on a few days in Lafayette on our way to New Orleans, where one of my best friends lives. I couldn’t wait to see Katy, so I hopped a bus and headed directly to NOLA while the BF drove Toa to Lafayette.
I practiced mindfulness on the bus, as there was not much else to do. I boarded early and snagged a prime window seat, only to give it up right before we left to allow a family to sit together. So I was stuck on an aisle seat next to a guy who leaned up against the window and angled his legs a bit into my space and fell asleep. I claimed my space in a quiet way so my leg was up against his, mingling our borders a bit. Nothing bad, just close. In the past, I would have pulled away and tried to make myself take up less space, but not today.
I had hoped to get a lot of work done — 6 hours! Leave the driving to them! But the seats were too close together for me to get my laptop at any decent angle on which to work. I didn’t even have enough space to eat the chef salad I bought at the bus station. The bus ride was a snap decision — next time I’ll be better prepared. If there is a next time.
I played my mindfulness app “Simply Be” and that whiled away a half an hour. Then I practiced ‘simply being’ without the earbuds, just watching the scenery go by over the head of the sleeping guy next to me. The green of Texas bled into the green of Louisiana, accompanied for the first time on our trip with water. Lots of water. And trees growing out of the water. Everywhere. We stopped for a 15 minute break, but I didn’t buy any food because I’m trying to eat healthier foods after the rich food in Texas, and after we got back in the bus, my seat mate went back to sleep and I decided to listen to “Simply Be” again. The guy across the aisle had evidently been away from home for awhile and he kept up constant chatter the whole way. I was being aware of my environment without doing anything to change it. In this way I learned more about his life than he probably wanted me to know, but that’s what happens when you have conversations on a bus. I was irritated, but then I thought it was wonderful that he had so many people in his life that he just had to call them from the bus and let them know he was coming home. I thought about how cell phones and wifi have changed the way we lived, the pulled my thoughts gently back into the meditation.
Then — there it was! The Mighty Mississippi! I leaned over my sleeping companion and took some shots as we crossed over the bridge. There were barges, but not much traffic on a late Monday afternoon. The we were over the bridge, and I settled back into my seat. I put the earbuds back in, turned on my native American flute music station on Pandora and drifted off — then whoop! Wide awake! The bus wobbled, then the bus driver got control and took the off ramp that providentially appeared. Everyone on the bus was focused on the driver. He masterfully slowed the bus down and stopped at the bottom of the off ramp. The entire bus burst into applause. “I didn’t do it for you,” the driver joked (he’d been cracking jokes along with giving us information the whole trip). “No way was I going to ruin my 28-year record of no accidents.” We all laughed, relieved and happy. Cheerful Chatter broke out and I gathered that a semi had pulled in front of the bus and then slammed on his brakes. Rude remarks about the semi driver were bandied about to let off steam. After a few minutes, I smiled and went back to the flute music to calm my racing heart and reflect on how happy I was to be alive and what a wonderful life I have.
We arrived in New Orleans after dark, and a bit early. I called Katy to come get me, and sat outside (fresh air!!) to wait for her. I found this building. I have no idea what it is, but I love the design and the integration of parking levels. I will find out what is in there.
Katy arrived with Jules, a large mixed-breed dog who I have known since she was a puppy. She practically climbed over the seat to get to me, and her kisses and Katy’s smile make the bus ride worth while.
Next Up: New Orleans
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