I had the perfect plan to get back to UMass from Hartford! Everything timed perfectly – Peter Pan from Hartford to Springfield, the P21E to Holyoke, the B48 to Northampton, and the B43 back to Amherst. Plus, it worked out that there were 25 grace minutes for the coach bus to be late, just in case. Sam and I got to Hartford Union Station feeling great after our adventure.
Even better, there was a 6:00 bus and a 6:10 bus, both of which would get us to Springfield. That way we had something to fall back on if anything went wrong. We bought our tickets and the woman told us to go to Gate 6. We got to the gate, and waited. And waited. And waited.
Okay, clearly the bus wasn’t coming. I went back to the woman to ask her what was going on, and she said “You just gotta wait. Gates 5 and 6. There are two buses!” I pointed up to the sign that said that the Amtrak Shuttle replacement bus was on its “Final Boarding” phase and asked about that. “That doesn’t work,” the woman said hastily. “It’s wrong!” I figured it was typical customer service lying tactics, but I didn’t want to get into an argument, so I joined Sam back at the gate.
A few minutes later, the woman came out of a service door, probably going on her break. “So, are you making a train connection at Springfield?” she asked as she came by. “A bus connection,” I replied. “Oh lord,” the woman muttered as she disappeared into another door. Clearly it wasn’t looking good, and the sass really wasn’t helping…
Eventually we realized we could try using a tracker to at least see where the bus was. “Half an hour late,” Sam said. Welp…this was problematic. The P21E we were trying to get from Springfield was the last one, which would take us to the last B48. If we missed that P21E, we were screwed. And yet, all we could do was try to think of alternative transportation options as we waited for this nonexistent bus.
“Springfield!” Sam shouted as the bus came in. It had made up some time – “We might make this,” Sam said as everyone got out and got their luggage from the bus. A wholeeeee lot of luggage… “Maybe not,” he muttered, with the line of people trying to get luggage was seemingly never-ending. Finally, they were all finished, the driver collected our tickets, and we were off.
|Inside the bus.|
The ride was really really stressful. I kept telling myself in the back of my head that it was possible to make the bus, it was possible to make the bus, but I was too afraid to check my watch. Finally, there was a sign that said Springfield was 5 minutes away…could we make our 7:05 bus? I checked my watch: 7:01. God, it was gonna be close.
Why couldn’t the P21E have been a 7:10 departure? Why couldn’t the P21E have been a 7:10 departure??? Yeah, of course we didn’t make it, but it was really close. We dejectedly left the bus at the disgusting old Springfield bus terminal and walked inside. I was thinking we would have to get another bus to Holyoke, then take an Uber to Northampton, but that would be expensive. All hope was lost.
Just out of curiosity, we decided to ask the person behind the desk if there were any buses leaving for Amherst. She did some tippity-typing on the computer and said there was one to Amherst at 7:30. We were both ecstatic, and immediately bought tickets. The woman said we had about 15 minutes, but we could head out there if we wanted to. She was really really nice…or maybe it was just that she, uh, wasn’t the employee back in Hartford.
I was starving, so I asked Sam if he thought we would have time to grab something. He said “Yeah, of course! We have fifteen minutes!” There were only two people in line at Subway, so surely I would be able to get a 6-inch sub before the bus would leave…unless, of course, Subway’s on-time performance was on the same level as Peter Pan’s. That couldn’t be the case, right?
Standing there in line, I was waiting for the two other people to order seemingly everything in the entire restaurant. It didn’t help that there was only one person manning the counter, and they were driving her all over the place. As the clock kept ticking, I kept looking back at Sam and asking if we still had time. 7:18, 7:21, 7:24…
“This is ridiculous!” Sam said loudly so that the woman behind the counter could hear. “This should NOT take this long!” As we stormed out, the second person in line was still driving the entire stock of the establishment dry…
Luckily, this bus was on time. It pulled in, the driver got our tickets, and the few passengers loaded onto the vehicle. And yet…7:30 came and went. Sam suggested I go out and get a picture of the bus, but as I got to the front, I found out that we were all locked in. Clearly Peter Pan is not one to depart buses on time.
Finally, the driver came in and started the bus up. We were finally heading home. This would be relaxing – we basically had this big empty coach bus to ourselves, aside from a few quiet people in the front. After all the commotion and crazy characters, we could finally kick back…
“I SMOKE WEED ERRYDAY!” declared a disheveled man reeking of alcohol who stormed into the bus, scratching himself all over. He sat two rows behind us, sending that lovely beer smell right to our seats. Let me tell you, it’s kinda hard to relax when you have this constant drone of swear-filled rants coming from behind you. Eventually, I did manage to fall asleep; as I write this, Sam is demanding I include the picture(s) he took of my slumber, and I’m steadfastly refusing.
You have no idea how much of a relief it was when we finally pulled into the UMass Haigis Mall. I was basically done with everything at this point, and as we walked towards our dorms, I didn’t have much to say, aside from hypnotically pointing out the presence of a bunny over and over again. Yeah…I was tired. When I got back to my dorm, I threw on headphones and basically just lived in my own little world until it was time for bed. What a night.