Monday, January 13, 2020

New Year's Eve



This is Craig Grumpy. Dad asked me to write about my New Year's Eve.

Marie and I had an out-of-state college band competition on December 31st, with an 8 hour bus ride home afterwards. Since the competition ended around 7:00 p.m... It was going to be a long night.

When we boarded the bus (which was not some luxury tour bus, think more Partridge Family) to go home, we found our band director had hung a "Happy 2019!" banner over the back seats. There was a piece of lined notebook paper with "2020" written in Sharpie stapled over the "2019." She excitedly told us that this way we could take pictures in front of it for our Instagram accounts so people would think we were at a real NYE party, instead of, say, on an aging repurposed school bus driving all night through the frozen wastelands of the American Midwest.

A few of us took pictures, but with the pile of musical instruments in the back of the bus, and the broken "occupied" sign on its bathroom behind the banner, I'm pretty sure we didn't fool anybody. One of Marie's classmates saw her post and wrote "Where are you? That looks like an old bus!"

We'd only been on the road for an hour when the heater broke.

Starting around 10:00 the bus driver and band director began hinting at a New Year's "surprise" they'd planned, leaving us all breathless with excitement. We were hoping it involved food and a slightly less disgusting bathroom.

Approaching midnight they let us in on the big secret: we were going to be stopping at a large gas-station that was locally famous for it's NYE celebration for truckers, with fireworks and a special take-out menu. At this point anything was starting to sound good, as the only food anyone had brought was 2 boxes of Ding-Dongs and a Costco package of Goldfish.

Right on time, at 11:55 we pulled into the place's parking lot...





To find it was closed. And I don't mean "closed for the night." I mean "closed down, abandoned, with broken windows and graffiti." The only other living thing there was a coyote slinking off behind the empty drive-through.

The bus driver wished us all a happy new year and got off the bus to smoke, but warned the rest of us to stay on board for safety.

Then it was midnight. As the calendar turned to 2020, I was standing in line to use a bus' bathroom in the parking lot of a post-apocalyptic truck stop, watching our driver smoking outside as the snow came down. The closest thing we had to fireworks was the tuba players having a belching contest.

After all that excitement, to settle down Marie and I played pool on our phones until we started to doze off.

We were woken up by screaming about 30 minutes later when the bus' toilet finally gave up the ghost and backed-up into the aisle to cap off the party. So we drove the last few hours back to school with the windows open, preferring death by hypothermia to that of asphyxiation.

And to all a good night and happy new year.

15 comments:

jimbo26 said...

Thank you Craig - as long as you enjoyed the bus ride . ;-)

jono said...

You'll remember that for the rest of your life. No matter how hard you try to forget.

OMDG said...

Great story!! You'll remember this forever!

juvat said...

Well....2020 has nowhere to go but up for y'all!

ndenunz said...

I see you inherited your father's sense of humor. Good writing. I enjoyed it.

bobbie said...

Look at it this way, Craig ~ your year can only get better now!
Happy New Year ~

A. Marie said...

Well, Craig, you and Marie lived to tell the tale. And I'm glad to see that you got the good genes for telling a funny story.

Finally, welcome back to the whole Grumpy tribe. All the best to Skool Nerse in particular.

BobF said...

Craig, you will, trust me, be telling that story to your grandchildren, and you won't need notes to remember it. And I hope you have a minor with writing as a big part of it. Well done. Well done.

I sure do hope you are keeping a journal. Might be worth publishing some day.

Shash said...

Bwaa-ha-ha. Sorry to say Craig, because I had to laugh. This sounds frightenly similar to a bus trip I had back to MN from FL when I was 19. I had bronchitis, the driver got ticketed for speeding, the bus bathroom broke, therefore a couple of us females got our periods. Total bus ride from hell.

Thanks for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, this would've been something to forget, is my personal opinion.

Anonymous said...

Former Marching Band Kid - this sounds about right! I'm in my 30s now and look back on some of those bus rides (like when we hit a deer!) as very fond memories.

Packer said...

Probably the best New Years Eve of your life, did you get kissed at Mid Night? Yup.

Old RPh said...

Great story.

Time to dump that Grumpy MD guy?

Ms. Donna said...

Happy New Year!

gloriap said...

Well done, Craig. Ask your dad if he'll pay you to write one of his blogs once a week. Then come back and tell us what he said. ;-)

 
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