high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

There and back again, a COTA tale

This weekend marked the undertaking of a grand adventure, and though this was the type of grand adventure that can age a soul brave enough to undertake it by years untold, and though that brave soul may be chilled to the marrow to recount the epic happenings on the legendary journey, and though that soul's hands may be gnarled from battles fought and won on said journey, it is only appropriate - nay, necessary! - to share the tale for all to hear...

A saloon
Our tale begins as many tales do, in a saloon.  This particular saloon is dimly lit and rather piratical in nature, and the patrons and staff generally keep to themselves, both giving rise to the common notion that those who frequent this saloon are surly in nature and allowing for conversations at the establishment to be held in confidence.  Some conversations are immaterial, some are boastful, some are heartfelt, some may even be jovial - and some are of a different nature altogether.  Conversations in which plans are laid, minds are set, pacts are formed, and which are not soon forgotten after the inn-keeps have received their coin, the night has ended, and the patrons have gone their separate ways.

It was in such a conversation that the decision was made - the decision to ride the Number 2 bus to the ends of the earth!  And so it was that on New Year's Day two companions boarded the mythical 2, committed to being its passengers to the very edge...

Statues seen on our journey
Upon boarding, the driver demanded no coin, satisfied as he was with a passing glance at our identification as mere students at the local learning institution.  The mood was actually carefree at the start, with the thrill of adventure still running through our veins and the rays of the sun above shining down to light our way.  Other passengers boarded, with no pretense or agenda beyond a simple desire for transport.  The time was four and a half hours past midday.

As the voyage progressed, the mood settled, and conversation quieted somewhat as reflection on the magnitude of the undertaking took hold.  However, spirits still ran high, and were no doubt cheered to an even greater extent when salutations from a fellow passenger were offered.  The passenger was a jovial sort, and obviously of good intent, although he spoke in a tongue that was unintelligible at first, except for the lone phrase explaining that he hailed from the land of De-Troit.  The fellow seemed to feel it necessary to expound on his reasons for being so forward in engaging unknown travelers, lest he gave offense, and we attempted to reassure him that all was well, and the custom he brought with him from De-Troit was accepted in the realm of Columbus as well.  The traveler wished us a happy new year, and we returned the wish as he departed shortly after, reaching his port of exit.

The driver then set a course due East, heading into territory relatively unknown to us, and outlined in charts of only dubious legitimacy.  The journey continued, and time began to pass without reckoning.  Lands were passed by on our course, with names such as Bex-Lee and White Hall, and some of the natives of these lands could be seen as well, distinctly different in their characteristics from one territory to the next.  Eventually we passed into the realm of Rayn Auld S'Burg, and it became apparent how far we had come from our point of origin.  We were drawing closer to the ends of the earth.

By this time darkness had long since come over the earth, and with no light to give us indication of direction, our fates were largely in the hands of our driver.  While we had no preformed expectation of what existence was to be discovered at the outermost edges, it seemed apparent that they would not be found similar to those told of in the mythical stories of youth, such as that of the grand ship Dawn Treader.  No, there would not be any mer-people to greet us at the end, nor water that was sweet.

Artist's rendering of a beasty in
Speculations on the Ends of the Earth
(Getson 2003)
Abruptly the 2 came to a halt.  Silence descended like a cloak.  We looked to our right, and saw a vast emptiness.  We looked to our left, and saw a glowing emblem in the dark.  Our eyes, though bleary with weariness from our travels, could make out script formed by the glow, and with great exhilaration we were able to decipher the words Hometown Buffet!  We had reached the ends of the earth!

Our jubilation was slightly tempered as my traveling companion revealed to me knowledge gleaned from histories searched in past years that contained reference to fearsome creatures and other beasties out in the black.  We gazed out, expecting at any moment a hairy, befanged visage to suddenly come into view, but our fears were not realized.  However, this did nothing to quell our astonishment when our driver rose, turned to address the passengers, informed us that all lights would need to be extinguished for a period of a full half-minute, and stepped out into the darkness!  True to his word, the lights were put out, and we were temporarily without any bearing as the brave driver made preparations for the return journey.  In this state the passengers felt a sudden kinship, and voices were raised in merriment, providing stories of how some could not sleep in the night without the aid of night lights.

The steady 2
Eventually the 2 embarked on its return journey (1), and spirits ran high from having accomplished the task we set out to achieve.  We retraced our course, passing by the now familiar territories, and by and by turned North as we entered the home stretch to our point of origin.  Of course, the journey could not have concluded without some minor difficulty, and at a key port of stoppage the driver suddenly demanded coin for our travels!  My traveling companion negotiated exemption, but my attempts to explain my student status fell on deaf ears.  At this point the required fare was only a minor annoyance - the ends of the earth had been reached! - and the required sum was submitted without further debate.  Even the driver's expressed suspicions that we were lost and didn't know where we were going were acknowledged with a smile and laughed off.  We knew the objective for ourselves.  We knew that we were no mere travelers!

Finally, we reached our point of departure.  With a tug on the yellow cord that signaled to our driver that we desired to get off, done so many times on the course of our journey by so many other hands, but never with such significance, we said farewell to the 2.  The glorious adventure had reached its conclusion.  As a fitting end to our travels, we rejoined to that same saloon where our plans were first laid, and raised a glass to the experience past.

(1) This tale would not be complete without mention of the princely gift that was given upon reaching the ends of the earth, a jerkin of the finest quality threads, unmatched in style.  This garment was presented in honor of the epic journey, and was gladly received.  Thanks Jen :-)

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a very well written piece. Very well expressed.