Mike runs the Wyethville Greyhound stop, a trailer parked by a McDonalds about 8 miles from Wytheville. It’s a big junction, at the I-81 and I-77 split, which is why Greyhound lands there. Why they call it Wytheville, nobody could explain. Go Greyhorund. As we had approached Wytheville the day before, Annoying Man and his conversational companion discussed the virtues of this McDonalds. I caught something about bad service, but I’m with Annoying Man now after seeing just how long it takes. The next morning, Jay and I went to see Mike for help with our ticket later that day. We found Mike sweeping up the parking lot with a broom and long-handled dustbin. He was his awesome self, and took care of us, although within his particular framework. Mike is one of those people who do a few things really, really well, but cannot manage complication. Mike can open the luggage compartment of a bus with ease. He can look at three buses lined up and looking all the same and point you to your bus. But Mike cannot tell you if your bus is going to be on time or not. Jay asked him, “Will our bus be ontime.” “Don’t know,” said Mike, “only dispatch knows where the buses are. “They don’t tell you?” continued Jay. “Not unless we call them.” And Mike doesn’t call them.
What Mike does best is care for people. We ran into Rice Hat lady when she was inside the trailer. Mike made sure she knew the bus was there, and he appreciated that Jay and I helped her with her things onto the bus. Later, when we met Fred (see Jay’s post, “Drugs, the Fed, and Freedom”) it was because Fred had been turned
away by the driver, and he was confused about his bus time. Mike was there for him and got him onto the bus. Before leaving, I handed Mike one of our envelopes and told him, “Thanks for taking care of us.” Mike replied, “I do what I can.” Yes, Mike, we know you do. You’re one of the good guys.
In line waiting to board that bus, I turned to find Tiffany behind us and looking quite nervous. She apologized and said she was heading out and needed to get away from some “bad stuff,” and she was glad the bus was leaving on time. I marked her in my notes as “Jayden’s Mom,” as she mentioned her 8 year old boy who was living with her mom in Florida. On the bus I took a seat behind her, and we spoke through the chairs, me joking mostly. She was agitated, so I figured we could talk some more at the layover or both of our destinations, Lynchburg.
I didn’t see Tiffany at the next stop, so back on the bus and moving along, I asked her if she wanted to talk. “Yes, please,” she said, and moved her purse out of the way for me to sit by her. And talk she did. Poor thing. “I have made my mistakes,” she said, but now she felt targeted and unfairly accused. She was on her way now to stay with her father. Her mother got her a hotel in Wytheville and a ticket to Lynchburg, so they both are on her side. Unfortunately, she got mixed up in a messy domestic scene while living with her aunt at Bluefield. She had to leave in a hurry, as her aunt became accusative and vindictive, threatening her with harm and law suits, saying that Tiffany had seduced her husband. Personally, I believe Tiffany. She asked me about “Alienation of Affection” and if she could be send to prison for it. I laughed and explained that, one it’s a civil matter, and, two, there could be such thing if the marriage between the two was already breaking up before she got there. Sounded to me like the aunt was using Tiffany for her advantage in an upcoming divorce.
Tiffany was so thankful that her dad was taking her in, but she worries that she will be a burden on him, as he’s a carpenter and work is hard to come by in their hometown. Worse, Jayden’s dad lives next door, and he gets threatening and cruel, and she’s already been through all the restraining orders and hardship with that, and she just knows it’s going to happen again. I told Tiffany to believe in herself, believe in her own point of view and to make sure that she stays firm and honest with her parents who both want to help her. Be open, I suggested, and be patient with the rest, because their anger will eventually go away, and, besides, angry people will just move on to another target for their anger soon enough. I do hope Tiffany finds calm and gets her own affairs together so that she can be with her son again. Her mom wants that, and her mom will take care of Jayden until then. Tiffany really has more going for her than she thinks right now. She says she appreciates her parents, and I think so. We got off the bus at Lynchburg, and I watched Tiffany take a seat on a bench to wait for her dad who would be about an hour getting there. I planned on giving her an envelope and wishing her well from there. But as we figured out our own trajectory, Tiffany had already left. Good luck, Tiffany!
So Jay and I found ourselves by a beautiful old railway station that was empty except for some a bunch of homeless people who populated the various benches by the station. One pounced upon Jay while another went after me. Saying he needed a place for the night, I engaged him in a cross-examination about why he wasn’t in the shelter. He really didn’t have any good reason other than he got kicked out. I wouldn’t want to follow their rules, either, but one of our rules was not to give envelopes to people who came asking for money. Sorry, dude, but good luck and God bless! Jay, meanwhile, walked his companion into the little restaurant, sat him at the counter, and ordered him a cheeseburger, which cost $3.99. He left his friend there with the owner, who was not terribly thankful for this new customer, but it was a paying customer so there was nothing else to do. We’re sure he enjoyed that burger. The rest of the group was nice, and we chatted about the heat, and then we were on our way.