Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Foolishness of Fear—Riding the Bus With Myself

            Foolishness of Fear—Riding the Bus With Myself
            Fear is a mind killer. Fear holds me hostage in a puddle of paralysis—when I let it. Take my latest foolishness. My friend Lani, who lives in Etzatlan near Guadalajara has invited me to hop the bus to visit numerous times. I’ve always conjured excuses. I like Lani. Fear held me back.

            Cousin Nancie is in Etzatlan visiting Lani. The two of them flanked me, out maneuvered me, forced me to face my fear. Stupid fear. Fear of getting on a bus, alone, for the trip into the mountains of Jalisco. 

            My neighbor Ted asked me, “Were you afraid when you drove alone in Mexico?” “No. Of course not.”

            Well, that made me consider. “Self,” I said. “You drove half the length of Mexico, part of the drive at night. You never had a moment of fear or a thought of being afraid. Something in this picture is skewed.”

            Still, I insisted on lying awake one night dreaming up everything that possibly could go wrong. Not have enough language to buy the ticket. Miss the bus. Get off at the wrong stop. Do you suppose I might have a tiny issue with control?

            I’ve had bus experience. Mary, Kathy and I took a bus from Puerto Vallarta to Mazatlan several years ago. Kathy and I were stranded in Tepic while Mary was locked behind a stuck bathroom door at the back of the bus. The milk-run bus stopped at every burg along the road. Policia boarded for inspections every few miles. This bus didn’t carry crated chickens or tethered goats—but close. Air conditioning was a refrigeration unit. The movie showed on a big screen in front at full volume—no escape.

Another time Kathy, Richard, Evelyn and I were stranded six hours in the night when the Christmas Shopping Tour Bus to Guadalajara, one step up from a school bus, broke down on the highway. Actually, it was kind of fun.

            With control in mind, Tuesday I asked Carlos to take me to buy my ticket. We passed go, stayed out of jail, drew a “Free” card. We by-passed the huge mega-terminal with thousands of people clamoring to get tickets, hundreds of buses. We went to the brand new modern Primera Plus station and within five minutes I had my round trip ticket to Zapopan at the edge of Guadalajara, half price with my newly acquired Senior Pass.

            Once I had my ticket in hand, excitement began edging fear out the door.

            Thursday morning I handed over my bag, picked up my lunch, gratis with my ticket, and boarded my ultra-modern bus direct to Zapopan. If only airline travel were this posh. Seats were adjustable and comfortable. Air conditioning cooled to perfection. Every seat had a private internet connection (head-phones included) with a garden-variety of choices including music, Netflix and games. 

            I had my book. Unfortunately I had forgotten that I cannot read on the road. I never out-grew a tendency for motion sickness. I focused on breathing through the six-hour drive from coast to mountains until I could put my feet on the ground.

            Lani and Nancie pulled into the bus terminal just as my bus arrived. I stepped down from the bus into their arms. Who could not want to be here, right where I am!

            Now that I’ve broken the ice, that invisible layer of fear around going alone on a cross-country bus, I see all sorts of options open for exploration. What a fool I am.

            Durango next, maybe in December. Perhaps a coastal exploration in January. A day in Tepic, a day in Puerta Vallarta and another day in Acapulco, just to get an overview. Back to Guadalajara in February with Kathy and Richard to combine a couple days in Tlaquepaque with another visit with Lani and her husband Ariel.

Oh, the places I’ll go; the people I’ll see.

Sondra Ashton
HDN:  Looking out my back door

November 12, 2015

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