12-31-87 We arrived in Detroit [at the Greyhound bus terminal] at 2:17 A.M. I recall bringing Keith Basherian [1958-1982] here in 1980 and 1981, but it was not part of my bus trip [from Tucson to Vassar and back] in 1987. The place was clean, and because of the early hour, not many people were moving around. Eli [Miller] and I found seats and settled back to rest. The bus to Saginaw was scheduled to leave at 7:30, more than five hours later. I tried to sleep, but it was near impossible with the hard plastic seats, lights, and hum of noise. Besides, I was still excited about going home. At six o’clock, with Eli asleep across from me, I heard an announcement about a bus leaving for Clare, Michigan. I recall looking at Eli’s ticket and assuming that he would be going north through Saginaw, with me. But the announcement piqued my curiosity, so I decided to check Eli’s ticket and ask the driver. Sure enough, Eli was supposed to be on that bus. With other passengers watching, I ran across the terminal, awoke Eli, and helped him carry his luggage to the bus. I explained that he was supposed to be on this bus rather than the 7:30 bus to Saginaw. He accepted everything I said on faith. As we parted, I shook his hand and gave him a big hug. He looked at me with those glassy eyes and thanked me.
That ended my friendship with Eli. Like other friends, he came into my life, touched it, shaped it, and left. But I got his address and promised to write. Our religious differences aside, we agree on many things. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him and spending time with him. By eight o’clock I had boarded the bus to Saginaw. It wouldn’t be long now, I thought. I settled back to sleep. But in Pontiac a tall, blonde woman sat next to me. That ended any chance for sleep, because she was talkative and friendly. As it turns out, she’s forty years old, divorced, and has two adult children. An old hippie herself, her son is a conservative. This troubles her, but, as I explained, it’s only natural for children to rebel against the values, ideals, and attitudes of their parents. Since she was a pot-smoking, laid-back parent, the son naturally became authoritative [sic; should be "authoritarian"] and conservative. This seemed to interest her. We went on to discuss sexism, rock music, obscenity, parents generally, and colleges. She has enrolled in college to earn a degree. I hated to leave her in Saginaw, she was so funny and interesting.
As expected, Mom and Jerry were waiting for me. It was ten o’clock on Thursday morning, New Year’s Eve. They had Jared with them. Fortunately, the roads were clear of snow and ice. I greeted them with hugs and handshakes and we had a nice ride home, stopping in Vassar for cider. A funny thing happened while Mom and I were in the store (Uncle Ray’s). Earlier, on the bus, I had discussed obscenity with the blonde woman. She asked me what the “seven dirty words” were (the words that the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] has ruled cannot be uttered on television), so I jotted them on my newspaper: “shit”, “piss”, “fuck”, “cunt”, “cocksucker”, “motherfucker”, and “tits”. We noticed that the list itself is sexist; it contains two references (“cunt” and “tits”) to the female anatomy, but none to the male anatomy. Two (“shit” and “piss”) are terms for excrement, one (“fuck”) the name of an action, and the others (“cocksucker” and “motherfucker”) hostile epithets. When Mom and I came out of the store, Jerry held up the paper and asked “What’s this all about?”. I died laughing. Can you imagine what he must have been thinking? When I explained it, he was even more amused.
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