I don’t know quite what to put for a road trip. I already wrote about an interesting road trip I had with my family when I did this writing exercise last year. I would like to write about a bus trip I took with my maternal aunt back in 1998. We were headed to Greenfield Village. It was sponsored by a city even for Kalamazoo, Michigan. I forget which organization was in charge of it.
My aunt and I got up during the early hours of the morning, and got ready to head downtown to take the bus to Greenfield Village. We took her car down to the meeting place. The organization sponsoring the bus trip had a designated area for folks to leave their cars.
There were other folks waiting at the meeting spot as well.
My aunt and I were the first ones to get on the bus. Next was an elderly couple. Another person was a nice man who kept to himself, reading a novel which he brought for the occasion. There were also to women who had a bunch of children with them.
Just as soon as they boarded the bus with the children, the elderly couple gave some dirty looks. The elderly man says to his wife, “How are we going to get any sleep on this trip with those pesky kids traveling with all of us on the bus?”
“I guess we have no choice but to make do. What else can we do? I don’t understand why children would be up at these early hours of the morning anyway. But, I guess it takes all kinds.”
Instead of sitting in the same seat as his wife, the elderly man sat in a seat directly across from her so they each could stretch out in their seats and sleep on the ride down to Greenfield Village.
The strangest things was the kids were the ones who were quiet and fell asleep on the ride down there, and the elderly couple were the ones who did quite a bit of talking. They attempted to make conversation with everyone on the bus.
My aunt and I sat in the seat directly behind the elderly man. He began the conversation asking some ridiculous conversations. “Are there bus trips in your country too?”
I guess he assumed we were from another country, because my aunt and I were conversing in the Greek language, even though we were born in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
I replied, “Sir, we were born in this city here in Kalamazoo. We’re not from another country.”
“Excuse me. It just I heard you speak in a language other than English and I naturally assumed you were not from the United States.” He put his arm on the back of his seat holding on to it tightly while trying to make more conversation. “I wanted to ask you how you like Kalamazoo. But seeing you are from these parts it would make no sense at all for me to ask.”
“There are many different languages spoken in the United States, although English is the primary language of this country, and Spanish being the second primary language of this country.” In informed him while taking a sip of some juice my aunt and I brought with us along with some other goodies.
“Yes. I’m familiar. Unfortunately, the United States has more than one native tongue.” He turned around muttering to himself.
I could feel fire surging through my blood, and responded by asking, “Sir, what do you have against people who speak languages in the United States other than English. And why do you believe it to be unfortunate to have more than one language spoken in this country?”
Turning around, facing me directly, he replied, “Young lady, I don’t want to get into any of that. My wife and I are here to relax and enjoy ourselves. I’m not here to be challenged about nationalities or languages or anything to do with this country. I was simply stating facts. Nothing more.”
“Excuse me; however, where are your ancestors originally from. They must have come from another country before living here in the United States.” I stuffed some chips in my mouth, chewing on them as loudly as I could just to spite the man.
“It doesn’t matter. My ancestors have been here for seven generations. Therefore, in my family we are true Americans.” He put his nose in the air. If it’s one thing I couldn’t stand, it was arrogance. He focused his attention on his wife’s direction. “Dear, some people are trying to educate me on who is an American and who isn’t.”
“Just ignore them, dear. Clearly, they don’t know any better.” His wife went back to doing her knitting, while glaring at me.
“How can you say I don’t know any better. In truth, what you’re saying isn’t logical. I’m college educated. I’m not ignorant. How dare you make presumptions about my aunt and me not being actual Americans. You said your family was here in this country spanning seven generations. What country did your family originally come from. The parents of the first generation of your family born in this country must have traveled here from somewhere before landing in the United States. Surely, they spoke a tongue other than English.” I furled my eyebrows while digging some potato chips out of the can.
“Young lady, the first generation was born to parents who hailed from another country, yes. Which one, I’m not going to tell you, because I don’t think it’s any of your business. Let me tell you something, young lady, for a Greek, you are not only arrogant, but snotty and disrespectful.” I could have sworn he had fire coming out of his eyes. His words were hard and strong, but not enough to intimidate me.
“What are you talking about? You’re the one who was being disrespectful to us. You seem to think your so much better than anyone on this bus. Not only do you criticize my aunt and me for speaking a language other than English, but you don’t even like children. For your information, your are the one who is jabbering all of this time. The children are sitting way in the back sound asleep. So I suggest you get over yourself and start being in good with people. One thing you need to understand about me, sir, is this. I don’t allow anyone to control me. I will not allow anyone to belittle me or make reference to me being ignorant. My aunt and I are just as American as you are. We’ve been in this country for five generations. However anyone who is born in this country is just as American as you regardless of how many or few generations their ancestors have been in this country. Remember, we all have our flaws, sir, even you.” I held up my index finger, and then went back to concentrating on my potato chips.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2016