The Empty Bus

Posted: December 19, 2010 in ALL POSTS, Humor, Memoirs, Weird
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My Most Embarrassing Experience

By Ross E. Deforrest

It was the spring of 1972 and I was in the second semester of my first year at Auburn Community College.  I was 25 at the time, having served my time with Uncle Sam before starting my college career.  One of the classes I had selected for this semester was a biology course entitled “Ecology 103.”  The focus of the class was to study the effects of pollution on the environment.  I was drawn to the class by the description in the curriculum of the several field-trips the class would be taking around Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania, to view and study the effects of pollution.   One of the trips we took and the one that is the focus of this sad story was to view and study the devastating effects of strip-mining in Northern Pennsylvania.

The group which consisted of about 25 co-eds (about 2/3 female) and our biology professor/chaperone/organizer of this trip, was transported via a chartered bus to our destination, a Pennsylvania state park in the northern part of the state.  The curriculum clearly stated what we would need to bring as well as the do’s and the don’ts: three changes of clothing; canned or boxed food of some sort for ourselves as no food would be provided; and no drugs or alcohol (that final rule almost universally ignored.)

The trip to Pennsylvania was uneventful, but when we arrived at the park we found it to be nestled in a truly beautiful forest of giant old growth pines with abundant wildlife including deer, rattlesnakes and numerous flying squirrels gliding from tree to tree.  But this story is not about what occurred there, but an incident that happened on the bus trip home.   However that incident was shaped by actions the night before in our cabin.

As I stated before we all had been instructed to bring various canned and dry foods to prepare for ourselves and we all did.  But the cabin only had one large pot to prepare food in, so somebody got the brilliant idea to create a massive stew by mixing everyone’s offerings in that one pot.  This we did and the resulting gruel consisted of: rice, chicken soup, tomato soup, Chile, mushroom soup, goulash, sauerkraut, beets and one guy even poured about one half of a quart bottle of blackberry brandy in it.   When this concoction was brought to a boil the results were a bubbly, bazaar smelling, purple-brownish witch’s brew.  None of the females would touch it and only a few of the other guys even tasted it.  I refrained from eating it right away, but as the night wore on, my hunger grew to the point that to the astonishment of everyone, I ate two bowls of it — none of them had of course, spent the last two years eleven months fifteen days three hours and thirty six minutes eating army food.

I had eaten this bazaar meal at about one in the morning and went to bed right after that as we were to head back toward Auburn at the crack of dawn.  When that much-too-early time arrived, I slept through several attempts to wake me and dragged myself and my things to the bus which was all packed with everybody on it anxiously glaring at me as I stumbled on.  As I entered the door of the bus and walked down the isle, I detected a distinct fiery rumbling in my stomach and intestines that only increased as I approached an empty isle seat toward the back of the bus.  When I plopped down in my seat, I found that  the guy who put the blackberry brandy in the gruel and who had subsequently consumed the rest of that bottle, leaving him in a severe state of dazed hangover slumped in the window-seat next to me.  We had traveled about twenty minutes of our three-hour journey before I realized that rumbling in my gut would require some release.  I thought that I might get away with carefully allowing a silent, slow release of the pressure and so leaning gently,  I made the attempt.  It was silent, but my seatmate was not, because he immediately turned to me with a horrified look on his already green face and screamed loud enough so everyone on the bus could hear:

“Jesus Ross”, after which he thrust his head out the window and threw up.

As the invisible toxic cloud moved row by row toward the front of the bus, heads snapped around to face me with its arrival at each successive row, and I was met with glaring angry faces.  The “domino effect” continued until the toxic cloud reached the driver, who immediately pulled the bus over on the shoulder and was the first to exit, followed quickly by everyone else. We all stood by side of the road for a full ten minutes until it was safe to re-enter.   That was for me a long ten minutes.

  1. Good one… this reminds me of my “relief” story from a trip to Italy a few years ago:

    I was on an old train in Italy and had an urgent “call from mother nature”. Upon entering the “privy”, I took a moment to look into the “john” and I could actually see the railroad ties going by!! After a few seconds of amazement, I decided “hey, what the hell… when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Just as I sat down, the train entered a station and the door to the “restroom” automatically locked (it seems they don’t like the idea of people leaving things on the tracks in such obvious places). I tried to hold back, but, try as I might, I just couldn’t…. uuuummmm, so as not to gross anyone out too much, I’ll just leave the rest up to your own lurid imaginations…

  2. worldtake says:

    You told me that story about your gift to Rome.

  3. Spencer LaPatra says:

    HI – larious!

  4. […] “Lovesick Squirrel“, which is also rather weak. I do think that my blog about “The Empty bus“, which details my most embarrassing moment is, if I do say so myself, pretty funny. In […]

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