AX 22 Post-Thoughts #4 – Hold the Bus!

July 30th, 2022 in Anime Expo 2022, Rants by

Now, unless you got a hotel room at the J W Marriott or the Ritz-Carlton (so close to the venue, you could spit on the people down below. Note: Please don’t do that, OK?), you’re going to have to avail yourself of the shuttle buses. Now, this, in and of itself, is not all that bad. They come at regular-ish intervals, so you need not wait too long, especially in front of your hotel, early in the morning. A lot of the street people will stare at you, because you look like Sailor Moon (still a very popular cosplay option) or Sephiroth and his ten-mile sword. It’s just that you ARE dealing with humanity and things can go south faster than you realize, both outside and inside.

To wit. I was at the shuttle zone, awaiting the 2 Bus. However, the space slot was filled, as three 1 buses were there, somehow stacked up. When the 2 showed up, it just drove on. Hey, wait! We are here, we are here, we are here! And you can’t take the 1 bus and hope to hoof it to your hotel, as the loops are significantly different. You might find yourself in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles at a little past midnight and GPS may not be there to help you get to where you want to be. But there are other things to consider.

Now, I personally did not see or experience this, but the wife and daughter did, but some background to help. This AX had both a beer garden and a Midway. I never got a good look at the Midway, as there was always a line to get into it and it had an attendance cap, so I passed by it. Now, it was late (like, say 10:30 pm or 11 pm) and the wife and daughter were on a full bus. They sat and they sat and they sat, which was odd, as the bus pulls out when it gets full and it was full.

There was a problem: the door would not close, and with that as a safety hazard, everyone was eventually asked to get off the bus, as it was taken out of service. In leaving the bus, everyone was directed around a huge puddle of spew, its owner nearby, trying to recover. Too much beer? Too much fun? Too much of everything? The Bus Administrator (one hell of a nice guy with a totally thankless job) was checking on our mess-maker, seeing if he was ready to go. Now, the guy did not have slurred speech and did not stagger and claimed he was good to go and, so, got on the replacement bus.

They pulled out of the shuttle location on West Road, turned right to take LA Way to West Olympic Blvd. They then took a right and went to S Figueroa and turned left. We are talking about a quarter-mile and no real stops, and about four or so minutes. Just as they turned onto S Figueroa, the guy completely loses it and spews again. Now, the wife and daughter were sitting in the same row, but on the left side of the bus (he’s on the right) so the folks directly by him took the brunt of his misjudgment. And we are talking an “Exorcist” level of misjudgment.

He hits both the window and the seat in front, so there is a fair degree of splash back. It slides across the window and clobbers the person two seats ahead. The ricochet also takes care of those folks in the right side aisle seats and some cross-over for the aisle, although most of that lands on the floor. It also falls on the seats behind, so this is a caliber of coverage even CNN would envy. The bus driver pulls to a stop and heaves the guy out onto the sidewalk. End of story. However, the bus goes on!

It would not have taken that much to go back, but that was not in the cards. Also, there is nothing on hand to clean the mess and the stench is causing other people to gag. It is strong and wafting everywhere. Now, this bus is on the alternate 2 route, so it goes by the Bonaventure Hotel (oddly, not a hotel participant this year) and takes the long way around to the Omni. I have timed this bus. It is 20 minutes to our hotel, so about 15 to the Omni. But this route adds a few minutes. And it is torture.

It gets to the Omni and those guests flee. The driver advises the people getting on (!) to avoid the messy seats. I would think the stench would be a deterrent, but not to these otakus. The bus gets to stop 2 (Biltmore and Hilton) and the bus practically empties. We later learn that the bus was taken out of service upon its return, but not immediately replaced, so the line was down two buses for most of Day Three.

In all of my times going to this shindig, this is the first incident that I heard of. Could it have happened previously and more often? Always, but it just strikes me as odd, as it is something I never gave any thought to ever occurring. I mean, most participants either know their limit, or choose to cool their heel until they are in a better capacity. And I don’t know what the guy ate or drank or did, but when we came on another bus the following day, the original spew had left a mark. Not a stain, but a mark, as if it was eating through the pavement.

Who knows what they had to do with the bus. Did they burn it completely, just so not to take any chances? Will it be converted to a commuter bus, as those people are in agony anyway, heading off to the Cube Farm, and the stench of retch just adds to their depression? Is it going into the archives? Needless to say, the wife and daughter were wary of any 2 Bus, but as long as it was Bus #5000 (an easy number to remember) things were better-ish.

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