I was riding a bus through the western United States. From the eastern border of Wyoming down through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, … onward to my destination.
There was a young man who rode with us for a while. He came from Gillette, Wyoming: pop. 29,087 or 2.4 people per acre.
He told us that
- He had already tried dating every girl in his town
- He was riding the bus on a mission of love. He had saved up enough money by working in the oil fields to “rescue” his long-distance girlfriend.
Rescue her from what? was the response from most of the women to whom he told this story on our journey.
His girlfriend lived 3,000 kilometres away. They had never met in person. She was living with her ex-boyfriend, who, according to the young man on the bus, was still having sex with her (but she didn’t want to).
To the many women to whom he told this story during the 30-hour bus ride he relayed varying stories of the ex-boyfriend’s jerkitude, as well as of the strength of his relationship with this young woman.
- They had talked every day for a year and a half.
- She told him she loved him.
- He was going out there to save her and bring her back to Wyoming to live with him.
- (By the way: having given up the oil fields for some reason that slips my mind, he was working at a petrol station doing stuff like preparing pizza, slicing deli meats, and mopping floors. He lived with a roommate but I believe the roommate was willing to move out once he brought the young woman back to Gillette, Wyoming.)
To say the story was met with scepticism by the female co-Greyhounders would be a gross understatement. Many, ranging in age from (I guess) late teens to middle age, tried to warn the young man of the error of what he was doing.
- He was missing the obvious signs.
- She lives with the other guy.
- You’ve never been next to her in person.
- She’s lying to you, or to him, or both.
- He was just lonely (and, they were too polite to add—ugly and lacking in social sense) to see things clearly.
But he was resolute. He had saved up enough money to rent a car to drive both of them back to Wyoming. He had brought duffel bags for her belongings. He had arranged for her to meet his foster parents in Colorado on the way home.
I never got to hear how the story ended.