Bus trip is people watching at its finest

So right now I’m on a bus.

It doesn’t have the same ring to it as, ‘I’m on a boat.’

But four of the last 14 days have been spent on a bus pretty much the whole day.

I’ve often heard if you ever want to people watch, go to the airport. I’ve done a lot of flying this year for my other job, but nothing in my five weeks of being out of town for those travels compares to a day on the bus.

My son lives in Minnesota and in the last year, I’ve been utilizing the Megabus for my travels to go pick him up and take him to his northern home.

Oh, the people I’ve met and listened to. If the airport is the local grocery of people watching, Megabus is the Super Wal-Mart of people watching.

Here are some of the people highlights of the four days worth of Megabus trips in the last two weeks:

* A fellow sports writer, or at least I think retired sports writer from Minnesota, who was 80 years old and still had some 1930s views. When he talked about the athletic talent pool in Minnesota, he referred to an African American player who is one of the best recruits, by a term that I thought was last used decades ago. Did I mention that the Megabus is filled with all kinds of ethnicities? But clearly he wasn’t done. He made a derogatory comment about Jewish people and this was all within 15 minutes of getting on the bus. He and his wife, who thought nothing of the way he was talking, left us in Milwaukee.

* Andy Cole. Yes, the former A-T sports writer I saw Tuesday on his way back to Chicago from Toledo. I sat in my seat and looked at the passengers getting on, I saw Cole and thought that looked like him but he was trying to get his ticket situation worked out, so I didn’t just want to call out Andy. But then he gave his e-mail address to the driver and that was all the confirmation I needed. He and I walked together for a few blocks in Chicago catching up before my son and I had to duck into a store. He still follows Seneca County sports pretty heavily and misses writing sports and the lower cost of living in Tiffin versus Chicago.

* On my way out, I sat across from a woman who was amazed that she was meeting a journalist and she planned on writing all about me in her journal that night. She was so amazed, she called her mother and her best friend to tell them about it but sadly, neither was available. She asked me what I listen to when I write and what I was writing about at that moment (I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was a high school wrestling preview).

* The last bus I was on (and the one I’m writing this column from) featured a true cast of characters who talked about most food being poison, mushrooms being the best source of all things good from sustenance to healing to who knows what and oh my personal favorite: pharmacy is witchcraft. The conversation was led by a guy who looked like a down-on-his-luck mall Santa who lives in one of the two most predominant places for mushrooms.

* On this bus I sit across from a woman who has such a servant’s heart for people. She’s the last surviving member of seven siblings and looks after her nieces and nephews. She told me of about a half dozen of them who currently have cancer. A cancer survivor herself, she was traveling to Toledo to care for her niece who was just about to start chemotherapy. She just returned in October from Florida where she stayed with a relative while he went through the same thing. She was skipping Christmas in Chicago to be with her niece during this trying time. In the midst of all the crazy, it was nice to see people like Andy and this woman to bring some sanity to the trip.

I don’t ride the Megabus for the people. I ride it because it has outlets and marginal Wi-Fi that works 60 percent of the time. Most of all, I ride it for the price. For what I would spend in gas roundtrip to Minnesota and back once, I can make this trip twice via the Megabus.

The key to surviving is keeping to yourself.

Because you don’t know when the crazy shoe is going to drop.

Fantasy advice for the week: That advice of keeping to yourself could be applied to your fantasy football teams as we near the close of the fantasy football season.

As I’ve said in this space previously, the playoffs are not the time to get cute and bench Peyton Manning for a hot Nick Foles or something like that. You play what got you there.

There are a few exceptions however.

One green opportunity for point growth comes from Ladarius Green. Over the last three weeks, only three other tight ends have outscored Green. In a year where guys like Tony Gonzalez, Jermichael Finley and the like haven’t exactly been crushing it, Green is an excellent pickup, despite being the second TE for the Chargers behind Antonio Gates. The Chargers run a lot of two-TE sets and Green has a favorable matchup this week with the Giants. He’s had nine grabs for 206 yards and two scores in that time frame among 16 targets.

Michael Crabtree made his return to the field for the first time this season and it’s time for him to make his return to a fantasy roster near you. He’s not No. 1 or No. 2 receiver at this point, but could be a flex option, particularly in a couple of weeks when he’s back in full-blown football mode.

Speaking of guys coming back, Jay Cutler is expected to return this week from his injury. If he does, he could be a right away start given the productiveness thus far this year. You could certainly do worse this week in your pickup than Cutler, but I’d pick him up and stash him on your bench before he blows up and he’s not available any longer.

Speaking of guys who should be no longer available: Donald Brown. With the tandem with Trent Richardson finally over with Richardson’s demotion to second string, Brown has the chance to get the bulk of the carries in a contract year. I’d expect big production from him down the stretch. To find a guy like Brown this late in the season is rare. If for some reason he’s still on your league’s free agent shelves, do yourself a favor and buy yourself a little Christmas present.

With that, I’m beginning to get a little hungry and I’m eager to hear what the most-food-is-poison lady has to say about my food purchases at the rest area. Given their advice, I think I’ll get a mushroom swiss burger with a side of fried mushrooms and wash it down with a Mountain Dew, an Advil and a side of crazy.

Aaron Korte is the A-T’s fantasy football writer. He can be reached at akorte@advertiser-tribune.com. You can follow him on Twitter @KorteClarkKent.