Saturday, September 7, 2019

DR. PEPPER

09/02/2019 - 09/08/2019


I travelled all over the U.S. when I was young.  When I say “travelled” what I mean is I hitchhiked and hopped freight trains and “travelled” from town to town and state to state.  That’s not to say I never found myself in fancy hotels with thick grips of cash, it just means I did it “on the bum”. 

After parting ways with my trusty travelling companion (Starly The Periodically Righteous) I found myself alone in Tucson Arizona.  I made a bunch of money panhandling downtown and hooked up with a group of fellow “travellers” on the way to the liquor store.  I was drinking quite heavily at the time so I desperately needed to fill my prescription and ensure I had medicine enough for the following morning.  After some conversation, these kids were kind enough to invite me to stay at their bridge where there was room enough to have their own apartment between pillars.  They seemed friendly enough and I figured I could use the company, so I hopped in their pick-up truck and off we went.  The evening started out with one of them spilling my whiskey on accident.  No harm, no foul - we just strained the gravel out of that discount American whiskey through the top of a dirty sock.  As the hour grew late I remember thinking about how I didn’t like these people.  I quietly chose the moment to make my exit and retire to my apartment.  I had planned to get up early and make tracks, these were not my people (racist, sexist, homophobic etc.).
I woke up before the sun, got right up, had a big stretch, went for my water bottle to wash the taste of poverty out of my mouth and discovered I had been robbed!  My duffle bag had been rifled through and I had been, as they say, 
“ripped -the fuck- off”!
All I had was dirty clothes and some bread and peanut butter but the bastards stole my harmonica. (As well as a sizeable purse of earnings)
I was pissed!
I packed up my things and slid down the concrete hill to the landing to get some answers. 
When I got to the bottom I discovered police arresting one of these douche bags, who had apparently knocked his girlfriend’s teeth out.  There were police and paramedics and lights and bullshit. 
I just walked across the field to the highway to hitchhike the hell away from there as quickly as possible. 

As soon as I climbed out of the ditch and hit the shoulder of the highway, I stuck out my thumb and the first car that passed me screamed something at me and threw garbage at me out of their window as they passed. 
People kept honking and screaming and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. 
A state trooper pulled over on his motor cycle and lit me up.  He got off of his bike and immediately unlatched his side arm as he began to slowly walk towards me. 
As he approached he yelled 
“Why are you so green?!”
I didn’t understand the question. 
He got even closer and demanded an answer:
“Why in the hell are you so green boy?!”
I told him I was Canadian but I knew my way around and I’d hitchhiked plenty and would be just fine. 
He grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me back to his bike.  He stuffed my face up close to his rear view mirror and again asked:
“Why are you so green?!”
I looked at my reflection and seen that I had been painted green!
My whole face and beard were spray painted green with rust paint. 
I told him about the whiskey and the douche bags and explained how I must’ve been spray painted before, during or after the robbery. 
He just looked at me and shook his head.  Then he grabbed me again by the scruff of the neck and drag-walked me to other side of the overpass I was standing under. 
Just on the other side was a giant billboard that read:
STATE PRISON WITHIN 3 MILES. 
DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS. 
This explained what all the passers by were yelling about and why I couldn’t get a lift.  The trooper began to write me a citation and strongly recommended that I get off the highway and get myself back to a residential area. 
I asked him if I ripped up the ticket, would he take me to jail and give me food and medical attention?
(My feet needed some tending to)
He just looked at me and shook his head.  He strongly repeated his suggestion to return to a residential area.  I looked around and there was only one nearby housing development but it was behind a giant fence topped with razor wire. 
He just nodded his head and then motioned to the fence, this guy said a lot with no words and only his head.  I grabbed my bag and headed for the fence as he returned to his bike.  I got to the top and threw my bag over.  My pants got caught on the wire as I carefully tried to maneuver the razor wire  and I cut my wrist and fell all the way down the other side.  I knocked the wind out of myself and could feel it in my internal organs when he fired up his bike.  
I’ll never forget the look on the two little boys playing at the end of their culdasac when they looked up and seen the green man emerge from the tall grass.  I asked them if there was a store nearby and they just pointed down the street in unison with gaping jaws and wide open eyes.  
I bought a Dr. Pepper and waited for a bus back downtown. 
(My feet were burning bad)
I went from shelter to shelter asking about Operation Go Home (an agency that will give you a bus ticket home to be cared for if you are homeless) and each place would send me on a wild goose chase to the next until I finally found the spot (the absolute last shelter). 
I walked in, or rather dragged my throbbing feet up to the counter. I asked the worker if they handled Operation Go Home to which he quickly replied;
“Yes we do, we have a deal with Greyhound, I can print your ticket right here and you can catch a bus right out front!  Where are you going?”
I said 
“Thank God!  Toronto Ontario Canada!”
He said 
“Ooooh, I’m sorry.  We only handle America.”
I said 
“I meant Detroit Michigan (a short ride into Windsor and back into Canada)
He said
“Do you have any ID that says you’re from Detroit?”
“I don’t have any ID at all”
“I’m really sorry then, here’s a city bus ticket and a bagged lunch, have a nice day.”
Have a nice day?
He gave me a bologna sandwich and told me to have a nice day. 
I shuffled out of there, completely defeated. 
I made my way back to one of the shelters I had visited earlier looking for my golden ticket.  They had mentioned they would be having a turkey dinner that evening and that sounded pretty good right about now.  I panhandled on my way there to replenish my medicine cabinet, by the time I hit the line I was back in business.  I quietly sat and ate my meal and was greatful for it and savoured every bite.  When I was done and clearing my place a couple old home bums approached me and mentioned how they couldn’t help but notice I had the blues.  I told them that he blues ain’t nothin’ but a good man feel in’ down. They invited me back to their camp for a fire.  I figured, what do I have to lose?  I bought us all a flat of beer and we made our way down the tracks into the hobo jungle.  These guys were great!
Funny jokes, interesting stories, warm and kind.  I fell asleep under the stars with my faith in humanity restored. 
Nope, not my people either. 
I woke up with a boot on my throat and another crazy old man kneeing me in the ribs until I could feel and hear them break.  As I laid there I could see two of the other old farts rifling through my duffle bag to find my change.  They found it and then they all ran away in slow motion like you would imagine 4 old homeless men would running through tall grass to make their escape.  
I couldn’t move, I couldn’t believe it, all I could do was laugh, but it hurt too much.  I lay there a good long while looking up at the clouds making animals and objects like when we were kids.  The worst part was, if they had of asked me, I would’ve given them the money, gladly.
I liked them. 
Douche bags. 
I had to get out of this place, but how?  I went to the library and found the maps of the highways.  It’s a complicated system of overpasses as every friggin road in America goes through there spilling into California like a spider web. 
I ran across multi-laned highways, hopped over on ramps, climbed up off ramps, until I eventually found my path.  When I finally got to the road I needed there was a major traffic jam.  I thought this was a miracle because I could just talk to people and easily catch a ride.  
I was wrong. 
I walked all day through the desert. 
My feet were so bad they started to bleed.  They bled so bad that the blood was leaking out and over the tops of my boots. 
The traffic jam let up  and cars started moving but this didn’t change anything for me.  I walked all evening until the sun started to set in the distant west.  I couldn’t go any further, I had to rest.  It gets cold in the desert at night so the only warmth was on the other side of the guard rail on the foot if ash flat  before it’s just bare desert. 
All these bums rob me but none of them wanted my bread and peanut butter?!  I tried to eat some but was so thirsty that I couldn’t swallow it, I would’ve laughed but...
I woke up and started walking again through the dusk.  
I was not in good shape and I was not getting any better.  
I just kept telling myself that I got myself into this situation and I would get myself out of it. 
Over the ridge ahead I could see a glowing light.  I didn’t care if it was THE almighty pure white light at the end of my life, I was going to get to that light. I walked forever until I finally reached the top of that ridge and the source of the mysterious light revealed itself.  I could hear the choirs of angels singing as the lights slowly revealed themselves to be artificial behind the glowing plastic letters that read 
“WAFFLE HOUSE”
It was a truck stop!
I was saved!
I rushed in there like all my prayers had been answered, the security guard took one look at me painted green, with my broken ribs, cut wrist and bleeding rotten feet and he shook his head.  He rushed right over to me and pushed me back out the door. He said
“If you so much as say 1 word to 1 trucker I will personally kick your ass until the cops come!”
I didn’t understand. 
I begged him to please give me a marker and cardboard to at least make a sign to silently solicit a ride form one of his fine patrons. He reluctantly ripped open an empty pack of Marlboro Reds and slapped a thin pink highlighter in my hand. 
I made my sign and he agreed to let  me sit out front if I “kept my fucking mouth shut.”  When he wasn’t looking I “stole”a half eaten bag of Fire Ball Doritos out of the garbage, they were surprisingly easier to swallow than bread and peanut butter without water. 
I sat there for 2 days, under his insanely unreasonable watchful eye pointing to my tiny white cigarette package sign that read in dying pink highlighter ink, two letters;
“L.A.”
If you’re ever lucky enough to find your people, hold on to them, TIGHT. 
(After ALL of that I went to Vegas and ended up winning $5,800!

But that’s ANOTHER story😉)

On Monday
 (it was Labor Day)
I met with Dana and we worked like crazy on the final Blood script!
(we're now 2/3 complete!)
On Tuesday we saw Adeline off to her first day in GRADE 1!!!
Then I played in the Semi-Finals of the Fever Pitch competition with Pepperoni Pizza Cats!
(We entered the Semi-Finals tied for 2nd with Lavender Boy)
The winner of Fever Pitch gets their own show at Bad Dog Theatre!
(we lost)
On Wednesday I found out that the theatre booked another show in my time slot. 
On Thursday I had lasagna with Mom & Mags!
I told them at work that I would NOT be driving any more.
On Friday they tried to make me drive.
(I did NOT)
On Saturday I worked, my boss/friend gave me her free parking spot while she goes on a cruise to Ala$ka!
(I didn't drive and I never will again, my end date is Oct. 23rd!)
On Sunday I stayed home...
(They changed my Regular Days Off (RDO's) from Friday & Saturday to Sunday & Monday)

DR. PEPPER




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