Showing posts with label #mickparsons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #mickparsons. Show all posts

10 July, 2013

Williston Update: Eyes And Ears

I got to a state where phrases like "the Good, the True, the Beautiful" filled me with a kind of suppressed indignation.." - Thomas Merton

The biggest change since the last time I traveled by train is the heightened sense of paranoia... I mean security. There's a huge television in the Concourse B Lounge that plays a video on a permanent loop. The smiling, friendly woman in an Amtrak engineer's uniform assures us that we were all in this together. TSA, along with city,county, and state police are all working together to ensure that our rail experience is safe and enjoyable. They have specially trained explosive sniffing dogs. While the friendly engineer lady reads the cue cards, a montage of competent officers and well-trained dogs plays. Everyone is calm and courteous and official. 



But, that's not enough, according to the kind engineer lady and one of the calm and courteous and official TSA agents. 



"After all," he proclaims to the camera, "we're all in this together!"

They say they need my help. MY HELP. Why, I can be a hero,too! I can be the eyes and ears of the police and turn in people who look suspicious.

Whatever that means. The video makes sure to not advocate racial profiling. I am told several times to focus on behavior, not looks. The nice engineer lady is Black. The TSA is Latino. All of the people committing "suspicious acts" are white... and a few of them are even dressed like urban professionals.

After all, it could be anybody.

The thing about traveling, whether you're on your own or whether you are traveling with someone or with a group, is that at some point you have to be able to reach out to fellow travellers. Even if it's just to ask directions or about some procedural. In order to travel, you need to know when to reach out and ask for basic assistance. 

Yes, there are going to be less than trustworthy people; but generally, if you keep your wits about you, and you pay attention to your surroundings, you begin to learn who you can reach out to.

But does that mean that I need to be not  racially profiling and report some abstract "suspicious" behavior to a cop?

I don't know. I tend not to trust cops. I know there are good ones and there are bad ones... but in the end, they're the arm of an institution I have long lost faith in. And for all the talk in that Orwellian video about NOT racially profiling, the fact is that cops do generally profile people. The fact is WE ALL generally profile people. For example, when I say "I don't trust the police" I realize I'm lumping a whole bunch of people  together. The best I can do is try and remember that when they're people,too. 

I sometimes hear the phrase "post 9/11America." The heightened sense of paranoia... I mean security... and increased hassle of traveling. Random searches and added delays are a part of the deal. Your property is not private if some representative of one of the cooperating agencies decides you are behaving in a suspicious way. 

14 February, 2012

Mr. Mick Goes to Washington, Part 1: Pagans, Politics, and Gay Vikings

Aside from the murders, DC has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. -- Marion Barry



Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. -- Ambrose Bierce

My first full day in our nation's capitol has been spent nursing the Achilles Tendon on my left foot -- which has, at this most inconvenient time, decided to stiffen and swell, making it difficult to stand, much less walk. I fully expect to be able to hobble around just fine tomorrow, since I'm planning gimp around Capitol Hill and at least ... at the VERY least... check out the Rothko exhibit in the National Gallery. 

I have a rail pass I need to use and I intend to use it. Even if it means I ride the subway all day people watching.

[Yes. I just might. Even though my dear and lovely, my one and only daughter informed me when visiting her that my tendency to eavesdrop and people watch makes me a CREEPER. I reject this, of course. It's research. Pure research.]

The trip from Norfolk (pronounced Nor'fuk) was relatively uneventful. I somehow managed to procure a cab, even though the light dusting of snow the night before pretty much shut the city down.  I have no tolerance anymore for people that don't know how to handle weather. Apparently the city trucks were out -- while the snow was falling -- spreading salt on the streets.  The problem is, of course, that it helps to have a layer of it down BEFORE the snow hits. 

But since that makes sense ... and the Norfolk is a DOD (Department of Defense, in case you were wondering) town ... it's too much to expect anything about it to make sense.

I got to the bus station in plenty of time, though. And I even managed to get some more sleep while I was waiting... though every good spot to stretch out was taken. There was a delay,though, because the driver didn't want to load the people from another bus onto our bus. And that took entirely too long to work out.

Finally, though, After a short stop in Hampton and Richmond, I made it into D.C.

My first order of business was to find the landmark that would lead me to my friend, Eric. Eric told me to find a bus on one of the corners of the circle in front of Union Station. And I found it, after wandering around in downtown D.C. for a bit. Downtown D.C. on a Sunday afternoon reminded me of downtown Cincinnati on a Sunday. Nothing was open and the streets were deserted. Like post-apocalypse deserted. Like near that scene in  The Devils' Advocate deserted.


To remind people that it's not a place for free speech. 



Yes, it's true. In Washington, circles have corners -- which, as far as I can tell, explains just about every stupid thing about government that I've ever noticed.

Union Station is a monstrosity. Meant to be confusing, designed to look like a prison from 1 NE Street and like a scrubbed up Bastille from Massachusetts Ave, Union Station is the kind of place everyone gets lost.  It's the kind of place that makes sense once you've been through it a dozen or so times, and not all that forgiving to the first time rider. That they're in the process of renovating a big chunk of it doesn't help with finding your way around.

I finally made it outside on to the circle, only to find that it, too, is partially under construction. Commuter cars and taxi cabs, along with one stretched limo... out of which stepped a snotty looking 20-something who clearly didn't earn any of the money that paid the old negro chauffeur to get out and open the door for him. My bus was across the circle, on the south east corner (See?). This meant that I had to reach deep into the well of skills honed from early 1980's video games and Frogger my way across the circle -- crossing traffic twice.

I've lived and walked around in cities before, so I understand the basic assumption that everyone in a car is trying to kill pedestrians. I don't particularly see this as malevolent... that is to say... intentional on an individual basis... but rather, I understand the passive aggressive homicidal impulse. It's not that they hate pedestrians especially; they simply resent anyone or anything that comes between them and their destination and since most people won't give into the urge to kill the people they really WANT to kill (bosses, snarky co-workers, rude baristas, spouses) they end up taking it out on the innocent (pedestrians, the homeless, spouses, children, school teachers).


I blame these people

After making my way across the circle, dodging traffic and construction, I waited for the bus. The winter storm that's been chasing me across six states finally caught up with in Norfolk and it beat me to D.C. It was cold as balls when I arrived on Sunday. It took a while for the 96 bus to arrive, but when it did I paid my fare -- $1.70 -- and sat down as the bus wound it's way up Massachusetts Avenue, Capitol Hill, and back on to Massachusetts, up to 15th, my stop.

Eric volunteers on Sundays at the Open Hearth Foundation, a D.C. based Pagan Community Center. Eric is helping them organize a small but respectable library... and by organize, he's making sure that the library has online system for tracking the books, they're properly labeled and enumerated ... using the Library of Congress system (which made me smile.). There are advantages to having an active volunteer that's both a librarian and a practicing pagan.

I hadn't seen Eric in around 20 years; we reconnected on Facebook and had chatted some. When he heard I might be heading this direction, he graciously offered to let me crash with him and his husband Arc.

Arc(As in Archimedes) is a rugby player. He plays in a gay rugby league. My arrival happens to coincide with his first practice of the season, and so he eats, sleeps, talks, thinks, breathes, rugby. This drives Eric a little nuts, but since they've been together for several years, surely he had some clue as to what he was getting into. Arc sort of looks like a slightly short Viking. He shaves his head and has a blondish auburn beard. The only thing he talks about as much as rugby is men... and that, I suspect, is because the two things are linked in his spacial memory. Sometimes I think maybe he's trying to play "Mess With the Hetero"... but I've been drunk around theater kids... it takes A LOT to throw me off. I also once walked in on an instance of gay restroom sex at a Greyhound Station in Mobile, Alabama. Impromptu anal sex has a... SPECIFIC... odor. I won't illuminate further.

The Open Hearth Foundation is currently jammed into too small a space above a liquor store and a laundromat at the corner of 15 and Massachusetts in what looks like a thoroughly residential neighborhood. The building looks like it was built in the late 60's or early 70's... has that sort of watered down Art Deco look with an exterior that's been painted several times... this time white with blue highlights.


Out in front. Every city should have something like this.


Once up the stairs, I was made immediately welcome by Eric and his friends Xenia, Donna, and Donna's daughter, Adaryn. The conversation was light, and interesting. Pagans and witches are, by large, interesting folk to know. The best of them are open minded, interesting, and stress free to deal with. At least, the ones I've met. (And, believe it or not, this was NOT my first experience with pagans or witches or practicing Satanists.)  Donna had lived for some time in Tucson, so we talked about Arizona some. Her daughter, apparently, is infected by the same itchy footedness as me. According to Eric, she's a professional body piercer who also just got a job at the Hard Rock Cafe. 

She had several herself, so this wasn't a stretch for me to believe. Piercings make sense on some people; on some people they don't. I used wear earrings, but I got tired of dealing with, Adaryn is one of the cryptically beautiful and interesting people who looks precisely the way she ought to look... if that makes any sense at all. But then, I've always like intense and interesting people.

When they were finished for the day, Xenia -- who was getting ready to do some traveling herself -- drove us to the nearest subway station to catch the Green Line. Xenia is just a nice person. Bubbly, with a very Earthly vibe.

By the time we made it back to Eric and Arc's house on Fairmont, near Columbia Heights, my left foot was throbbing out of my shoe, but otherwise, my introduction into the city has been relatively successful. 

More to come...

[If you like what you read here, you can help by:
  1. Passing the link around.
  2. Graciously donating to the cause using the button on the right hand side of the screen, or by going to paypal.com and donating to mickp@gmx.com.
  3. Contact Catherine Sellers at Greyhound, 415-331-6049. Tell them you are asking about a sponsorship when the operator picks up. I write about them enough. They should be helping me help them. Right??
  4. NOTE: My next stop will be NYC, after which I'll be swinging back through the Midwest to in order to take care of business in Illinois and to gather steam for a push west. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.] 

10 February, 2012

An Ohio Valley Yankee in Virginia, Part 4: Of Mice, Of Men, and the Etiquette of Cheap Motels

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. -- Joseph Campbell 


My only key... to a lock I don't have.
I'm writing this post from a cheap motel on the north side of the city. This motel has rooms that face Chesapeake Bay; mine is not one of those. My room faces the street, W Ocean View Avenue. There are no peaceful sounds of waves, though I have gone out on the beach to look at the water and think. Time and memories collapse the way waves crash into the break and pull back; I can here to see my daughter, my only child, blood of my blood. I came here, hoping to learn how to let go.


Against my better judgement, but in favor of trying to retain some bit of dignity in front of my daughter, I decided to find a cheap motel somewhere near her. In order to do that, I needed to find someplace to do some research; which meant, I needed a tour guide.


Luckily, Stella was able to give me bus instructions from where I was on the south east side of town to the northern suburbs near Ocean View Park. I went back over to the place where the bus had deposited me, at the intersection of Monticello and VA Beach Blvd, and crossed the big parking lot to the bus hub. I made my way through the crowd of mugs and thugs and thug wanna bes to the #1 bus, which would take me down Monticello, to Grandby, to Ocean View. Some of the landmarks looked familiar from the last time I was here. But the landscape is a different place when you're driving in a rented car and when you're riding a metro bus.


(It made me think about the last time I was here, with Melissa. We found the cheapest flights we could from Arizona -- which meant three different transfers. We missed the last one and had to take a later flight. We rented a car at the airport, found a cheap motel -- another Super 8 in another part of town -- and were able to spend a few days. On the way home, we weren't able to sit together on the longest leg of the flight, and Melissa cried because she was afraid the plane would crash and we would die not being together. That time seems so far away now. Another life.)

Riding by, I saw my daughter's middle school, so I knew we were close to her mother's house, where she lives. Then the bus rolled by her high school. Eventually, the bus got to the bus stop near the Ocean View Shopping Mall, and Stella was there waiting for me.

It was good seeing her; it had been two years since her last visit. That had been Melissa and mine's first summer in Mount Carroll. Stella normally visited us for at least month, sometimes six weeks; but that time, she could only stay for 2 weeks. 

We walked around a bit. She showed me Ocean View Park, and we talked. Updates. School. Grades. Her plans for the future... which by the way, are good ones. Boyfriend.

(Who, I might add, I haven't met. Yet. She did stop by tonight, on her way to a school dance and endured a a few pictures that I have since posted on Facebook. Her mother was kind enough to drive her over first, along with a few of the friends. Her mother looked mildly horrified and nervous about being in this part of town. The friends looks mildly bemused, having only heard about me in the 3rd person.I know I make an AMAZING first impression."Hey Gang. This is my Dad, the homeless writer. Don't stare too long.")


Then she showed me the public library, which had free WiFi, and I did a little research. The nearest motel that seemed almost within my price range was the Super 8 I'm currently staying in. Then we went to dinner; I sprung for KFC. This KFC, like a lot of them now, is combined with a Taco Bell. Whenever I'm in one... which isn't often... I wonder what ol' Colonel Sanders would think about that.


(If you're not familiar with the history of KFC, Col. Sanders, and Corbin, Kentucky... there' a rich history that includes both KFC and the KKK. But they do serve liquor by the drink now. And I think there's one or two blacks... which is as close to integration as it may ever get.)


Stella stayed home from school yesterday, but she was feeling better and planned on going to school today... because

  1. She's bored at sitting home; and
  2. There's a dance tonight she wanted to go to.
We parted after dinner so she could walk home before it got dark. And started hoofing the 1.7 miles up Ocean View to the Super 8. It was a long 1.7 miles, partly because I was tired and partly because my bag can get a little heavy. But I finally got there, checked in for the night, took a shower and tried to relax. My feet were killing me... the Achilles Tendon on my left ankle was throbbing like nobody's business. 

(That I have lousy feet is a matter of record. And that I refuse to stop walking simply because they hurt is a matter of stubborn pride. I like to walk, pain or no pain. And believe it or not, bourbon works just fine as a pain killer... though I am woefully short of even cheap rye.)

I find myself here a lot... not the Super 8 on W Ocean View, but in a cheap motel, running short of cash and options. I paid for another night, and bought my Greyhound bus ticket for D.C., leaving from the station -- on the complete opposite side of town, near where I was dropped off -- and I've got some finagling to do between now and Sunday morning. I may go ahead and blow what I have left to stay one more night -- which will give me more time with Stella tomorrow. I've got D.C. lined up, and New York after that... at which point, I'll swing back through the Midwest... as soon as I can, at any rate.

The funny part of this whole thing ... this whole trip that has no foreseeable end except for what finances allow... is that other than writing, this is the other thing I've done that ever made any sense to me. I don't object to cheap motels. I make fun of them. I make fun of the door with the broken safety bar that was clearly pried open. (I'd guess a squatter or a drug bust.) I like making fun of the television that can't be turned off and the heater that sounds like the engine of B-52.

And the truth is, the reason doesn't bother me is because I don't need much. I need a place to write. I need a place to sleep. I consider myself lucky to have friends who accept and love me in spite of my numerous short comings -- one of them being the fact that the only time I've ever really at peace in the world is when I choose to live outside of the prescriptive rules it sets.

That, in large part, is what inspired this blog to begin with... the idea that I can do what I need to do and make my way in the world without doing what other people want me to do. This isn't the first time I've sacrificed a life for my writing -- which, if I'm being honest, is a large part of what happened to my marriage. At least on my side. No one person can destroy a marriage; the only advantage of a decade long relationship ending/changing is that I get to carry my own baggage and no one else's. I don't envy Melissa hers.  But in order for me to process this whole thing -- this entire past 10 years that, when I reflect, was more good than bad -- I have to deal with my own baggage. 

I have to embrace the fact that my writing, and the ability to pick up and go are not mutually exclusive. I'm not saying it's necessary for everyone; I'm just talking about me. At some point, I'll probably find someplace to stay for a while... but in the end, I'll probably end up leaving that, too. 


[If you like what you read here, you can help by:
  1. Passing the link around.
  2. Graciously donating to the cause using the button on the right hand side of the screen;
  3. Contact Catherine Sellers at Greyhound, 415-331-6049. Tell them you are asking about a sponsorship when the operator picks up. Show them what happens when I don't write about them. Exert pressure. Remember: you are The People.

Thanks for reading.]


08 February, 2012

An Ohio Valley Yankee in Virginia, Part 1: "Daddy,What's a Train?"

"She blew so loud and clear, we had to cover up our ears..." -Utah Phillips

"It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." -Mark Twain

It's costing me $4.95 to hook into the wireless at the Richmond Amtrak station, so I want to get this posted as quickly as possible and get about spending the night here. And I'm doing it all for YOU, dear faithful few readers. 

I found this sticky table place near the train station shortly after departing. And yes, I was hungry... I don't eat much when I travel, so it's not surprising that I would be hungry. (Please consult The Greyhound Quarto, available for download here for a more in depth explanation.)

The thing that attracted me to this absolute paragon of cuisine... generally overpriced, probably lard based, and oddly flavorless in spite of looking like something sort of resembling food... was the subheading. As well as the 1970's era neon sign in the window reading COCKTAILS. I wanted something in my stomach and I wanted something in my liver. And since, I had already splurged for a train ticket to Norfolk (really Newport News... with a bus ride into downtown Norfolk) rather than try and figure out the metro bus system. So I lose my $7 fair. But it was still pretty cheap... $28. Not to mention the fact that trains are roomier... bigger seats, more leg room, and a dining car -- with food and drinks that's overpriced and undercooked.

 I didn't experience the wonder taking a shit on the rails. But there's always tomorrow.

And before you ask... NO, I haven't given up on Greyhound Bus Lines. I'm merely playing hard to get. I mean, there's nothing wrong with THAT is there? Don't I have the right to shake my ta-tas and see if I can get those bus executives to throw a little patronage my way???


Mike and Liz woke up before Gawd this morning to take me to the Ashland train station. It started snowing... feeding my growing paranoia that the weather is out to get me, and is constantly pushing me along. Liz, being a cold weather person, was excited by the prospect; I, however, was not.

But the snow then dissipated and stopped altogether. So maybe... just maybe... I'm not at the heart of some meteorological conspiracy.

Maybe. Stay tuned for updated on this one.

The Amtrak Cardinal arrived about a half hour late -- a time we were doomed to not make up the entire day. There are other differences between bus and train travel. On the train, for example, I couldn't sit anywhere I wanted. I was told where to sit. Luckily, though, I got a window seat. I figured I'd sleep for a few hours and try and catch the scenery. Whatever that would be. 

I have to admit at this point to a certain ambivalence -- some might call it hatred -- of (By Gawd!!!) West Virginia. I have lingering memories of driving up Sandstone Mountain on I-64 East, on my way to pick up Stella at the Virginia / (By Gawd!!!) West Virginia State line for scheduled visits. We would meet at a rest stop just passed Exit 1. My car -- a primer orange 1984 Subaru LS Sedan with a massive oil leak, no radio, a leaky exhaust, and a tricky heater that I had to sometimes start by slamming the alternator with a sledgehammer -- almost always nearly overheated trying to climb the 2650 foot Sandstone Mountain, leaving me no choice but to stop at the Beckley mega-stop to let the car cool off and refill it with oil.

And because I could not choose my seat, I could not choose my seat mate. There was a cute blonde I thought might be worth talking to... would've meant an aisle seat, too... but I was perfectly willing to sacrifice.

Instead, I got stuck with 80 year old widower Ralph Miller. Native of Ashland, on his way to visit his son who lives in Manassas, Virginia. Now, in addition to being a widower, Ralph is also a godly man who lives life to the fullest. I know this because Ralph told me this, in various forms, over and over again. He also talked at length about his wife, who has only been dead two months. He also explained to me that the problem with the world is that kids aren't disciplined anymore.

I'm gliding over and making fun; but it was good to talk to Ralph. We probably agree on next to nothing; and I told him nothing of my situation, other than I was on my way to visit my daughter. He was very kind... even when I disagreed about his decision, as a member of his local school board, to ban a particular text that "encouraged the overthrow of the government" and sought to teach students "how to start a riot and how to build bombs."

I'm guessing that he either didn't notice or didn't understand the IWW pin on the lapel of my coat. I would have showed him the Hakim Bey book that Mike gave me before I left, but it fell out of my pocket and was nowhere to be seen. Grr...

He leaned over and whispered "And you know who it was...." he looked around and leaned in closer. So did I, since I knew it was going to be a whopper. "It was by one of them COLORED writers." (Yes, I know, I know. He's 80. He's from Kentucky. Whatever.)

The tiresome generational racism aside, talking to Ralph was interesting enough, and so was the scenery. West Virginia, when you get away from the interstates, is really a beautiful state. Desolate. Depressed. But still beautiful. Once you get past the industrial decay and academic lethargy around Huntington and Charleston, the Amtrak Cardinal runs along the New River... which is the 2nd longest river in the world. You roll by Canal Falls, and the nearby dam/power plant which provides around 35,000 megawatts of energy for more than 4500 homes. The New River Gorge also holds another power dam at Hawk's Nest -- which, among other things, is famous for causing most of the workers who dug the water tunnel into the mountain to develop Silicosis resulting from hitting a cache of silica in the mountain.

Rolling through West Virginia, and knowing even a little of the history of the Appalachian region -- you can't help but get a sense of the tragedy. In fact, it's the tragedy that makes the scenery beautiful. Beautiful and sad. I submit for your approval, the town of Thurmond, WV, population 7.

That's right. 7. Maybe 6, since it's possible someone died.

Thurmond used to be one of those prosperous coal mining towns. And then, of course, the coal ran out and so did the coal company. Thurmond has since been swallowed up by the Department of National Resources, and is suffering a languishing death because... or so I overheard on the train... the DNR won't let the town move forward. No real renovation. No bringing in new business. No real chance to expand and grow. And so, it's dying.

The good news is, Thurmond will always be remembered... in the way the Disney Small Worlds ride is remembered: nice enough scenery if you're rolling by and happen not to be making out with someone. Thurmond is a case where, between the coal company's greed and the DNR's-- and, for all I know, the town leaders -- myopic notions of progress and restoration -- a town will simply cease to exist. This is something I know a little about, having seen it in Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and now, West Virginia. 

And since I'm paying for this wireless access, I might as well also point out that, in spite of Ralph's obvious bigotry, I found it difficult not to like him. I don't buy into the generational excuse; I believe anyone can change... it's just that most people choose NOT to. I like that he's 80 and that he still loves his wife. He even joked about trying to find another wife, then said there wasn't a point... because, he said, there was no chance of ever finding anything close to what he had with her. And even though he did, at one point, try and save my soul, I found the old guy endearing. Because he's still moving forward. He's still trying to learn. He's not sitting at home in Ashland moping. 

That's something worth thinking about over gin and tonic and tasteless pork barbecue.

[If you like what you read here, you can help by:
  1. Passing the link around.
  2. Graciously donating to the cause using the button on the right hand side of the screen;
  3. Contact Catherine Sellers at Greyhound, 415-331-6049. Tell them you are asking about a sponsorship when the operator picks up. I write about them enough. They should be helping me help them. Right??

Thanks for reading.]


07 February, 2012

Baboon in the Bluegrass: The Saga of Charlene and Marlene (Ashland, KY)


"If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world." -- Francis Bacon

This was the day before yesterday, Sunday. I'd run out of deodorant, soap, and shampoo before I left Willow Drive. And while I don't mind a little stink, I do try to ward of the human stain when relying on the kindness and the couch of friends or family. So that meant a trip to the drug store.


Liz was gone a large part of the day, taking Mike's mother to a casino near Charleston, West Virginia. I spent the day writing, hanging out with Mike, watching snooty English Dramas, and watching him recover from hangover. We spent Saturday evening relaxing, visiting, drinking, and singing L'Internationale. Mike drank more than I did and passed out -- but not until he went about drunk dialing some people, like friend and poet Misty Skaggs, and his sister-in-law. He was polite, and almost... almost... apologetic to Misty. To his sister-in-law, Mike said 

"Your pussy stinks like turpentine." 

Then he laughed hysterically. And so did Liz. And so did I.

He survived the night, drank some water the following day, and was just fine.


When Liz came home, she ran Mike and I up to CVS. My plan was to buy travel size supplies. Not only would that save me money, but a little space in my sack, too. Walking into the CVS, I felt like I was walking into a department store. It had been a while since I walked into a pharmacy that big. Seriously. The Pharmacy Center in Mount Carroll could've fit in a corner of the Ashland CVS. And yes, I have lived in more populated places with larger drug stores, grocery stores, liquor stores. Yes, I know. And that I was, for the briefest instant, struck with confusion at the sheer amount of choices I had to choose from, sounds absurd. And it is absurd. That I can walk into a drug store on a Sunday afternoon and get everything from flip flops to dental floss, from Ramen Noodles to Roach Killer, from batteries to bubble bath, strikes me as 


Everything except beer. Kentucky Blue Laws made THAT impossible. Bastards.

After my eyes grew accustomed to the glow of the fluorescent lights, I quickly found soap, shampoo, and deodorant. I also bought some disposable razors and a travel sized can of shaving cream so that I can trim back my beard... or at least, shave my neck.

 It's good, sometimes, to try and look human... even if I often wish I wasn't.

Liz and Mike picked up a few things and we prepared to check out. As we did, we first ran into a woman trying to maneuver two shopping carts -- one holding an infant in a carrier, the other for shopping. She was clearly having a difficult time, and the construction of the CVS carts weren't working in her favor; the carrier was too big and the carts were too small. She finally managed to push both of them towards  the shampoo aisle. The baby was surprisingly silent.

At the moment we were about to step up to the register, Liz was then accosted by an older woman who seemed to know Liz.

"... and you know what," she said. "I'm still living with that son of a bitch and he's got some woman that sleeps over."

"Is that right?" Liz asked.

The woman -- who we found out was living with her ex -- was clearly irritated by the situation. She was tense and shaking. and even behind the granny thick glasses -- which was framed by wiry, frizzy graying black hair spots of white that looked like extensions of the crows feet and frown lines dug deep into gray face --  it was obvious that the woman was tweaking on something. Crack or redneck cocaine* or maybe even meth... anything was possible.

"And you know what?" she went on. "Last night, that woman climbed into bed with ME. Can you believe that?"

"Is that right?" Liz asked.

"Well, you know what my daughter said..."

"No," Liz answered. "What'd she say?"

"She said I ort ta reach over an GRAB something!" The woman reached out with bony vulture fingers and grabbed the air as if to demonstrate how she might just go about grabbing... uh... something. (Additionally, the mental image was not at all pleasant.)

"Well," Liz said, "Maybe you should."

"Maybe I will!" She said. "That'll learn her."

"I bet it will," Liz said.

We paid for our purchases and left. The woman walked out with us, still talking to Liz about grabbing a piece of the woman who crawls into her and her ex's bed. Once we hit the parking lot, she made for an old model white and blue Ford F150. We got into Mike and Liz's Chevy Aveo Sedan.

"Who was that?" Mike asked as we got in the car.

"I don't know," Liz said. "She just started talking to me like we were in the middle of a conversation."

We laughed about it a bit, and got on the road. We ended up behind the Ford, and then beside it. Liz honked and waved at the woman, who honked and waved back."

"Well, honey," Mike said. "Looks like you made yourself a friend."

"I bet her name is Charlene," Liz said, laughing.

"And I bet she's thinking you're someone she knows," I said. "I bet she thinks your name is Marlene."


[If you like what you read here, you can help by:
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Thanks for reading.]

06 February, 2012

Baboon in the Bluegrass, Part 5: Hillybilly Hot Dogs and Pentecostal Swingers ( Ashland, KY)

  “...at midnight Ashland, Kentucky, and a lonely girl under the marquee of a closed up show.” -Jack Kerouac


After a week of being plied with gin, poetry, and wonderful company, finally it was time to push east.  After a week of Spring-like weather, I woke up Saturday morning and it was cold and rainy.

Shit. Am I being chased by the weather? Again?

It was starting to feel like it. I barely escaped Illinois with a snow storm at my heels;  by the time I left Cincinnati, the cold and the rain were onto me like bad cop drama. Lexington was cold and windy. If  I decide to head south after I visit Stella,, it will be to escape the winter that's chasing me.

The trip to Ashland was short, and George was kind enough to drive me from his and Laura's place on Willow Drive straight to the door of college friends Mike and Elizabeth Fraizer. I've known both Elizabeth and Mike for many years, Theirs was another one of those weddings I missed, once upon a time. (Sorry Mike and Liz!)  But they have been gracious enough to let bum on the wheel spend a few days, sleep on their very comfy couch and take advantage of their hot water and their washer and dryer -- not to mention the prodigious liquor cabinet which would make any drinking man take pause.

I have always tried to balance the amount of money I spend against my taste for good swill; which is to say, sometimes you can afford the Good Shit and sometimes you can't. Mostly, I haven't been able to. This means I balance taste and cost in what seems a teeter totter sort of compromise. I try to avoid, for example, cheap whiskey. I will, when forced by economics or necessity,drink Bud Lite. I'll even cut corners -- though not many -- on scotch. But I insist, in most cases, on Kentucky Bourbon.

Mike and Liz take the approach that drinking, if done, should be done not only with great care and occasional abandon, but that it should only be done with high class hooch. For his part, Mike is something of and Anglophile when it comes to booze; it's Irish Whiskey -- none of that Jameson shit, either, we're talking pure Irish stock -- and proper English or Irish Ales and Stouts.  Liz is fully on board, having fully engaged sense of the finer things -- be it booze, home cooking, literature, and trashy pop culture. 

(from thesmokinggun.com)
[A good example of this is Jailed. This publication, which is something like an inbred child of the World Weekly News and the Jerry Springer Show. It highlights recent arrests in the area, complete with mug shots and games like "Match the Tramp Stamp." This game, which was borrowed/stolen from The Smoking Gun, consists of matching the picture of the lower back tattoo to the jail house hootchie it's attached to. In addition to being good family fun, it's a good memory game for the kids... 'cause these chickies will, I'm sure be back for encore mug shots... if they haven't already.]

One of the first things Mike and Liz did was drive me across the border into West Virginia (BY GAWD!!!) to a gem of a place called Hillbilly Hot Dogs. This place has been highlighted on a couple of cable shows including Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, so I won't spend too much time on it. I will say, however, that I the Junk Yard Dog was pretty tasty.

The restaurant is made of two buses and a shack.
It's way friendlier than it looks.


People come from all over and lose their license plates.
Liz (Center), Mike (Right). That half-,man is Zach Shavers.


Insidious technology... it creeps in everywhere...
I wanted this hat. Really.


It's also a place to ponder the important and eternal questions.
Ok. This broke my heart a little. Ok. A lot.


This ain't your OSHA's restaurant!

In addition to the oddity and general ambiance of the place, we also met A.J, who informed us that two of the other buses... that were just sort of sitting around.... were going to be cleaned out and added to the restaurant and used for... he whispered... a bar. 

A.J. seemed like a nice enough kid, who was just looking for people to talk to. He also seemed like he might have been living in the bus we found him in... but since I'm essentially homeless, I have no room to talk.


One of the things I always liked about Mike and Elizabeth is the way they live; because it always seemed to me that they -- maybe more Mike than Liz -- sort of live in order to be able to tell the story later. And this, I have found, is a far more interesting way to live. Living to tell the story means sometimes taking risks. A good example of this is the story of the night before their wedding, when Mike checked himself into the Ramada Inn at Morehead, where he proceeded to order a hooker from a Lexington phone book. But the story isn't that the girl actually drove out to Morehead -- even though it's really difficult to get out call hookers to trust you. The story isn't even what happened once the hooker arrived -- because Mike, in spite of himself, is essentially an honorable guy and he most likely just talked to her all night. No -- the story is that he called Liz THAT night and told her about it. 

And Liz married him anyway.

Liz, for her part, is the kind of person who tries to stay open enough to still experience the world. She's naturally friendly, on the gregarious side, and easy to talk to. This is evidenced by the fact she and Mike have been targeted by a church of Pentecostal swingers. This particular sect calls themselves a "Jesus Only" Church... which means they reject the trinity. They have membership outreach programs, such as paying members $250 for person they manage to convert (After all, nothing saves souls like the profit motive!). The minister, in addition to being a gold chain wearing warrior for Jesus, is also... an insurance salesman. So, when Mike and Liz filled out the little Guest Cards and marked -- CLEARLY -- the DO NOT CALL option, guess what happened?

Yep. The preacher called. Not too save their souls. But to sell them insurance. 

What a guy.

But it's good to be open to experiences, even bizarre ones. 

And here I am, waiting for my train ticket to catch up with me; because, even though the train stops here, there's no ticket office. I'm scheduled to leave Wednesday the 8th, headed for Richmond, and eventually, Norfolk. After that, it's still difficult to tell. 

[If you like what you read here, you can help by:
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Thanks for reading.]

05 February, 2012

Baboon in the Bluegrass, Intermezzo 1: Cupid Is a Sadist




"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
 Admit impediments." -Shakespeare




“Love is all right for those who can handle the psychic overload. It's like trying to carry a full garbage can on your back over a rushing river of piss.”  
― Charles Bukowski




Love stories are fraudulent, sentimental tripe -- which is why I don't, as a general rule, write them. Sure, I've written my share of love poetry; but poetry about love, like reality TV about self-important morons, isn't all that unusual.

STD Soup

The thing about love poetry -- in spite of how many people rehash "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" -- is that it lives in a moment and is gone again. That's the nature of poetry. That's the nature of love. That people find solace or reflection in a love poem after its moment has passed is only a confirmation of the continuity of human experience. That love has a beginning, a middle, and end is a reflection of the absurdity of the human condition; because even though it ends -- and it always does -- you either split up or one or both of you dies. Either way, the shelf life of love is terminal and short -- so it is with life.

That's the problem with telling love stories. No one wants them to end. And with Valentine's Day approaching... perhaps the most ridiculous, Capitalistic, and conspiratorial holidays on the U.S. calender... it's important to realize that all love stories end. They end because they have to.

But that also means they have to begin. And on rare occasions, even though they end, it may be worth the time and space to tell them. When they matter.

When I first met her, she was 18 years old, and a college Freshman. I was a few years older.  I was also trying to excise myself from a  relationship that had gone horribly, tragically wrong. There's nothing particularly interesting about that story, except that then, as always, I had gone into it with the best of intentions. But relationships have always proven problematic for me. For as long as I can remember, I have neither understood how they worked, nor have I have been very good at maintaining them. I also have a tendency towards thickheadedness when it comes to knowing whether a woman is interested in me or just being nice.

And when I met her, this college freshman, I thought she was interested in one of my friends. Past experience had taught me that this was most likely the case. Most women were interested in my friend. He was not only a talented and (some would say) troubled person, but he was -- according to certain women friends of mine -- handsome. Tall, with broad shoulders. Strong jaw. When he was in a good mood -- or in the early turn of a manic phase -- he knew how to be very charming.

Charm wasn't -- and probably isn't -- one of my strongest qualities. So when she came around, I assumed it was for him.  But even so, there was something about this girl -- this spark of an Eastern Kentucky girl that would smile, giggle nervously, ask me serious questions and seem interested in what I had to say -- that felt different. I was nervous around her because she was beautiful: shoulder length reddish-brown hair, blue eyes. But there was something about her that also made me feel ... well ... safe.

Safe. And very confused. I wasn't used to women who made me feel safe. I was used to the most recent dysfunction of my marriage to my daughter's mother. Prior to that, my experience had been severely limited by a painful shyness and social awkwardness that still, on occasion, plagues me -- along with the frustrating thickness in the head about whether women like me or whether they're just being nice. (I always assume the former.)

It wasn't until a mutual friend pointed out her interest in me that it occurred to me that maybe she was being nice to me other than because I was the roommate and she was trying to win me over in the process of chasing after my friend.

The relationship -- if you could call it that -- was a dismal failure, for all of the right reasons. She was young, and coming out of some pretty rough stuff. I was in the process of going through a gut kicking divorce. There wasn't enough of me to invest. And eventually, I ran her off because of my own unique ineptitude to say the right thing at the right time. (Another flaw that plagues me almost daily.)


But I never forgot about her. And, to be more precise, I thought about her. I thought about the way she made me feel -- that sense of safety that I thought I'd destroyed. I thought about the warmth of her body, the sound of her laugh. I thought about her belly button. (Don't judge me.) She became the standard -- real or imagined -- by which I judged other women, other relationships.

So it seemed more like destiny than chance when I ran into her again. And not only was I surprised to find that she still wanted to talk to me, but I was also surprised to find that I still felt that sensation -- that sense of safety, warmth, and acceptance. And I found -- I rediscovered -- a woman who has always seen me for who I am, who has never really wanted me to be something other than who I am.

And while the relationship is over -- because all love stories end -- I am grateful for the time. And while there is pain and anger in the parting, I know that when the sense of loss is past, I will be left with gratitude. And while that may not have been my intention... it certainly wasn't what I wanted... that is what I am left with.

And it will have to be enough.



[If you like what you read here, you can help by:

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Thanks for reading.]


04 February, 2012

Baboon in the Bluegrass, Part 4: Joyce

I could tell she's lived in the area nearly all of her life by two things: by the friendly way she greeted when I stepped on the 20-30 seat bus that passes for public transportation in Morehead. The university has been using similar short buses for years to transport students back and forth from the outlying parking lots. To ride the MorTran locally costs $1. (Passes available.) What's really interesting, however, is that the bus offers service to  both Lexington AND Ashland... a detail I wish I had known before I asked George to drive into Lexington to pick me up in front of the Starbucks. (I should point out that I offered to ride the bus to Ashland and save him the trip, but he would have none of it.)


The other way I could tell that Joyce has lived here a long time is from the gravelly Appalachian accent she spoke with. (People who are either ignorant or dismissive of accents tend to confuse the Appalachian growl with   the Southern draw. They are not the same.The Southern draw has elongated vows, soft consonants, and reminds the listener of molasses pouring on a cool autumn morning. The Appalachian growl is harsh, sometimes difficult to understands, and is, to the untrained and uncivilized ear more akin to riding a rough back road  in the back of truck with no shocks or power steering.)


She asked where I was going, and I told her I needed to head back to campus, or somewhere near it. What took me out to the library was a car, owned by an old friend I hadn't seen in many years. When I met Joy, she had been a college Freshman. I was a graduate student. She had these big blue eyes, a half sarcastic smile like she was silently judging everyone and everything around her (including me), and a well informed home schooled brain. Not home schooled because her parents were religious freaks or because she was a freak; they were just that smart and so was their kid. Also, Kentucky public schools -- at least in the eastern part of the state -- aren't known for the quality students they pump out.


Joy was one of those girls that left me confused, but it wasn't her fault. Girls in general have always confused me. (And no, I don't feel any wiser after two marriages. I just feel more stupid.)  Joy confused me because there was something about the sight of her that made my heart stop. Literally. It's an odd sensation, and one I have felt rarely; though I've been told the fact that I feel it at all, let alone more than once, is a gift.  It was confusing because I knew enough to know what it didn't mean, but not what it did.

And then it got kind of nuts. But that's another story for another day.

Seeing her again was good. Really good. Seeing her made my heart stop, ever so briefly. And for the same reasons as before... not because it was anything, but because it was something... even if it was just a flash and then it was gone. We talked briefly that day but she had to work; so I rode up to the library with her and when it was time for her to work, I left, intending to walk back to town.

Which was when I noticed the bus driving down the street. It stopped right in front of me and I stepped right in.

That there is something in Morehead resembling public transportation -- and that is not, I might add ... at least as far as I know... associated with the University -- intrigued me. So I told her I was a former student and that I was visiting. She asked when I graduated, and I told her. Then I asked her how long the MorTran had been in existence.

She told me she wasn't sure. "I've only been driving with them for a year." But, she added, she thought it had been around for three or four years.

Joyce -- she eventually told me her name was Joyce -- is one of those people you run into a lot in Eastern Kentucky; and I mean that as a compliment. She's trying to get by in the world as honest as simply as she can. For all the bad press PR Eastern Kentucky gets -- from the "This is California not Kentucky" crack in Clueless to every single stereotype on record... some of them encouraged by Kentuckians who would rather be thought of as a stereotype, and some of them encouraged by well meaning outsiders who make tragic documentaries, win awards and then leave, changing nothing -- I have to admit that some of the best, kindest, most honest people I've ever met have been from Kentucky. So there.

I prefer the PETA Alica.

Batgirl wasn't bad either (Geek Flag flying)

And here's some of what I mean by that. I asked Joyce what she did before she drove the MorTran and she said she used to work at Wal-Mart. She worked at the OLD Wal-Mart (the one I knew was here, that moved in when I was doing my undergrad work in the early 1990's and effectively destroyed the local-based economy) as well as the NEW hyper Wal-Mart that they widened the road for. She worked for them for 14 years.

Until.

She was working in the dairy department, she told me, when she hurt her back. In response, they made a greeter.... you know, those geriatrics who wave like automatons when customers walk in.  I asked if they offered her any kind of Workman's Compensation. She said no, they didn't. Making her a greeter was Wal-Mart's version of Workman's Comp. Eventually, she said, they just pushed her out.

I know some about the way Wal-Mart works... one, because I pay attention, and two, I worked for them -- briefly -- back in the mid-90's. Wal-Mart is anti-union, anti-worker, and, as far as I can tell, anti-humanity. But they are FOR PROFIT, so I shouldn't expect anything else, I guess.

WATCH THIS MOVIE

I mentioned the wonderful three day orientation -- the first day and a half which consists of watching movies about how unions are bad and how Sam Walton is God.

Joyce laughed. "I remember that. But my ex-husband worked for GM; so I know unions aren't ALL bad."


[I need to extend my thanks to George and Laura Eklund, along with Waylon, Tommy, and Fiona, for their kind hospitality at Willow Drive.

If you like what you read here, you can help by:
  1. Passing the link around.
  2. Graciously donating to the cause using the button on the right hand side of the screen;
  3. Contact Catherine Sellers at Greyhound, 415-331-6049. Tell them you are asking about a sponsorship when the operator picks up. I write about them enough. They should be helping me help them. Right??
Thanks for reading.]




 

02 February, 2012

Baboon in the Bluegrass, Part 3: Morehead, Kentucky

NO. It's not a sexual request.

It's a city... well, more like a town... a town that will, undoubtedly, be swallowed by the monolithic beast that is Morehead State University (Curse it's name!) and become a plaza shopping and living pavilion... with oodles and oodles of parking, of course. (They really did bulldoze a park once, and put in a parking lot. Well, it was more like a grassy knoll. Ok... more like an abandoned field by the side of the road. But it WAS green space.)

The nice thing about being gone for so long (George and Laura and I decided that my last visit to the area was maybe 8 years ago.) is that there's hardly anyone around who might remember me. At least, no one hanging around on the street or in the coffee shop. This is to my advantage; I wanted to walk around, see what changed, and take things in without people asking How I Am or What am I Up To. I could walk around, be perceived as slightly creepy, take pictures with my cell phone, and slip back out of town again without raising too many eyebrows.

But where to begin? 

One of the problems I have in coming back here -- other than a the fairly good chance of running into some ghost of my old self -- is that when I think about the place, image in my mental map of the place is a bit dated... circa 1995 or 96. When I think about Morehead, I think about driving into town on KY-32 and seeing the mountains on fire the year there wasn't much rain, black smoke blocking out the sun for what seemed like an entire summer. I think about the year there was too much rain and the whole North end of town flooded -- including a house of Melissa's Theater Department friends who were too stoned to realize they needed to leave. That happened when I was in graduate school, around 2001... but it's still part of the elemental 1995 map.

There are houses gone that I expect to be gone, and houses gone that I expect to be there. Every single structure I lived in with my daughter's mother, Anna, is gone. It is as if our marriage -- brief and ridiculously dramatic as it was -- has been erased from the landscape. To be honest, I find it oddly comforting. The number of people who have any memory of that botched disaster of a relationship is shrinking. Even my daughter -- the only good to come out of my first marriage -- has no memory of her mother and I ever being together. For this, I am eternally grateful. Anna's parents are dead. Her grandparents are dead. My mother isn't, thank god.

But she has the courtesy not to bring up my early marriage as one in a catalog of mistakes I made In Spite Of Her Telling Me So.

Morehead has more parking lots than I remember. The Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop, once located in what was once the back store room of Coffee Tree Books, which was located in a nominally interesting shopping center, is not located -- along with Coffee Tree Books -- in the building that was once the movie theater downtown.

(This was replaced by a six screen multi-plex out on the by-pass. More screens for more lousy movies. And really expensive popcorn. But the bubble gum under the seats is more fresh, at least.)


 It's theoretically more space. The coffee shop takes up what was once the concessions and lobby. The problem is, that it still looks like a movie theater, only with no popcorn, Ike&Mike's, or stale Reese's Pieces and over priced watered down pop. They do the whole coffee, soup and sandwiches thing, along with all the usual coffee boutique items... coffee mugs (though not ByBee Pottery... a travesty, as far as I'm concerned.) froo-froo coffee contraptions, French coffee presses, ground and whole bean coffee, and a plethora of teas.

"Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has NO IDEA what it means to have a plethora."

But if ever there was a town that needed a bar... it would be THIS one.

The problem, however -- at least according to conventional wisdom -- is that no bar in downtown has ever succeeded for very long.

Scratch that. No downtown bar has ever been ALLOWED to succeed for very long.

At least, that's the assertion of an old friend, Clark. Back in the day, Clark was one of those Those Guys. He played guitar. Girls liked him. Generally people thought he was something of a pretentious ass... but he was still likable too. Clark has been living in Morehead almost exclusively for the past 20 years. One of the things we sat and talked about -- in the newish location of the Fuzzy Duck/Coffee Tree Books was how much town had changed since the last time I was here. The new Wal-Mart. The new Public Library, which, while it's not in the middle of town anymore ... which is decidedly inconvienent if you don't have a car... is a much nicer, much bigger space.

The old library is being adapted into the new home of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, which now occupies a Main Street storefront location.

The new space will have class rooms, recording studios, and will generally be a  nicer space. 


The other advantage of the new space is that it won't be owned by this guy... the biggest, sleaziest slum lord in town.


The Dixie Grill... one of the downtown townie restaurants knowns as much for the oderiferious air as the cheap food, is now a hair salon. Main Street Records is now a bakery. One of the bars where I used to go for dime drafts on Thirsty Thursdays is now a church children's youth center. (I blame the Bapists.)  The other bar -- the one with multiple names and multiple owners -- is now a Thursday night Karaoke /Dance Club. (Not sure if the Soot Scootin' Boogie or the Macarena is still in vogue.

When I told Clark that I didn't know how I felt about the coffee shop residing in the lobby of the old movie theater he nodded, but said "It grows on you."

As we continued our conversation, he admitted to a certain ambivalence regarding his life in town. "I don't know," he said," whether I'm really stuck here or whether I stay out of a sense of obligation."

The obligation he meant was his the obligation he felt to his children. He has a son, who is 13, and a younger daughter. Both of his children are with different mothers. Both mothers still live in the area, and he has to see them on a regular basis. But he also seems to understand that a parent is more than provider, protector, soundboard, bank, and bed and board landlord. He also knows that maybe the best function a parent serves is an object lesson.

Clark told me a story about taking his son, at the time 12, with him on a road trip to a city. Clark, who's early drinking experience was made up of house parties and music gigs (with him on stage); he admitted that to not really ever having a bar experience until the Buffalo Wings and Things, took his son around to different bars in the city they were in. Clark sipped on drinks while his son took in the general atmosphere.

This is BW3's. It's too bright, too plastic, and costs too much.
Oh yeah, and the bartender, who looked 10, didn't know how to make a proper Bloody Mary.
This sorority girl and others like her,. who will probably be praying  for forgiveness on Sunday when they go to church, is one of the things that makes BW3's entirely too loud to be a place worth drinking in.

"He was loving it," Clark said. "And that was the point. I told him..." he paused briefly, as if he were gathering the words, or maybe thinking about his own life for split second. "I told him if he ever wanted to DO anything, that he needed to get out of here."

That pesky left foot is always late.

Morehead is the kind of place people go, stay for a specific but undetermined period of time, and then leave. It's like most college towns in that way. For that matter, it has always been a suitcase campus -- students would pack up and go back home for the weekend, and I saw nothing that made me think that had changed. It's easy to think it's almost planned out... that the university Board of Regents, the Chamber of Commerce, and the town council all got together with the cops and decided to make the town as unappealing to college age people as possible without being too overt about it.

There are other, less subtle but nonetheless accepted forms of creeping fascism. Yes, I call it fascism. When the corporate institutions intermingle interests with the political and financial life a community, the prevailing system becomes something like a a slightly more benevolent form of fascism. It may not be too intrusive, and certainly not enough to upset the too young to be paranoid college age kids who, by their silence, accept the rule of the regime.

Don't even get me started on what's wrong with this... I would like to point out, however, that tobacco money built the fucking campus. It's the #1 legal cash crop of the state. I'd also like to point out that there's a Taco Bell in the student center.

This is the entrance to what used to be  the English  Dept. Building. Now  it's the College of Business, which is kind enough to allow the English Department to say. See the sign? English Majors are people too!

This is one of the places we used to stand and smoke... before the  fast food financed fascists took over.



And this, dear readers, is where all the money really goes.

The new and updated Adrian Doran University  Center (ADUC) Your tuition and tax dollars at work.

There are still a few remnants of my past here, though. And some aren't even all that depressing.

The front door to 122 W. Second Street. The house I shared with  Jared, Bobby, Dave,and  sometimes, Eric. My primary function was to screw over the landlord, who charged per student rather than a lump sum of rent.

Douchebag apartments next door. They weren't there when I was  a student. Merely  pointing out that they're a blight. And Douchey.

I did more drinking than I can remember here. Really.  Pictures would  be appreciated. Really. Or... you know, forget it.

When I started here as a Sophmore, these two urinals was  a single long narrow trough. Keep your eyes on your own winkie, dammit.! God is watching.

I just think this is cute. Like those poor dumb kids are really going to find JOBS.

Oh, and see that diminutive bell tower behind the signs? Once upon a time, there was a tall, healthy, beautiful pine tree there, that had stood for as long as anyone remembered. It was cut down because someone with money wanted to put up a bell tower with her name on it.

 Did I mention diminutive? It's more like a vibrator for a hollowed out porn star. It plays show tunes sometimes, too.



[I need to extend my thanks to Paul V. Christensen, Mike Frazier, Brian Parsons, and Dixie Parsons for some welcome donations. Thanks to you, I've bought my train ticket from Ashland and expect to be in Norfolk on THURSDAY FEBRUARY 9th.

If you like what you read here, you can help by:
  1. Passing the link around.
  2. Graciously donating to the cause using the button on the right hand side of the screen;
  3. Contact Catherine Sellers at Greyhound, 415-331-6049. Tell them you are asking about a sponsorship when the operator picks up. I write about them enough. They should be helping me help them. Right??
Thanks for reading.]