Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day One-Hundred-Eighty-Seven, Wimoweh

Golly, but it was cold last night.  I woke up every few hours.  To curse my lot and pity myself.  And rub my toes together.  I still managed almost twelve hours' sleep.  I was haunted by awful nightmares.  A band of cycling Girl Scouts pushed me off a high bridge.  They were singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight, with sound effects, in three-part harmony.

Now I know how I'm going to die.  I knew there'd be a bridge involved.  The rest was a revelation.

They say it will be even colder tonight.  I am inclined to believe them.  It is plenty cold now and dropping fast.  It will be my coldest night yet.  But don't worry about me; I expect to be fine.  I'm wearing every layer I can.  Except for my raincoat.  That's the nuclear option.  For when I really want to fry.

I did not make remarkable progress today.  I was not on the road until ten.  And was slightly hobbled.  Shin splints, don't you know.  I've been fairly lucky with them.  Cause they sure do hurt.  It's like I've been whapped, hard and right on the shin.  And not some coquettish tap with a Japanese fan.  Something harder and more thuggish.  Like an iron bar or a billy club or those biscuits I had three days back.

It feels like I have broken a bone.  The pain is in fact muscular.  Which is good.  Muscle aches can be ignored, unless you're some kind of a sissy.  So I gritted my teeth and limped forward.  I got lots of ride offers.  Americans are a good people at heart.  We hate to watch each other suffer.

Unless of course there's money in it, or it takes our minds off other things.

I am walking on the wrong side of the road.  I keep my thumbs to myself.  I still feel bad when people double back, or when some poor trucker gives up all his momentum.  It's a bitch to get those things rolling again.  They've got a lot of gears to work through.  And schedules to keep and diesel to pay for.  Thank you, gentlemen.

Today a guy in a black pick-up pulled a dangerous U-turn.  And risked his life and that of his bride in an effort to help me out.  But I wasn't too sorry to turn him down.  He looked like an absolute fiend.

Less than a mile up I found store in Deer Park, Alabama.  It is a town of a dozen houses and, I'm told, a post office.  It is all packed in amongst scrubby pines.  This too is timber country.  The store itself is a plywood box.  They sell T-shirts and bedazzled handbags.  And donutty things in cellophane.  I had a "honey bun."  And a packet of cheese crackers.  And an icy Coke.  It wasn't exactly biscuits and gravy.  It cost almost as much.  I don't quite blame them.  I was glad they were there.  I needed the snack.

I limped another ten miles to Citronelle, or at least the north edge of town.  And stopped for a while at a gas station.  I don't remember what brand.  I had a Coke and plugged in a bit, for all the good it will do.

I'm sure Samsung hires some good engineers.  I'm sure they're all doing their best.  To push the far edge of technology and Make the World a Better Place.  No doubt they love their mothers and give to charity.  I'm sure they're the very best sort.

But they suck.

I met some friendly dump truck drivers.  They've seen me over the past few days.  And were all most encouraging.  A Mr. Rivers paid for my lunch.  And then some.  Bless his generous heart.  I've been a little cash poor.  From overindulging in the indoor life.  Not tonight.  I'm out in the cold.


I lunched in central Citronelle.  It must have been three by then.  I found a somewhat dingy cafe.  I hoped they might make me breakfast.  I wound up with a hamburger.  I've never been a great hamburger fan.  But they do give value for money.  They did not have any pie.

I like to tell people that when I'm done I'll never walk anywhere again.  But it ain't true.  I like walking.  I'll still take the odd ten-mile stroll.  But I'll never eat another hamburger.  Or speak to anyone who does.  Blech.

Unless it's a really good hamburger.  Never's an awfully long time.  I am hungry now and all this talk about hamburgers is really just making it worse.  Breakfast, though, is yet my favorite.  Breakfast is good food.  Mr. Kellog did us a disservice.  Cereal's not where it's at.

After lunch I met a drunken hitch hiker with blood crusted under her nose.  She greeted me like an old friend.  Turns out we had met before.  She was the woman in the black pick-up truck.  The guy driving was in jail.

"He crashed his truck on purpose and punched me in the face."

What a rotten guy.

"Why'd he do that?"  I ain't Oprah, but it's polite to show some concern.

"Because he's an abusive ------------."

They will behave that way.  I was glad I wasn't riding with him.  At the same time, I should have been.  I couldn't have stopped him from crashing his truck, but if I'd lived I might have stopped him from punching that poor drunken woman.  Punching her twice, at any rate.  Sometimes I'm slow to react.  I've had people punch me five or six times before I knew I was in a fight.

It's embarrassing.

Of course I might too have got myself stabbed.  Or shot or gnawed on or something.  There are lots of hillbilly stereotypes.  Some folks just choose the wrong ones.  I like the one where folks are kind, uneducated but with good common sense.  Proud but at the same time neighborly, and can play the banjo real well.

Anyone can shoot meth and beat up a girl.  The five-string banjo takes skill.

I just stepped out for my evening pee.  Damn it's cold out there.  I mean, Jimminy.  It's almost humorous.  It's like a practical joke.  But the stars are pretty.  The air smells good.  It was a very pretty day.

I am in some trees behind a church.  I found this spot in the dark.  I wanted to squeeze in a few extra miles.  I was ashamed of myself. 

I've rejoined Highway 45.  The one I'd been walking for weeks.  If I'd had any sense I'd have never left it.  I would be in Tampa by now.  And I never would have been locked in a patrol car.  Damn that still pisses me off.  But I had to go and get creative.  I guess I was addled by rain.

Tomorrow I'll get close to Mobile, Alabama, at least as close as I can.  And still find a decent place to camp.  My tent will be sopping wet.  From my expiration, but I won't mind.  It will be a balmy thirty by then.

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