Wednesday, May 20, 2009

But I'm Not Gonna Change Adventures in Indianapolis

Yep, that's me at 4:15 AM, sleeping in the Greyhound station. That Friday night was both frightening and fun. Let me explain. I was due to be picked up by a friend, but did not have his cell #, only the home #. So there's that. Now, I know my way around Indianapolis, I make a point of knowing the bus routes and all. I've been there a few times, waiting on the next bus to Louisville, or the time I went to Terre Haute to see Timothy McVeigh get executed. I read the bus maps, I look at the streets. After an hour of no one coming to get me, after three calls and an answering machine, I decide to hop the #29 bus to where my friend lived. Well, it turns out "lived" meant past tense and my friend never knew that I didn't know that he and his wife had moved from one of the scariest neighborhoods I had ever been in. Thugs on porches, music blaring, me looking like an anorexic Vic Mackey. Stares all around. I called Martel, who had maybe planned to show, on her phone, turns out she didn't have any info and so she told me she would Twitter and Facebook my friend telling him where the eff I was, at an intersection with my damnable numbers next to me (I purposefully kept the photo sideways), and a huge place called Liquorland behind me. An older fellow walks across the street and is cool enough to tell me there is one last bus. It shows up twenty minutes late, I listened to a good hour of Mexican rap music from an oddly colored Churros van. A fat girl with pink hair shaved on one side was the one person in the group around the ice cream truck-sized Churros van that stood out. I had asked them where the bus stop was, as I was basically walking along the grassy end of an endless strip mall, they shrugged in the way people shrug when they FUCKING KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING BUT JUST DON'T GIVE A SHIT. Well, the last run of the #29 wouldn't take me where I needed to go, back to the Greyhound station. The driver called ahead to this dude what drove the #36 bus, because that route, too, was shutting down for the night. I had about a block to run, but he was there. Dropped me within three blocks of the station. I walked up Meridian, resigned to the fact that I'd be sleeping in the station, went into a bar called Howl At The Moon, somehow slipped by having to pay the cover, then was given free drinks because I was only drinking Cokes. Listened to the band for about two hours. Across the street was the Red Eye Diner, and I went in there and ate two breakfasts. I love eating breakfast at crazy times in odd places. I wrote a story called "Salt," that came to me as an image and I rolled with it from there. Then I trudged a block away to Illinois Street and the terminal. Got someone by the vending machine to take my photo. Ate breakfast at the White Castle, to illustrate how ass-backwards my eating habits are. When I got home, I learned that my friend had sent other people to retrieve me, and in retrospect, I can see the whole thing playing out where they look around for me and I'm in the john or tying my shoe. I was never frightened earlier that night, you do what cops do, look at everyone. Because only two kinds of people look at everyone, cops and crazies. Oh, and it had rained. So as I waited for the bus, it was humid and the sky was lighting up and you could hear the thunder and I was thinking oh fuck, what next? And it was actually raining by the time I hit Meridian Street, but it was a nice rain, the kind where your sinuses open up and you want to hear Del Shannon singing "Runaway" from some open window. The question is, will I get a cell phone? So I can call from anywhere, not just looking for pay phones that work or don't need credit cards? A cell phone so I can sound just like all the other idjits yapping away on the streets? Nope. What I WILL do, in the future, is get my facts straight, make certain I know where someone in another city ACTUALLY lives, and have more than one number to reach them at. So I take the blame there. But get a cell phone? Nope. Not gonna change.


Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like an adventure. I imagine you're much readier to handle such an experience than I am. I'm a stay at home these days.

Lana Gramlich said...

Christ, what a blast! I still agree with you on the cell phones, though. You & me, 'til the end...NO CELLS!

HemlockMan said...

You are an adventurous chap. I'll give you that.

I love your no-holds-barred descriptions of the USA's belly. Not its underbelly. Just its belly. Its dandruff-dusted shoulders. The greasy, unwashed hair. The snot-encrusted nostrils.

I was once driving around San Diego. You want bums? That place has the homeless like no other place I've ever been. I thought about it while I was there--if I was homeless, that's where I'd go. It never gets cold. It never rains. That's the place.

I was turning around in an enormous empty parking lot that was once part of a now-abandoned supermarket of some type. A splash of color caught my eye. I looked and there was a guy pushing the requisite permanently-filled shopping cart. He was wearing an American flag like it was a superhero's cape. I slowed down to get a better look at the guy.

And he was STARING at me. I'm talking full-bore STARING. I've never seen eyes like that. It was as if he had no eyelids at all. Just these gigantic boiled-egg eyeballs STARING at me through his bearded face. I could see his beach-bum youth gone, fled to crazy-land. And here was this aging Southern California boy gone to middle age wearing a tattered American flag like a superhero cape and STARING at the errant Georgian driving a rental car, lost in San Diego, surrounded by homeless people.

Everywhere I looked.