Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TrIP Home


The TrIP home from the "There will be TrIP" reading at The Gallery at Avalon Island was quite the adventure. As I exited the venue, Lisa Bates rode by on the quirky, Pewee Hermanesque cougar spotted bicycle she calls "The Beast". I envied such simple and efficient mobility. Her bike was once stolen but then police quickly found it thanks to it's undeniable uniqueness. Google maps on my iPhone directed me back towards Division and Central. I started to get nervous as I crossed under I-4 into the heart of Parrimore. The bus stop was a simple pole stuck into the pavement on a street corner across from a mission. A red neon cross announced, "God is Love, Christ is Savior". There was no seat at the stop but luckily, I always carry an art stool. I sat down and leaned against the bus stop sign pole and it gave way. It wasn't cemented it place but was just stuck loosely in the hole. Once it stopped moving I leaned back again.

I heard a couple arguing a block away and their loud voices got closer. "I got Aids from You! You gave it to me from F*cking a F@ggot!" Another woman staggered up to me holding a Styrofoam plate of food. "How are You!" she shouted. "I'm fine" I replied sheepishly. "WHAT!" She shouted. I shouted back "FINE!" "Oh". She stumbled to the corner and the plate of food fell from her hand splatting onto the street. She ignored it and weaved the other way across the intersection. Two guys walked towards me deep in an animated conversation. "You need to be careful when you have a box of cocaine. The cops know it the second they get there and pull behind you." The conversation trailed off as they walked away. "I am going to die." I thought. I leaned back and tried to blend into the surroundings. When on earth is this bus going to come? Maybe I should hike to the Lynx main bus terminal. It might be safer there. Yet, at least 5 police cruisers drove by while I waited.  I wondered if the police thought I might be a dealer.

The bus did finally arrive. I sat midway back. In front of me, a guy sat exhausted leaning forward against the seat backs in front of him. A woman in a red down jacked sat fingering her phone intently the entire drive back home with the bright screen inches from her face. Two teenagers with loaded back backs piled in. The bus driver would give each passenger that stepped on board a trivia question. "What band sang "Hotel California?" The passenger was stumped. I had just been to an Eagles concert a few weeks prior so I knew the answer. I kept the answer to myself. The driver talked to the two back packers about hunting gator in the Florida swamps. I assume he was pulling their tails. The back packers that is, not the gators. This driver most certainly deserves a raise. He kept passengers on their toes. When I got off, I called Terry who was at home. The hike home from the bus stop is about 4 miles and it was a freezing cold evening. Screw the authenticity of a full round TrIP by bus. Terry offered a ride and I was taking it.

I started walking west towards home and Terry said she would find me along the way. I was wearing my full foul weather gear which was dark blue and black. The second I pulled my hoodie over my head, I warmed up. I saw headlights driving towards me but I used my baseball cap to cut the glare. Terry's car drove past me a bit and stopped. As I walked up from behind to the passenger door, she suddenly drove away. Was she toying with me?  I knew she would have to turn around, so I crossed the street and continued hiking home. On the second pass, she once again stopped and as I walked up, she accelerated away. Several texts confirmed that she couldn't see well at night. I suspect I might have looked a bit scary as I approached her car. On the third pass I flashed my cell phone light at her to communicate that I was a "friendly". We drove the second half of the TrIP home with ease. Terry made it quite clear that she felt this TrIP was a bit insane. But I stepped outside my comfort zone and it was indeed an adventure.


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