Distracted by too many gadgets, and things in the gadgets, and things in the things in the gadgets. There is a red light beaming from my forehead, like a third eye to see through the dark. Red because it glows dimly and is difficult to see from a distance, but I can see by it to read and write just fine. This is ideal because I’m camped behind a fence bordering houses in a neighborhood and it’s not so late (nine pm) and I’d rather not be seen.
I stayed with an extremely Louisianan couple last night in Sulphur. That day was mentally taxing and long, as days with headwinds in the range of 15-25 mph are, and I missed my estimated day’s distance by twenty miles or so. Remembered in the nick of time that their was a Warmshowers host in the area, texted her and she sent her boyfriend out to scoop me up in the dark, around 6 pm. Good thing too because I discovered after texting her that I had lost my bottle of stove fuel, God knows where and when, so that had I camped I would have had a cold, miserable, unsatisfying dinner of two bananas and a Clifbar.
These two were a fascinating yet at the same time utterly boring couple. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of them. When Jay picked me up I told him I was planning on pitching my tent somewhere around the Rec Center in Mossville (where he picked me up the next town over from Sulphur) if they were unavailable, but he told me that could have potentially been bad had I had to go through with it because there were “blacks” living all around, and there had been murders at that Rec Center several times over the years. I was naturally somewhat taken aback by the brazeness of the statement, as I think many might be. Later there was another incident at a gas station where we tried to break a sixer of beer and the Indian attendant at the counter (there’s a stereotype for you) refused to break it and Jay stormed out annoyed then went on this rather uneducated, conspiratorial rant about Arabs (which Indians are not, of course), how this one fellow could have sold him the two beers and put the rest in ice but didn’t because he was too lazy, which then led to the statements that they’re (Indians, Arabs, I don’t know, but it’s interesting how to the ignorant that whole part of the world just gets grouped together, like all the peoples and the whole of the population is all the same culture) going to buy up all the gas stations in the country and stop selling gas to Americans which would somehow shut the country down, or some sort of cockeyed, outlandish, nonsensical horseshit. It was clear that he had no clue what he was talking about, but was simply flailing about mentally, attempting to make sense of something frustrating him, changes in the country, or perhaps in his own state, city, or community, that he doesn’t understand and is unable to grapple and reconcile with (like, probably, hundreds of thousands of other Americans).
I thought these peculiar ideas coming from a guy who travelled the world with his father in the merchant marines for many years (favorite countries being Sweden and Brazil (Recife, specifically, in Brazil). These comments, though, contrast sharply with his desire to take his most kind lady friend out to Colorado, then to New Mexico to explore the lands of the Apache and Navajo Indians. He practically glowed talking about this, and it was clear to me that he has an admiration and esteem for the natives of this land. Being there and listening to him speak I could hear it in his voice. Racism, it seems, is not nearly as cut and dry a topic as many people like to think it is, but this was the first time in my life that I had witnessed this sort of polarity of it within one person.
After arriving to home for the night Jay was kind enough to cook up, in his words “a real cajun meal” which in this case meant rice and two kinds of deer and pork sausage. One was storebought. The other was made from a deer his son had slain. Not sure where the pork was from in that one. I’m not quite sure where the “cajun” comes from in this respect either, unless he just meant “cheap.” Maybe it’s cajun because the sausage was a bit spicy. Really the meal just struck me as extremely simple and rustic. And honestly not all that good even setting aside the fact that I prefer to stay away from meat if at all possible. Still, it was better than the sausage, egg and cheese biscuits he brought back from Burger King the following morning for breakfast. His girlfriend, Rebecca, however, whose WarmShowers account it is that I contacted was the most welcoming lady, giving me a hug upon our introduction and treating me as a respected and honored guest. For a time she did bookkeeping for a bike shop in the area, but after a change of ownership she was let go. She doesn’t need to work though, and said she wasn’t at all upset about being let go, actually expected it, and very nearly welcomed it if it was for the benefit of the new owner. Currently she’s been scavenging lumber, nails and various other useful raw stuffs as materials for creative projects—benches for a friend’s outdoor wedding at the moment, but has other ideas which she is formulating projects around. For the last fourteen years she’s been volunteering her time with an organization that handles taxes for destitute and poverty stricken people. She says she does taxes for three to four hundred people a year. An astounding number. That was the task she had set herself at when I arrived—re-certification, actually, so that she could continue her philanthropy. Her home is full of knick-knacks and memorabilia. Family photos primarily. Remembrances. Pictures of her dead husband. A photograph of a family dog who had died a few years back. Christmas lights strung over and across everything. The small Christmas tree still up, decorated, standing on a table beside the television that is always always on so that I feel I’d go brain dead if I was to be there for too long. Eventually chit-chat got tiresome, and I was tired as well, and being as nothing much else was happening I went off to my bedroom where I could hear through the walls and the door the television blaring in it’s brainless stupid way.