Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ruthie On The Road, Update

It's been one corn-fed roller coaster experience here in Indiana.

And once I got off the bus in Indianapolis I finally found out where my bank branch is: Rushville.

And we're talking out in the sticks, surrounded by farmland, with rural highways running in and out Rushville.

Wonderful.

In between my visits to that bank, I met Joe and Gabriel. Joe settled me in the small city of Greensburg (and spent hundreds of dollars doing it).

He wanted me to read some weird book about religion. I tried. Then I turned on Judge Mathis and never opened that book again. Judge Mathis, along with Judy, Alex, Jeanine and Joe (Brown) made more sense to me than that book did. So I left them, in their black robes, big gavels and lofty perches...to figure out all of the answers to questions for me.

The most noteworthy thing that happened while I was there was a very huge storm. It slammed into the State and ran rampant across Greensburg.

After three weeks, I left Greensburg and headed for Columbus, Indiana. When I located the shelter, I was told that I would only be allowed to stay there for one night. When I asked them why, the staff told me that I am a "transient." Translation: "You're not going to put down roots so we're going to treat you like an afterthought."

Which is exactly what they did.

I stayed in a room in a rundown apartment building. I didn't get a key. But I did eat and then huddled in the cold room and watched basic cable on an ancient TV set.

When I walked into the shared bathroom, I was pleasantly surprised: It was clean.

The homies there were friendly and we had fun drinking instant coffee and eating hard-boiled eggs.

I left the shelter the next day and took a city bus to the local library. I stayed there for most of the day, working on updates, etc. The only problem was the fact that the library administration had put a block on Google's Blogger. Which meant, of course, that I couldn't access my blog.

So I sent an email to the library administrators and a few days later I got a nice email back. The library removed the block and vowed never to censor Google again.

Nice.

I walked out of the library and met a guy just getting into his car. He drove me to the outskirts of Columbus. He dropped me off there before turning his car down a side road.

I dropped my pack and stuck out my thumb.

The sunset was awesome. Pink, red, orange and yellow neon sinking into a fluorescent gold.

I smiled. It was just before Halloween. And there I was, standing by the side of a highway in the country on a Saturday evening.

A young man in a zippy, red car stopped. As we drove into that gorgeous sunset together, I found out that his name is Gabriel and he is agnostic.

Gabriel is a student who plays guitar in a band. He drove me to Bloomington, Indiana and after checking several shelters, we finally found a place for me to lay my head.
And what a place it was...

The encampment, (comprised of a closed pavilion with a concrete floor, three port-a-potties and another open pavilion with long tables) was in a field. An old, stone church was situated next to Camp "Bums In Bloomington."

Rows of cots were filled with men. Some were drunk, others were stoned and some didn't need to be. Conversation with them was nearly impossible.

On the backside of the pavilion, two bunk beds (Where did they get them and how did they get there?) and two cots were provided for women.

Old blankets were strung across that area and provided a wretched form of privacy.

The port-a-potties were gross and I never sat down in them. Ever.

I stayed there, without a shower, for two days and turned into a grub.

Halloween came and went.

Then Neil, who drives the "Bloomington Bus for Bums" drove me out to little Nashville, Indiana. Gabriel met us there and drove me in his car to Muncie.

When we got there, I bought him a meal and paid him twenty-dollars for gas. He dropped me off at a hotel and headed back to Columbus, Indiana.

I left Muncie yesterday. And I looked for a place to stay in Anderson, Indiana. No dice.

So I finally got a ride with a young student. She drove out of Anderson to a bridge that covered a creek. It was as far as she could take me. I stepped out and into the cold wind.

I stood on the shoulder, by that bridge, for two hours before I was picked up. Dark clouds packed up above me and snowed. And it got darker and colder at the same time.

Then a couple from Anderson stopped their rig. The guy put my backpack in the hatch and me in the rig.

I was frosted thicker than a piece of old glass.

We talked and they drove me to Noblesville, which is where I am right now.

They found me a bed at a shelter that is situated just outside of town. The shelter is situated in an old house that I'm convinced harbors ghosts.

When I opened the front door, a group of women, sitting on both sides of a long table, stared at me.

They barely spoke to me at all. Instead, they did whatever the head woman told them to do. They chanted every book in the Bible in unison. Wiped, mopped, swept and mumbled. I mean, I'm talking Steven King And Everything!

They all slept upstairs and I was left with a homie who slept in the same room with me...downstairs.

She slammed her cell phone against the bed when it stopped working. Told me stories about her jailed boyfriend. And kept me awake most of the night while she rode out her latest manic phase.

This morning, I left.

I walked down to the road and flagged down a ride back into town.

Just like that.

I reconnected with the folks from Anderson here at the library. They are picking me up soon.

And I'm going on a bus to...

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