I didn't sit on the guard rail beside the ramp for more than five minutes when a couple in a cube-rig stopped.
He is from an Air Force base and she is his delightful (but yuppie) wife. I would have voted them "least likely to pick me up" but they did, anyway.
After the experience that I'd just had the night before, I was more than ready to get out of that entire area.
They drove me to the city of Clinton, Maryland.
I walked over to the wall of a strip mall and felt "CITY! CITY! CITY!" all around me. The sun reflected with too much light off all of the pavement, the trees and grass were swallowed by business after hotel after gas station and it was as hot as hell.
"Get me out of here" I said to the humid air around me.
I called the local cops and they took me to a nearby church.
The building was huge and exuded wealth...not God.
Everyone there was Black. And that shouldn't matter...it didn't matter to me...but it did to them.
I remembered the two sweet Black Jehovah's Witnesses ladies in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Then I thought about the woman who tried to lock me in that room in Jarrett, Virginia. She is Black, too.
I noticed something when I walked through her house the next morning:
Her husband is mulatto and she is totally Black. Family pictures, that were displayed on a shelf, showed both Black and White faces. The White faces were shoved almost rudely behind the Black ones.
I remembered how I felt when I saw that and pondered what it might have really represented.
I was ushered in a room where I sat down at a long table. A woman, heavily perfumed and all dressed up, strutted in, leaned her knuckles on the table in front of me and almost glared.
"We can send you on a bus to downtown Washington DC" she sniffed, her eyes glittering like brown-tinted ice.
"That's the wrong direction and no, I will not go down into an urban area like that" I replied, and looked directly back into her eyes.
She tried to draw herself up like a big bird, fluffing its feathers but I would have none of it.
Silence grew, instead, like a ten ton gorilla in the room and my eyes never left hers. I sat, she stood...leaning over me like she wanted to kill me on the spot. I was in the mood to kick her ass and with nothing more than my own peepers, I made that perfectly clear.
What a mockery she made of God's love.
A few moments later, I was back out on the street with one of the local cops. He drove me up to a local mall that is located off of route 4. From there, I walked, with a full pack, on very little shoulder, in intense heat, beside five lanes of traffic, several miles to where I could finally hitchhike without causing an accident.
Then, I put my pack down in front of a light pole, sat down on the pack and put my thumb out.
It was late in the afternoon by that time...but my day was still very far from over.