Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ruthie On The Road, Update


-ALL PHOTOS BY RUTH RADER-

Some things are just difficult to figure out.

I returned to Oregon to renew my State identification card. That should be a simple procedure, right?

It isn't.

"Oh, you know, it's because of 9/11 and that terrorism thing" people say.

No it isn't. It's the beginning of something far more sinister than that.

When it is easier for a citizen of Mexico, to cross a river and a wilderness, and settle in the United States than it is for me to renew my State ID, there's something wrong with the renewal process.

I renewed my acquaintance with a lady in Pendleton. I met Lisa and Karen in Utah. Then I met my friend who lives and works in Washington State.

Now, they all, in their own way, are going to help me get re-pinned to the Citizen flag.

So that is why I am back in Oregon.

But this fact was lost to the people who saw me sitting on the concrete wall, by the Interstate 82 and 84 split, just past the community of Hermiston, Oregon.


I sat on that concrete abutment, for hours, yesterday and tried to hitch a ride. I never got one.


Instead, I just got yelled at, smoked-out when someone gunned an engine and roared by, flipped-
off, stared at or totally ignored.

I also got colder.


I was stuck out there in a wide open area, where one interstate highway splits off from another and nobody has any business hanging out. At all.

Yet, there I sat. Huddled on that concrete wall when the cold wind began to pick up, wondering why I had not seen a cop.

The road seemed so long...when I looked in both directions.


And the only sign of civilization that I could see was a sprawling distribution center far, far across the
field.


Eventually, the sun set and I was left in almost total darkness.


The hazy form that you see, in the middle of the (above) photograph, is me. I captured the image with my cell phone...in order to prove just how dark it was where I was sitting. You can see the lights of  the distribution center behind me (left) and oncoming traffic on the interstate behind me (right).

I knew that I could barely be seen. I became concerned that a vehicle might pull off the road and hit me. So I waved my lit cell phone but nobody stopped.

Then I called the Oregon State Police. Who gave me lip service and hung up.

Yes, that is all that they did.

Over the course of the next four hours, I and my friend Karen (who was down in Utah) called the police and tried to get me to a warm and safe location. And yes, it took that long for an officer (a representative of the State of Oregon) to finally come and pick me up. My other friend, Lisa, took the job of keeping me company, via texts from her phone to mine as I shivered and nervously watched the traffic as it advanced through the darkness.

The officer who finally came to pick me up can be described in two words: " Bad Joke."

It didn't matter that the guy looked and sounded like Barney Fife (he really did). What mattered was the fact that he hated me. I mean, we're talking animosity wrapped in layers of disdain.

When he stepped out of his nice, warm cruiser and walked up to me, he stuck his flashlight in the crook of his arm and aimed the LED light directly into my eyes. That wasn't necessary, since another person (who appeared to be a security person from the distribution center) had pulled up in a truck, sporting a bar with yellow, flashing strobe lights.

"What's going on?" he asked, in his falsetto Fife voice.

I sat there, huddled and shivering, on that cold, hard concrete wall, in the middle of nowhere, by a dark interstate...and the cop asked me, "What's going on?"

I wanted, for all the world, to answer with a loud, one word "DUH!"

That policeman is a putz: Officer Barney Putz.

And for the next few minutes, that stupid idiot hassled me and asked me a string of totally dumb ass questions. I didn't offer much information and that appeared to bother Officer Barney Putz quite a bit.

He tried to diminish my value and insulted his own lack of intelligence with the words that he spoke to me.

Meanwhile, all I wanted to do was get out of there and go to a safe, warm place.

The security person, a woman, expressed concern as Officer Barney Putz ran his mouth at my shivering form.

So being the "light in the loafers" jackass that he is, Officer Barney Putz started ranting at her.

Meanwhile, cars, trucks and semi's roared on by.

I decided that the reason nobody else rode with that little idiot is because they probably tried and couldn't stand him, either.


Finally, Officer Barney Putz ran out of breath, the woman climbed back into her truck, I settled into the back of the cop cruiser and we all left that concrete wall behind.

Of course, Officer Barney Putz wasn't done with me yet.

He drove me into Hermiston (a small-town city that I am not familiar with) and dumped me off at a strip mall. He didn't offer any information or assistance. Nope.

He just Charlie Chaplained back into his cruiser and drove off into the night.

I pulled out my cell phone and started making some calls.

My friend from Washington State arranged a motel for me and I walked down a half-block and checked into my room as the clock rang midnight.

After I munched on some wasabi peas and washed them down with a bottle of red vitamin water...I leaned back in the chair...closed my eyes...and fell sound asleep. I never slept in either of the beds in the room.

When I woke up this morning, I pulled my coat closer over me and whispered, "I'm finally warm."




2 comments:

Mallory said...

Is difficult for you to renew you state id card because you are homeless and the DMV mails them out? How have you gotten your id card in the past? Have they changed their proof of residency requirements?

Ruth Rader said...

Mallory...

Yes, it is difficult to get a State ID card renewed if you don't have a specific, designated address of residence.

It's pretty much like that, Nationally, across the board.