Saturday, August 23, 2008

Police, Petro, more scrubbing.

I've got a big wide open mouth, and a lot of confidence. I've been parking and waving banners and screaming about how easy life is. I've been bragging and slouching and drinking and giving advice. I've been wearing shoes without socks and going 35 in a 15 on a bicycle. The lifestyle of the tiny little rebel catches up to a man. I plead for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When my thoughts are calm and my pure heart is glowing, I get what I have coming to me. Bang bang bang! Flashlights! My shit's lit up like a disco, and the police are yelling into my house. I pull my invisibility cloak tighter around my head and try to calm my breathing. The fuck I'm gonna go outside and talk to a cop while I'm wearing boxers with little piggies on them. The fuck! I feel like my breathing and my beating heart are going to shake my van and make it obvious that someone is definitely inside. This cop could probably hear my heart audibly if he'd stop stomping and yelling and press his ear to the side of the cobra's head. I know that my curtains conceal me perfectly - but logic wavers when I'm afraid. My feet are exposed, and I feel like a flashlight beam equals an eyeball, and maybe the game is over. My side door could be ripped open, and I could be dragged out by the ankles. I picture it. I lay still and take slow deep breaths. After a few minutes it's over. After twelve hours, I'm still not perfect. I waited five minutes and drove to the truck stop several miles down the road. I read a book. I slept.

I had breakfast served to me on a little skillet. The skillet was possibly made of iron. I afforded this with money from a dishwashing tip-out.

Rewind. At 7:21, the kitchen is overflowing with dishes. Stacks of bus tubs are crammed everywhere, and catching up is not even a hope. I wasn't scheduled - but I got call at 5:23pm explaining that the scheduled dishwasher did not show up for work. Could I come in? Yes? THANK YOU.

It was a pretty wild situation with the dishes. Washing them seems like a strange skill to acquire. A dishwasher needs to have little personal systems of organization to move as quickly as possible with maximum efficiency. I haven't developed my methods yet, and though my arms are flailing around and I'm spraying violently with a clenched jaw, I still feel like I'm trying to run in waist-deep water. Nobody cares that I'm a little slow. I'm new, and they're all grateful that anybody showed up at all. I'm clearly doing my best, and everyone thanks me for being there. I get assistance from the cooks - experienced former dishwashers - whenever they have a chance. The shift ended like I knew it would. A shift always comes to an end if you can wait it out. You'll always go home afterward, and that's what I did. I was almost calm. I was laying on my back and reflecting on many thoughts. I knew from my breathing and the substance of my thoughts that I would drift off soon, though I was still too lucid for immediate sleep. At that moment, headlights pulled in fast behind me, and a car stopped very close. "Great" is the word that came to mind as I pulled my blanket over my head and rolled onto my side. A few seconds later, I got a "bang bang bang!" on the side of my house. Criminals.

3 comments:

I.H. said...

Right again Sir! Perhaps a lesson in over-confidence means that poetic justice has NOT abandoned you. Equally inspiring from this angle.
Surely you've had van-dwelling 101, and maybe Advanced van-dwelling, and know what you're up against legally. Surely they ran the plates - maybe make friends with them, let them understand you're not a 'transient', offer infomation (of YOUR choice) and bid them a lovely evening?

Joe the Plumber said...

Do you know the owner of the resturant yet? Sometime in a small community they could put in the good word for you.

Living the good life....together!! said...

Chris,

This is exactly the thing that we fear here in our little city, where it is illegal to be homeless and they make you leave town or escort you in the cop cars just outside of city limits. In fact, our first night staying at the rest stop, we witnessed a cop dropping off one of the homeless since the rest stop is just outside of town. I wonder what they would do to us? Its not like we don't contribute taxes and all. John has worked at there Sonic for over 7 years but alas idk....