Anasazi: The Making Of A Walking (Part One)

As a teenager I did a survival course in Arizona. I had several books on survival in the wild and I wrote the author of one of the books. He told me about a course he taught. I sent off for a brochure and prices. The longest course was a week in the mountains with nothing but a thin canvas sleeping bag. I signed up for that one and sent off my money. Cash in an envelope.

I took a Greyhound bus from Louisville to Arizona. Three days and two nights on The Dog. I don't know what it's like now but in the late 80s the only people riding The Dog were homeless, runaways, thieves, convicts, and other transients. I remember listening to Philip Glass on a cassette Walkman and watching the sunrise.

At one point during the journey I sat next to an old-timer who started on a rant. I was listening at first, hearing about his life as a truck driver, and then he started raising his voice-- screaming some of the most racist things I ever heard. He said I was okay because I'm American Indian, an original American. Which of course is totally wrong but I was glad to be okay with the psychopath.

The bus was 80% black. The dude in the aisle seat next to me took out the Autobiography of Malcom X and started reading it. The trucker was screaming about shooting every one of them in the head. I was sinking in my seat.

It was a full bus and nowhere to go. People started yelling stuff back at him which only got him more excited.

Finally the bus driver pulled over and told him he had to shut up or he was kicked off. This quieted him down for a bit. But his mutterings would rage again into ferocious epithets, with generous use of a particularly offensive word-- especially if you're an old white guy.

They left his ass at McDonald's somewhere.

Considering how long and grueling the trip was I don't recall much of it. There was the homeless dude who did something so disgusting in the bathroom that entire bus dry heaved in unison at the stench.


benmoore said...

Great story, really nicely written. I enjoyed it a lot. Looking forward to the next instalment!

Tom said...

This is a really interesting story. And, sort of reminds me of a Jim Dodge story line too. Teeny bit jealous as well.