thru the deep south
in the parking lot, a young white womon drove her car to the side of my truck where i was standing. thru her tears, she was trying to thank me. we wept together as she told me how hard she worked to defeat this president, how sure she was of his imminent defeat, how she knew that they stole the election and how confused she was about where to go now.
this is the inspiration i leave georgia with as i head out thru alabama, mississippi, tennesee, and arkansas.
I do not leave georgia this a.m. until a little after 5:00a.m. by the time i reach alabama in about an hour, it is still 5 something a.m. - I've gained an hour! It is almost light - i receive 4 yeahs, 3 head shakes no, and 2 fuck yous.
I go to my favorite walmart on route 78 north heading from birmingham to memphis. I park in a prime location - it is full of shoppers even tho it's only about 8:00a.m. - use the bathroom, and then return to my truck to change the numbers of soldiers who've died. It was 1127, now it is 1133 and w/the offensive on falluja, who knows how many more human beings will lose their lives in the next couple of days. I've listened to npr all morning & I'm sick.
As I paint, a womon pulls over next to me and tells me she saw me earlier on the highway & she's so glad to meet me. We talk about the election, of course. Evelyn tells me how glad & proud she is the African American vote went to Kerry. And she tells me about a neighbor of hers who didn't vote because he just moved here (to Birmingham), tried to vote, but they told him he had to go to a poll that was over 2 hours away. Before she leaves, Evelyn re-reads the entire truck, takes some codepink info, and declares that she is going to paint "bring our troops home" on the back of her truck too! She's the 4th person who has told me they are going to paint their vehicle also! yeah!!!!
As I'm painting, I see out the corner of my eye a walmart employee approaching. She asked me if I was intending to shop at walmart. I told her I already have taken care of my business at walmart (i peed & pooped). She told me the managers didn't really like my truck parked in the lot - I interrupted and told her I'm sure they support our democracy. She nodded as she explained they just didn't like political messages. I asked her if she was asked to also tell all the folks w/'bush/cheney bumper stickers, and '4 more years', etc. on their vehicles to leave? She looked just the slightest bit sheepish & then explained she was just doing what she was told to do. I asked her if she thought that was part of her job description. She said she just didn't want to lose her job so she did whatever she was told to do.
I wondered outloud how many times little people have done the dirty work against other little people for the big people. I said to her, nodding conspiratorily, "big people HATE to get their hands dirty, especially when they can find little people to do it for them."
I told her but she appeared to be an intelligent and compassionate human being and thanked her for delivering the message from her superiors. I asked her to let them I'm happy to discuss the constitution & our bill of rights with them and that I'd be leaving as soon as I finished painting the numbers of soldiers that had been killed in Iraq on my truck. She left silently. They never came out to speak with me.
Driving thru mississippi takes only about an hour or so - only one person responded positively to my truck - everyone else was silent. Even at the rest stop, I couldn't get any southerners to talk with me about the election.
But in Memphis, 4 cars responded positively, one white male gave me the finger and then made some weird jerking motion w/his hand & arm. go figure.
Off to find biodiesel - YEAH!!!! a little north of memphis in arkansas, a fellow sells b-100, which is straight bio-diesel! peace, sam