you need a bigger truck
I get up before the sun and head south through what must be rural North Dakota and into South Dakota. There is hardly another car on the road, which even though it is a red line on the map, turns out to be a two lane stretch, one lane in each direction, with little if any shoulder.
I pass miles of grass, few clusters of farm buildings, and an occasional tree. The towns that are printed on the map have population signs of 203 or 51 and I don’t see evidence of more than a handful of homes, trailers, tiny wooden structures.
The minimal cars that do pass me tend to look briefly, few signs of approval or disapproval – just looking.
When I arrive in Aberdeen, the rain has paused and I go looking for free wireless and maybe an organic coffee shop.... a womon can hope! It is a huge city for the country I just traveled thru – the sign says over 24,000 folks! It has the old town 4 block one way street downtown section with crammed buildings and small businesses – and no other one way street to head you back thru town!
I see only one business open on this one way hub of Aberdeen – it is a coffee shop diner kind of building. I park just beyond the drawn blinds of the picture windows, hop out and brace myself.
When I open the door and step in, remnants of stale smoke smacks me as several white faces simultaneously lift up from white china, syrup, and coffee mugs to stare. The counter person rushes over & I ask if they have wireless internet.
Everyone tries to figure out where they can send me for wireless and finally give up – I’m on my own. I turn leave, following an older, straight white couple - him about 6'4" and she probably didn't reach 4 and 1/2 feet, but I’m left standing in the doorway holding the glass door. For the couple has halted, and are standing pillar still, heads tilted slightly, staring at the truck.
I can hear the intake of breath and some mumbling but I can’t judge the temperament. They are looking at the "Imprison Bush" side. The old guy pivots to tower over me (don't ask me how they knew it was my truck or that I was behind them) and tells me in a gruff voice: "You need a bigger truck - you got a lot more names to add to it."
I agree and then he adds, "Yeah, you need a bigger truck to stuff them all in there - start with Cheney. Yeah, I want Cheney in there." And they righteously hobble, nodding and loudly praising the messages and wishing all kinds of harm upon war-mongers, on down the street.
I do find free wireless at the huge supermarket close by. When I'm parking, several wimmin come over and tell me they support the messages. I get on the internet until it is time to return to the hub of downtown and banner at Stephanie’s office, a block off the main drag. It has started to rain, well drizzle compared to what has been coming down – and I’ve already admitted I’m a fair-weather activist.
It is not cold but it is terribly windy. I am the only activist on the street so I hold the “honk for peace” sign. In 20 minutes, only 5 cars pass, 3 of them honking, smiling & waving.
I take chalk and ‘draw’ (I'm not an artist either) on the sidewalk in front of Stephanie’s office a dead body. Then I add then horrific number of U.S. soldiers dead; and people of Iraq that are dead. I write a few more things about Stepanie buying the war, until the chalk is used up. Her office is right next to the police station – so I’m hoping Toby is right and chalking the sidewalk is not an arrestable offense – I am to be in Rapid City by 4:30 and it is a 5 or 6 hour drive!
No one comes out of the police station; no one joins the protest on this glumy South Dakota morn – so I leave the chalkings in front of the protected doorway of her office and head out in the rain to the west part of the state.