Wow, that was quite the cliff hanger wasn’t it? Bet you’re wondering if I was actually able to relieve myself and get on with the march right? . . . Yeah, neither would I.  Anyway, just another really quick one, because this library computer only gives me 30 minutes.

This is actually a real time post, because I’m sitting in a library in Atlanta, on my way to Tampa from Chicago. It’s actually something that I have to get off of my chest right now. 

Chicago

I finish cleaning most of the dishes in Pete’s sink, it was a bit of disaster. Still a little nervous about whether I’m going to get to the bus stop in time.  I had knocked on his door a few minutes ago, that man sure loves to sleep. Navy Pete is my Street Medic buddy from NATO, and I was staying at his house for a couple days after the Chicago Action Medical Anti-Coal Export Roadtrip to Montana.  I really didn’t have anything to worry about because the burgue-mobile is awesome at barrelling through Chicago Daytime traffic.

The bus reservations were cheap, and they would get me to Florida in a relatively timely manner.  At least comfortingly predictable, however that meant a couple long layovers, one in Nashville and one in Atlanta.  Once I get down to Orlando at 5:30 in the morning on Sunday, I will have a day to get to the RNC just in time for the convention.

So, Pete and I hug our goodbyes, I make a crappy joke.  Pete is an amazing guy, a muscular personal trainer that sensitive and kind-with a soft heart.  Kind of like all of Vin Diesel’s characters from any given movie. “Oh Turtle, why are you always leaving me?” he had said in the car, half-mocking half-serious.

Nashville

On the bus ride, I met Tyler, who was actually getting on the same bus to Atlanta in the morning that I was.  We were due into Nashville at 10:30 PM, so that means it was about a 10 hour layover.  He offered to let me stay at his friends’ house, but as these things go, as soon as they pull up, they say ‘no.’ Despite him having had asked on the way there.  What a Dick.

So the hours pass and I doze. Drunk people walk by and shout their Drunkeness to the city and the Batman building.  I don’t see Batman, I see the eye of Sauron.  About 3 AM, 2 guys stumble over to the corner and sit down, obviously wasted. One drinks a sprite.  I doze a little more and then 3 more guys wander in from the opposite street and shout at the guys, “Wake up!”

They discuss things for a while and I just lay by the tree at the bus stop against my bag.  About fifteen minutes later one of the guys, wasted out of his mind wanders over, “Can’t believe my car got locked in the garage, ” he mumbles then looks at me, as he makes to lay down on the bench in front of me, “You’re not going to shank me are you?”

“No, I don’t carry any weapons.”

“You see those four guys, ” Three of them were at the corner, one of them had already fallen asleep on the other bench, “They’ll get you if you shank me.”

“Not going to shank you, ” I say with a little bit of annoyance in my voice, then I try introducing myself, “My name’s Turtle by the way.”

“Oh Turtle, ” he chuckles, then promptly passes out.

I close my eyes for just a second, and then open them.  The top of the sky is a darkly hued, yet vibrant blue. There is a band of salmon red behind the tower of Sauron, with a smear of bright yellow-gold clouds that look like fish scales.  The drunk guy is curl up on the bench with his arms in his t-shirt and his ‘Knicks’ ball cap had fallen on the ground.

One of his friends who looks like he had stayed up the entire time shouts his name, “Yo, Quinto!” The three guys pass by headed down the street towards what I think is the direction of the garage.  Quinto staggers upright, which is a feat considering he still seems very drunk, and with his arms wrapped around himself in his shirt.

I watch him and move my legs out of the way before he steps on me.  He stumbles up the street and around the corner in the opposite direction.  I sit up and grab his cap and try to call out to him, but he moved surprisingly fast. So, I just set it down on  the bench where he was sleeping and then sit down next to it. His friend is still sleeping on the other bench.

The others come back and there are words of confusion.  One of them goes and wakes up the guy on the other bench, who was very bleary eyed,  “Look, he’s your friend, he’s got the keys and he’s missing.  We have to find him.”

Throughout the entire experience, I do my best to engage these guys. With a hello and smile, I guess that I guy with a huge pack waiting overnight at a bus stop is just too creepy for them to interact with.  But as the one dude is sent off in the wrong direction to find Quinto, I finally shout out, waving at the guys, “Hey! He staggered off in that direction!”

“He staggered that way?”

I nod.

It doesn’t take long for him to be found and they all gather up at the corner again.  As Quinto passes we look at each other in the eye, I smile and wave.  Still probably wasted, I see the slightest of smirks cross his face.

Atlanta

I waited for fifteen minutes because the security guard didn’t know all of the rules and regulations for the library.  When her supervisor comes, a big burly black man, “I’m sorry, but your pack is too big.” He points at the sticker on the table illustrating the dimensions of proper bag size.

“So, what’s with all the security, this is a library, with books and computers and stuff, ” I’m actually really irritated at this point.  I don’t get irritated.

“Because there are activities that sometimes go on in this library that shouldn’t go on.”

“And, because my pack is too big, means that I must want to do one of these ‘activities’.”

“There are rules a regulations for this library, like you have a sleeping bag, and those are not allowed in the library.”

“But I don’t want to use my sleeping bag, I want to use the library.”

“I don’t make the rules, I just have to enforce them.” That old line.

“That’s stupid! Can’t I just leave my bag here at the security desk?”

“No, we are not allowed to keep anything here.”

“Well, is there anyplace like a locker that I can store my bag?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Fine, is there another library around here.”

“Yeah there’s the Auburn library, it’s just down the street-”

At this point, I’m ready to just sit on the floor of the lobby, “I’m sorry, but I’ll probably forget the directions, can you write them down for me?”  Hah, it’s the little inconvienences that are sometimes the victory.

I do start to feel bad for him when he pulls out his cell phone and tries to use the GPS.  People are sometimes way too dependent on their gadgets.  There are people in line behind me, I turn around and move out of their way, “Sorry, I’m not in line.  I’m not allowed in because my bag is too big.”

Eventually the security guard gives up on writing me directions, and just tells me.  They really aren’t that complicated and I find my way to the Aubern Avenue Reasearch Library on African American Culture and History.

This one also won’t allow me to bring in my large and heavy pack, but at least they provide lockers.  Well, one locker. So I pull stuff off and out of my pack, and finally stuff as much as I can into the locker.  The only things I have to carry into the library are my pillow, sleeping pad, laundry bag, and street medic bag.  Score.

So the librarian gave me an extra 45 minutes, she rocks.

And now, on to Florida!

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