About Me

Tired of the mundane and craving an adventure, on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, I embarked on the ultimate American road trip through all fifty states. After nearly a year and a half on the road, on a budget of less than 50 bucks a day, this is my story...

"Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?!"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bob Dylan once sang:

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said "You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do"
So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"
Whoa-oh-oh

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin' would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and-a yelled at the house, "Hey! What gives you the right?"
"To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in"
"If God was here he'd tell you to your face, Man, you're some kinda sinner"

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

Now, hey you, mister, can't you read?
You've got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can't even watch, no you can't eat
You ain't supposed to be here
The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
Ugh!

These are the words that came to mind as I was brought down to a level of inferiority this morning.
I started out my day like any other day - wanting a shower =) I traveled a few miles to a Bally's Total Fitness, I said I forgot my trial pass, the lady behind the front desk called a big, bad sales rep who came down and interrogated me about it, and refused me access. He was very pompous and belittling (what? a salesman would never act like that, LOL)

I went to a city park. It was a nice neighborhood, and there was a cop practically doing circles around the parking lot and I felt very censored. Anyway, I cleaned up in the park restroom, and noticed there must be a gym in the big building at the center of the park, since people were entering the building with gym bags. I grabbed mine and entered the building, found the locker room, and was about to enter the shower when I was stopped and questioned by a man in red (a power color, go figure, lol). "The women in the front didn't recognize you. Do you have an access card? What's your name? I'll go check the system." When he left the room, I got dressed, and saw the women he had mentioned behind a desk at the door. They interrogated me too. "Do you have an access card? Are you staying with a resident? Only residents can bring guests and they must buy a $4 guest access card. Were you told to come here? How do you know of this place?" They denied my request to purchase a guest access card as they judged me, and I left the property with my head hung low, humiliated.

I drove to a Pilot Travel Center, asked for a shower, they told me it's ten dollars. TEN DOLLARS FOR A SHOWER?! You've gotta be kidding me! That's obscene! A trucker would never have to pay $10, but a person in a car? Ten dollars for a few minutes of water. I left offended.

I went to the Wendy's next door to check my email. They told me they had internet access, so I purchased an item from the menu, sat down, powered on my computer, and was prompted to pay a ridiculous internet access fee of $3/hr or something. I spoke with the manager who said they have nothing to do with it, this Wendy's is owned by Pilot, which charges a fee. I said "Well don't you think it would be a good idea to notify customers of the fee upon inquiring about it? I just came in here and purchased from the menu so that I could have internet access." He carelessly muttered the same line of BS and disappeared into a back room.

I got my mind off things at Arabica Coffee House in a neighboring city. The staff was friendly and competent, and the place had a casual, welcoming atmosphere. It was here that I took a load off and spent pretty much the remainder of the day until they closed. With advice from friends I completed the rest of the profile I had created months back on couchsurfing.org, but never before used. Couchsurfing.org is a website for kind-hearted travel types all over the world who, when they aren't traveling, host fellow travelers. The website has existed for over a decade, correspondence is recorded, identities and locations are verified, and references and feedback on stays are noted on users' profiles. Reluctant to trust a stranger's kindness, I sent out a couple of CF requests to nearby residents. It was short notice and I hadn't received any replies to my requests, so I waited 'til about 10pm and went to a state park where I grabbed a shower, and parked at a site and slept in my car for the night.

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