I have this old US Atlas from the seventies. Sometimes the roads are labeled wrong, and there are whole highways that don’t even exist on my map. I’ve lost the page for Northern California and Arkansas.
But I keep it to remind me of past adventures.
Once upon a time I lived in a bus and was dancing in this rinky dink little town in South Dakota. The kind of place where you just can’t help but everyone in town knowing there’s a stripper living in that funny painted bus down by the river with her girlfriend and dogs. This funny man who lived in a junkyard had heard tell of the bus with solar panels that ran on veggie oil, so he came into the titty bar to find out more.
He was, of course, absolutely amazed by my raw sensuality and knowledge of alternative energy. He was, at the time, staying at the city dump while working on a contract to smoosh, sort, recycle, and otherwise clean up and empty out the junkyard. In fact, he thought there was a rooftop A/C unit on an RV out there that we might be able to use on the bus, so we stopped by on the way out of town.
He let us dig a hole and dump our sawdust toilet, and he hooked us up with some fresh oil from the casino down the road. He took us out to dinner and asked a gazillion questions about solar power, veggie oil conversions, biodiesel, etc. Then he turned strangely bossy and began lecturing us about fuel additives, transmission fluid additives, and the state of our tires. Besides, did we really think they were going to let us into Canada in that thing?
Back at the junkyard he informed us that he’d been giving it quite a bit of thought, and he was attracted to both of us, as a couple. My then-girlfriend was embarrassed and annoyed. I was highly amused. He went on to tell us all the things he found attractive about us. He even went so far as to tell my girlfriend that she had a beautiful face and she could always “work on the body.”
When he was done explaining his attraction to us he informed us very seriously that nature is vicious, and we should focus on beating her back so that she didn’t kill us. He was very worried that we weren’t taking him seriously enough about this.
Just as we were leaving, he gave us his old truckers map.
After that we heard from him every couple weeks. He would ask how the bus was running and remind us to use those additives and fear mother nature.
Eventually I was single and passing through the area again. His lady friend chose that exact time to dump him and he decided to pursue me, despite my strong objections. In fact he actually said, “Tara I really respect you and that’s why I’m going to pursue you whether you like it or not.” That was the last straw and I haven’t talked to him since.
But I still have the map.