march 2004 - take 2
I stop in Nebraska at a copy mat – I’ve run out of ‘pink slip bush’ flyers & I’ve spotted a copy place to make more 'pink slip bush' flyers. while I’m waiting at the counter, a younger white womon smiles at me & says she likes my truck but she’s worried that bush will get re-elected. I remind her that he wasn’t elected in the first place & she quickly agrees. she tells me they’re in the 4th year of a drought there & she thought the ‘next war’ was going to be over water & what did I think? I told her I just thought it was incredulous that we live in a society that pisses and shits in such a precious life-sustaining resource as water & I think it is such a statement about our social & cultural values & perceptions of life.
‘wow’, she exclaims ‘i’ve never thought of it that way – but what else can we do
in Nebraska, I get 11 yeahs to 3 no’s and 2 f.u.’s!!! one of the f.u.’s a new red suv, sports a bumper sticker that I ignore “happiness is a republican government”. yeah, happiness for them maybe!
later as I was approaching iowa, a tractor trailer driver pulls along side of me & gives me the finger and later kinda swerved his truck like he was threatening to side-swipe me – child’s play. stopping at a rest stop, an interracial lesbian couple pulls into the parking space next to me & said they just had to stop to meet & give me a hug! they were recent implants to Wisconsin, formerly from new mexico. they told me their community in Wisconsin was mostly very welcoming, with other lesbians & gays, of color & not. they felt comfortable being out and active and thought the conservatives were diminishing in size & volume, although we all agreed the handful that are vocal tend to be scary. they thought their proximity to Canada contributed greatly to the liberalness of the general population.
at another rest stop in iowa, a tall, skinny & ugly white male truck driver, probably in his 40’s, approached my driver’s side as I sat in my truck reviewing a map. ‘I happen to like bush’ he declared in a loud & hostile voice from the back side of my truck. I swung my door open, peeked my head around the corner to see him & exclaimed ‘wow, I haven’t met anyone yet on this trip who has told me that!’ in what I hoped was an incredulous but friendly tone!
‘there’s a lot of us here who like bush’ he growled, halting his approach.
‘oh?’ I responded, ‘I have met a lot of folks who told me they voted for bush in the last election but certainly were not voting for him in this election!’ he blinks rapidly. ‘so, I’m curious, what exactly do you like about bush?’
he backs up a few stops, ignores my question entirely & begins to gesture wildly at the back of my truck – ‘you, you need to go back there to that, that, that faggot land of your friend faggots’ he begins. ‘we don’t want you fags here’ he continues, struggling to even put his name-calling into words.
now I jump down from my truck thinking – why is faggot the worse name these boys can think of to call me? ‘you can’t tell me why you like bush, you can just call me names?’ I enquire, still trying to engage in a conversation.
he’s really backing up swiftly now & silent.
‘what, is democracy too hard for you to handle?’ I ask, my voice rising so he (and everyone else standing around not watching) can hear me. he continues to ignore me but the other folks are staring hard, so I trail him across the parking lot yelling now ‘you want to live in a dictatorship, eh? and you want to be the dictator & tell me what I can and cannot say?’
he’s ignoring me & high-tailing it back to his tractor-trailer. I yell one last time for everyone to hear: “what, democracy too hard for you to handle?”
I like that & decide I’m going to use it as often as I can on this trip, or as often as I have to! as I continue to drive thru iowa, I get 5 yeahs and no other nays or f.u.’s!!!
I’ve made it to Madison just a little late. as I approach the house I’m delivering a load to, I see their american flag waving proudly out front. then I notice the anti-abortion, anti-choice bumper sticker on one of the brothers’ cars. I was pre-warned by my customer that her family is not too liberal. of course, my signs are much bigger than theirs. we unload maggie’s things without any trouble. one of the brothers, the one who lived in California, asks me about my trip. I talk about the march for wimmin’s lives in d.c. that I’m heading to. I express my deep concerns over the attack on wimmin & our lives in this country. the anti-abortion brother is silent but this brother nods & agrees with me when I say ‘do you believe there are people in this country who want to tell ME whether I should have a child or not?’ I look at the anti-abortion brother and ask him, ‘do you think you have the right to decide for me whether I should have this baby inside of me, in my body, for me to take care of – you want the right to make that decision for me?’
‘well,’ he looks down at his feet, ‘when you put it that way, no, of course not but…’
and I interrupt & say, ‘that is the only way to put it – it is my decision, no one else’s.’ the other brothers are silent & look a little uncomfortable. I’ve collected my money so I have no worries, wave cheerfully, and pull off.
driving thru the rest ofWisconsin tho, I’m surprised & pleased to count 11 to one, the yeahs vs. the fuck you’s!!!
Chicago is my last stop for tonite – a friend of mine has invited me to visit & stay, and I have a delivery to make as well. as I park my truck out front of her apartment building, an inter-racial straight couple approach & tell me they are so ‘proud you are parked in my neighborhood’! smiles!