Sad Suspicions

While I was waiting out the rainstorm at the rest stop (on my way to NC) I noticed a beat-up car with its hood up. Along with said car there were 2 adults with 1 sleeping child. The adults kept getting out of the car and walking around to the front of the car (behind the hood). After sleeping on and off for a couple of hours, I noticed that the car was still where it had been before I fell asleep. Being hot and stuffy in my car, I opted to sit on a covered picnic table and try to cool down. As I was sitting I noticed that one of the adults from the car kept walking over to the pay phone and then back to the car.

I wanted to offer help (not that I know a thing about fixing cars) but wasn’t sure if it was a “safe” thing to do. I found myself in an internal debate about whether the people in the broken car were truly in need or just pretending to be in need so they could nab some unsuspecting fool and murder the person. As soon as that thought entered my head I found myself saddened that I would even think such as thought, never mind hold back offering someone help on the sheer chance that they would cause me harm. What type of a world are we creating when people can’t reach out to one another in needs/help for fear of being harmed?

Just as I was hitting the crux of this internal conversation, one of the adults approached my table. My first instinct was to hunch my shoulders and look as tough as I can (I am after all a transgender guy traveling alone) but I forced myself to relax and be as non-defensive as possible. S/he asked if I had a flashlight s/he could borrow in hopes of fixing hir car. Ahhh – now that is something I could help with – of course I had (not one, but 2) flashlights in my car and both were easy to access. So I got up and offered hir one of my flashlights.

After about a 1/2 hour or longer, s/he came back to return the flashlight, still not having fixed hir car. As s/he was returning the flashlight s/he asked where I was headed. I was temped to make something up, but again deciding to not assume the worst, I told hir where I was heading. S/he said that was where they were heading as well. (I will admit here, sadly, that I again began to question safety and intent.) Before I could say anymore s/he began to tell me about relocating to the area and looking for new work. We ended up having a delightful conversation as they waited for a cab to come pick them up.

Now, this is not an illustration to get us to stop considering safety as we travel through life. But perhaps rather than assume the worst from the start we can leave room for the potential of grace. I know that this event and other experiences in recent years have taught me to try to always leave room for grace to enter my life. For when I do, my life is enhanced.

Published in: on 16 August 2006 at 21.52  Comments (1)  

857 miles

I have safely arrived in NC, a mere 857 miles drive from St. Louis. I tried to do it all in 1 day, which technically I did IF you count 1 day as 24 hours and not as a single box in a calendar. I left St. Louis at 07.45 Tuesday morning and arrived in North Carolina at 04.30 Wednesday morning.

Fear not, I didn’t drive that entire time. I had a lovely stop for lunch and coffee in Lexington, KY where I met up with a friend. And then I hit major traffic just north of the WV border thus delaying my trip a solid 2 hours. I’d like to point out that my car is a standard transmission and has NO air conditioning, so it was a LONG 2 hours of sitting and inching something like 2.5 miles in 2 hours.

A few hours further down the road I thought I had hit a slice of paradise. There on the side of the road was a beautiful sign for Dunkin Donuts. I couldn’t believe my eyes but nonetheless turned off at the next exit and followed the signs to… NOT a D&D. The building had the correct architecture and coloring but it was NOT a D&D, rather instead some local donut shop. I was so saddened that I couldn’t bring myself to extricate myself from the car, though more caffeine might have been a good idea.

Once I was through my disappointment’s and back on the road, things were cranking along nicely until about 2 hours north of my destination, when out of nowhere we were hit with torrential downpours. It was about 22.00 and I decided to pull off at the next rest stop and try to wait the rain out. I didn’t last long in the car before falling asleep and slept on and off at 20 minute intervals for the next few hours. I was so tired and nauseous (too much caffeine, salt, and sugar did me in) that I decided to wait until daybreak to continue. Unfortunately my car was too stuffy and after sitting in it and then trying to sit outside in the rain I gave up and continued my drive, pulling into my hosts’ yard at 04.30.

That’s the technical info – now we’re heading out for dinner, so I’ll post some interesting insights on the trip either later tonight or tomorrow.

~ a resting traveler.

Published in: on 16 August 2006 at 21.20  Leave a Comment