May 1st evening
Sleep near Lima, Beaverdam. Find a lot, aside a field, maybe a small retirement community? Park inconspicuously, close by a barn bearing the inscription ‘Jesus’ on the roof, which is why I exited there in the first place.
Lima News: “US kills Bin Laden”
After morning burger at Lima’s Katch Newspee, took a shitter with no door.
I don’t think anybody locks their car doors here in Lima.
Take pictures of the barn (lucky don’t get caught for trespass. Have to hurry my shots though, have God-mighty fear of being shotgunned by a righteous and lawful farmer).
Drive south, and end up stopping in Dayton, aroused by talk of flight and aviation. Model F-15’s decorated with patterns in reference to well-known artists and artistic movements adorn the lampposts. Quaint city, the librarian spends a generous ten minutes helping me with directions, talking about the beautiful bookstore in Columbus (which I won’t get to see); none of the city rush and pretention.
(A nice Leo Tolstoy quote used to preface a book about nonprofits and networks I saw in the library today: Man always wants to change the world but rarely does anything to change himself.)
Maze of bridges and rivers. After short walk, during which I met an improvised evangelist – “50th reunion from high school, what was I gonna tell them? That I worked the same job for 35 years, that I’ve a kid? No. I told them about finding faith and salvation in the love of Jesus.”
Worked in the public library for a while: good to know. Rain again. Cold, abundant.
The evening –
Eightish, contrary to routine so far, walked out to Oregon District, red-paved 5th street. Found audio tapes at the music shop. Walked into bar (Kenny’s?). Met waitress, cutish brunette dyed blonde part dyed red-head. Can’t remember her name. Has a daughter aged two, Monica. Bar was smokeful, had forgotten the feel of a beer and cigarette indoors.
Playoff games on. Am only basketball fan in this region though. People don’t care much for it (Lebron effect?). Guy from Arizona, stout, trucker cap, comes in and apologizes about his cousin, sitting alone at end of bar.
“Is he OK? He’s my cousin.”
“I have no idea.”
Only after a few minutes of the guy asking over and over what time it is, and by his own admission (“I’m already down one bottle, this is my second” – pointing to a glass of Jack) do I realize he’s well past his drunk time (more than his cousin or whoever he was pointing at I would say).
At some point he asks me to watch his drink while he goes out to bum a cig. He doesn’t come back.
“Is weird guy gone?” asks the waitress. She shows some interest in me. Maybe just the novelty.
“Not weird, just drunk.”
“Yeah, same thing.”
“Here’s another one coming in who likes to talk, just so you know.”
Ray: Very round face, 300 pounds (according to him), big fella with a healthy paunch. Tells me about mooning military choppers that kept flying overhead his backyard, something about them coming to watch on his wife. His wife left with the kids. He grew up with guns, probably old military guy. Tells a story about having a shotgun put to his head, “if the guy had had the stupidity to say…” voice trails off, wonder what would have happened if he had said anything. God bless the government, Bin Laden good riddance.
Meant to write more about Ray, can’t well remember his stories now, too bad, was sympathetic, ended pretty drunk on empty stomach, after bartender offered a Jagerbomber, couldn’t finish my 5th beer, played pool against her (she won, close though), spent drunk and uncomfortable night in the car, woke up next morning dehydrated, rainiest day yet, in lousy mood.
Another guy at the bar, the pool sensei, is getting his hair cut by the waitress. He likes to brag about his seemingly invincible physical immunity and resilience (story about never once having seen a doctor or going to a hospital, getting 20-hour surgery, and pulling himself out of bed the next day and walking home).
Spend day at the Wright field and USAF museum.
Yesterday I donned the beret backwards. It hides the disheveled hair and gives the proper countenance to my newly proclaimed “photographer” occupation. Effect was positive. Could also go for a nice leather jacket… – am in the US Air Force national museum (great breakfast, two eggs, hash browns, toast, as well as an avocado I got from the D-troit Farmer’s Market – had also gotten 3 yummy strawberry packs for $3)
I’ve spent the morning with eyes watery, crying:
– fatigue and nervousness
– the horror of war, of man’s ‘intelligence’ applied to destruction and death
– mixed with the seemingly paradoxical but natural fascination and reverence for acts of unfathomable bravado and heroism, in the face of carnage and despair.