At a rest/info stop we met some gutter punks hitching for a ride. One of the girls named Sparrow shared some grapes with us. I'm always amazed at the generosity of others. Here we were cruising through on a $25,000 Harley, yet this group of kids offered what little they had to us. Sparrow is just one of the many teenage runaways I have met during my travels. A long while back, I lived on the streets and hopped freights for a year. I don't know what Sparrow's story was, and we couldn't get much info from her since we were strangers. Oddly, I felt insecure around her, since I wasn't wearing the same "uniform." I no longer had on my worn camo shorts with the entire ass covered in duct tape. I didn't feel cool enough in her scene. But I was still welcomed. It's the same as how sometimes I feel when I meet up with other bikers. Some are like me, wearing full gear on a long haul. Others are wearing their vest with colors on them and no helmet. I fear they see me as some kind of kook and that the sporties (sport bikers) see me as some old man on a big bike. Yet, this is all wrong. Once out on the road, everyone waves at you-scooters, sporties, baggers, etc. Screw cities. They close people's minds and force them to only hang out with their fellow tribesmen. Dacia and I enjoyed hanging out with Sparrow and her crew. She reminded me of a couple different girls I'd met on my previous travels.
One girl had run away because her step-dad had raped her, and yet another girl took off because she didn't get a Corvette for her sweet 16. You might think the second girl is a spoiled rotten turd. I did, at first. But I have learned through the years that pain is pain. Her pain probably wasn't that she didn't get her Corvette; that just pushed her away. It's a bold statement to say that their pain is the same, but both of them suffered, felt the urge to run away, and were out on the street. I've been in that place. Yes, I've been out on the street, but I've been in the place of making that choice. You're so distraught that it seems your only options are to run away and start over or to kill yourself. When you get out there on the street and start meeting others who have faced that same terrible decision and they share their only belongings, only food, only comforts with you, you realize there is still good in humanity. Sparrow's group reminded me of that.
Instead of living homeless now and not telling my loved ones where I am, I hop on a bike and take a trip. Out on the road, driving through the north woods, getting drunk on pine-scented air, I'm able to forget about my mom's cancer, bills I have to pay, and the crap I have to take care of. For a while, I am free and in a better place-both mentally and physically.
So there you have it, I've taken a nice story about traveling the highways and byways of our beautiful nation and turned it into a depressing commentary about teenage runaways, cancer, and bills. Go ahead, rip out the pages. It's probably time for your hamster to defecate.