Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hey mugen

Hey mugen,

I didn't think your comment was negative, nor did I mean to sound hostile in my response, although I'm sure I probably did sound hostile. I know it's difficult to communicate your thoughts through writing sometimes. Man, I have so much going through my mind all the time, I barely know what I've written. I think that's good, though, because it keeps my posts honest, even if they are negative or embarrassing sometimes. I just want this blog to be a true reflection/representation of my experience, and I know sometimes it makes me look like a prick in some people's eyes. I also know sometimes I am a prick, but I doubt if it's the same times as when people think I'm a prick.

Thanks for participating and stuff. I hope you'll keep commenting, even if your comments are critical of what I say.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

Raul Gomez

This post begins at Half Moon Bay and ends up somewhere in the Bay Area. Pardon me if I say some things I've already said...

I think it was last Wednesday when the English blokes picked me up and took me 20 or 30 miles to Half Moon Bay. From Half Moon Bay I began walking along Route 92 toward San Mateo, unexpectedly climbing a mountain on the way.

About halfway down the mountain a motorist pulled off on the other side of the road to ask me if I wanted a ride. It took a few minutes for me to cross the road and speak to him because there is nearly constant traffic each way. Once I was finally able to cross the road, I spoke to the man for a minute and then hopped into Raul Gomez's Chrysler minivan. Once we got going I knew Raul was going to San Jose, but I was still unsure of where he'd be dropping me off.

Raul is a baker at Safeway in Half Moon Bay. I informed him that I had bought some food at his store a little earlier. (Not that you care.) Having a Spanish accent, I asked Raul where he was from. He said Fiji. Not the response I expected. I eventually found out that he is of Mexican lineage.

I could tell right away that Raul was a very friendly guy. He enjoyed telling me about the area, like how the clouds always hover over the mountains west of the Bay Area while the part of the Bay Area we'd entered usually stays sunny and nice. He said he wanted to show me Redwood City before taking me to the 101, so there we went.

As we approached Redwood City, Raul informed me he'd be treating me to lunch. He then drove to his favorite torta joint, La Casita Chilanga. La Casita Chilanga is a tiny little place--probably less than 500 square feet--with a counter, a small kitchen, and a small dining area.

I'd never had a torta before, nor did I even know what a torta was. If you don't know, a torta is a sandwich made on a large round piece of bread sliced horizontally through the middle. Raul ordered La Cubana for both of us. I can't tell you for sure what all was on La Cubana, but there was ham, chorizo, breaded beef, tomatoes, avocados, jalopenos, onions, a couple different sauces or dressings, and then probably a few more things. This sandwich was HUGE and it was so exotic (and a little scary) to me, but I ate it without picking things off. (OK, I did end up picking off the onions, but I left everything else there.)

The sandwich was really good. I've always been a very picky eater, but I am eating tons of new foods now. TONS of new foods that I just would not have dared eat a year ago. I'm not saying I like everything new I try, but I did like the torta.

Thanks, Raul.

Raul dropped me off near 101 and Marsh, but I didn't stay long because it just didn't feel like the kind of place where people will stop. I've been wanting to say this for a while: I still have not gotten a ride from a California native. Interestingly, my first three rides in California were all from natives of New York City. Each of those rides originated from on-ramps. My other two rides were from primarily Spanish-speaking men who stopped to ask me if I needed a ride when they saw me walking. I am not including Travis here (the trucker who brought me to California) because that ride began in Iowa.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

Response to "mugen"

This post is a response to a comment by "mugen" on my Encinal Canyon Road post.

mugen said...

wow, he sounds like an awful nice man to let a complete stranger in the house and give him food and a shower. I think it is one thing to offer a stranger food and a bath but completely different to allow a stranger to sleep in your house. He sounds like a very compassionate man. I hope you take away from this experience his kindness. I hope the man, if he sees your post, realizes he has done a good deed and isn't stung by the criticism.

I have been reading your blog for a long while and I guess the reason why I haven't passed this on to too many people is that the tone of your blog is so negative at times. Complete strangers take you in do nice things, but in the end you complain about something. Like the man in Florida who gave you a job to help paint his house. You felt he didn't pay you enough.

You are truly not aimless if you have preconceived expectations and people fail to meet those expectations.

Maybe you should consider reading the Tao of Pooh. You could pick it up pretty cheap at a used book store.

Until then I leave you with a quote from Steven Hawking

“When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have”

* * * * *

First of all, mugen, I only have 1,000 characters available when I post from my phone, which is almost every post. That doesn't give me a lot of opportunity to say everything I'd like to say, nor does it give me a chance to elaborate on the things I do say. For example, I usually don't have room to thank the people who do nice things for me. If I did, I'd be forced to tell even less of the story. So I want you to remember this: When I tell stories about people doing nice things for me, it should be understood that I am also thanking them publicly through this blog. Whenever I am able, I will make a list of all the people who have done nice things for me and I will formally thank them.

Having said that, I appreciated the shower and the meal "Father Winter" provided me. But remember, the premise of the whole situation was that he stopped me and offered me a safe place to camp out when I planned to walk perhaps another 8 or 10 miles. When I told him I was more interested in getting down the road than having a place to camp out, he persisted. He didn't offer me a shower or a meal or a roof over my head; he offered me a spot to sleep somewhere on his 4 acres of property. Then he reneged and took me back to where we'd met, probably because I was not open to having his religious beliefs forced upon me. Instead of being truthful, though, he tried to disguise it as if he suddenly came up with a better idea.

Sorry, buddy, but that is a really shitty way to treat people. I'd be ashamed of myself if I did it. If he had just been honest and said he decided he didn't want me staying on his property, I would have respected his honesty. But he wasn't honest about it; instead, he weaseled his way out of an obligation he created for himself.

I really don't care that he reneged on his hospitality, but he is a total asshole for doing it the way he did it. I ended up finding a great place to sleep that night, about a quarter of a mile into Ventura County. It was right by the road but hidden. Very peaceful. If he hadn't reneged on his offer, I probably wouldn't have seen my first live rattlesnake in the wild, either.

* * * * *

Now let me move on to what you said about my response to working for Travis Beechler in Florida. First of all, I made it very clear that I felt kind of like a shithead for what I said about Travis. I made it clear that I consider Travis a decent person. However, I don't take back what I said about feeling cheated with the wages.

You made a huge assumption when you mentioned "the man in Florida who gave [me] a job to help paint his house." For some reason, you assumed Travis did me a favor by "giving" me a job. Did it ever occur to you that maybe I did Travis a favor by doing work he desperately needed someone to do for him? Yeah, that's exactly how it was. He needed someone's help; I didn't need what I got from it. I did it because it provided me an opportunity to make some extra cash and I figured I'd get fairly compensated for it. And even though he made it clear he really wanted me to hang around and work another couple days, I declined because no one is worth only $6 an hour.

Mugen, do you ever bust your ass for $6 an hour? If so, do you feel justly compensated?

Yeah, that's what I thought. So don't try telling me I should be thrilled to be ripped off, all right. Put your money where your mouth is.

Regarding the casino and the Olive Garden: I didn't ask for them to take me to the Olive Garden, nor did I ask for money for slot machines. Under no conditions would I have used my own money for either of these activities. Those things were gifts--which I sincerely appreciated--not credit. So yes, I expected to be paid better than $6 an hour for 9 hours of hard work with no lunch break.

But just let me say this again: I consider Travis Beechler a good person. I appreciate the things he did for me and I will probably talk to him again sometime.

* * * * *

So mugen, should I also feel totally in debt to the trucker who fondled me? Maybe I should have just let him fuck me in the ass, as payment for the ride he gave me from Richmond, Indiana to Joplin, Missouri, huh. If I call him a dick for putting his hand on my cock, are you going to tell me how ungrateful I am? Well, you know what? He's a fucking prick for putting his hand on my cock. If I would have known I'd have to deal with that kind of shit, I would have turned down his offer for a ride, stayed in Indiana, and tried to get a ride with someone else.

I've made it clear that I don't expect anything from anyone. This isn't about me or how I get people to do things for ME. I'm just a representative; it's about the kind things people do for someone, and that someone just happens to be me. I can't document or write about this stuff if I'm not out here doing it.

If you think I'm so negative, go out and do what I've been doing. You'll find out pretty quickly that there are a lot of total assholes out there, like the fuckbrains who try to scare me by swerving off the road at 70+ MPH, missing me by a foot. Yeah, I haven't mentioned those kinds of things, have I? Well, it happens, and it might get me killed. Y'know, that kind of thing happens more frequently than the random acts of kindness, but I don't talk about them much because I make a conscious effort not to sound too negative.

There are some really great people out there, but there are thousands of assholes in between each great person. I'm just the messenger, dude. I don't want this blog or the documentary to be negative, but that's how shit really is, OK. I'm not a negative person for reporting negative things. If anything, you are a negative person for making that assumption.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

Grass vs. tennis court

Jay, I certainly prefer grass to tennis courts. When I arrived at the park, I actually planned to sleep on the playground, where I believe the surface was sweet-smelling cedar chips. I couldn't sleep on the grass in the park because there were sprinklers a-sprinkling. Even on the cedar chips I was getting some of the mist from the sprinklers, so I relocated to the tennis courts. I have a small inflatable pad that makes it possible to sleep comfortably on almost any surface.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer