Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Things You'll Never See Again

Maximum Clearance

I have a lot of dubious honors to my name, one being that I'm probably in a very select minority of people who has ever travelled for a very long time to see the Hobo Museum somewhere in the hinterlands of Iowa. I got tricked into this trip, kidnapped if you will, lured by promises of fun and excitement and I quote, "things you'll never see again." I often accuse the male gender of exaggeration along with a few other minor crimes (despite my love of Andrea Dworkin, I actually adore men), but in this case, the man in question was correct if not about the fun and excitement part (unless you count the diner in Iowa where they looked at us like aliens -- I credit this to a rather substantial age difference and the fact that I was dressed all in black), but about what I would never see again. The Hobo Museum resides off a tiny side street, manned by one surly teenager who takes the fifty cent entry fee and instructs you to turn on the lights when you get into the one room and turn them off when you leave. My then-boyfriend and I entered the dark room, only to be greeted by various hobo artifacts, signs instructing one how to speak hobo language, and a brief history of hobo life, illustrated on posterboards that had been stuck up to the wall with tacks.

I believe in being a good sport so I took a look around. Don't know a damn thing about hobos or trains, I quickly realized. Didn't know much about anything. The trip was near the end of the relationship, a kind of rage against the dying of the light stuff. I thought about all the seemingly wholesome people in Iowa, all the farmers and shopkeepers and kids we saw, thought about how simple their lives must be in comparison, the whole bullshit self-pity party one has when one can. I sat on the edge of the hobo stage and buried my face in my hands. Thought about the trains in the distance, about how there's always another one coming whether you're ready or not. The room was still dim and gray even with all the lights on. There wasn't much to see but we stayed as long as we could as to not hurt anyone's feelings.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home." Twyla Tharp

Cocktail Hour
Drinking reading suggestion: Dry Augusten Burroughs

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


the walking man said...

Iowa the only state I have ever seen that has 90 degre curves in their roads instead of the more gentle 45 to 60 degree ones. So much damn corn.

The name of the hinterland town you were in was Britt and even though I never rode trains, I went through there but didn't stop at the museum because it seemed as if I would have just been seeing myself at the time which didn't seem very interesting at that moment.

If you want you go there the second weekend in August for the Hobo Convention. At least it used to be without fail at that time. At least thats's what I heard.

People in Iowa and the whole of the little rural America towns have a different set of problems, but they throw pity parties as well and now it is rural America where the Crystal Meth is epidemic.

But what I do like about this story is that you did it, you went and even though it was only a road trip, most people would have just excused themselves from it, so in the going you got a bit of a taste. Even the stares in the diner was a part of the life.

Road dogs and hobo's were pretty familiar with each other and freely shared what information and food they could no snobbery in the clan but it seemed even in the mid '70's the hobos were always a bit older than the road dogs, really the only difference back then was mostly method of travel.

Maybe that's a part of me that I lost when I settled in back here
a sense of belonging, even if it was in a fifty cent museum.



Paul said...

OldBoyfriendgivemethe Willies

JR's Thumbprints said...

Year after year after year, I'd dress up as a Hobo for Halloween. That's after the whole mom's gonna make her second son look cute stage. There's a certain fascination with the whole Hobo way of life--or so I'm thinking--until you actually have to live it.

eric313 said...

Not done reading yet...

You were tricked, oh...

I see...

Great story.

I love that idea about overstaying the relationship to this kind of farcicle, ridiculous extent. What a metaphor...

The hobo museum! Oh my god is that good--and hilarious.

Shaun said...

I went back and re-read some real old posts. I read the one about smearing fecal matter onto dollar bills at the Wal-Mart.

Anyhoo boo, i did it, but instead of shit, i had the chemistry teacher to mix up this stuff they used to sell in novelty shops called "apple blossum", which of course does in no way lived up to it's name, odiferously anyway. Smells just like a next morning, jagged wet fart, from someone who has been up all night after snorting crystal and drinking Budwieser and PBR, chased with pickled eggs...Texas pickled eggs.

The prank, by plain luck went from just funny, directly into a mixture of Firesign Theatre and Monty Python, with a smidget of George Carlin and Jeff Foxworthy.

There happpened to be a meeting of the non-profit board who bought the building our school is located. I happened, and i swear it was coincidence, to have started the gag right as the board started arriving. I had bought my usual Starbucks 'wake me up' and had eaten my Adderall and Methadone so everything came together like a symphony. I laughed so farking hard just thinking about the little conference room they would be that i had White Chocolate Mocha coming out my goddamn nose.

Even better, afterwards, they made the Contractor who is doing the remodeling, come in himself personally and trouble shoot the evil odor in the room. The comments continued all day. I had the best laugh i have had in such a long, long time. The contractor knows it was me, but since he is one of those dicks that consider non-profits or any goverment related entity, sitting ducks for Buck plucking, I am even happier.

I think i love you for that post and whatever made me read it.

Peace to the Poet

_______ Community College
Department of Michelles Spells and other olafactory prognostications.

Charles Gramlich said...

I used to want to be a hobo, but the lack of clean and comfortable restrooms turned me off to the concept.

the walking man said...

You know those little packs of Kleenex they sell Charles? Either that or green leave that you know won't hurt you,like say oak they get you clean, bears shit in the woods so why not me?