I been playing this game called “Transient Vagrancy” for the better part of the last four months and in spite of having to use a few continues, I managed to not only make it to the final stage, but to beat the game; as I write this I am sitting at my desk back home. Like any good final leg of a journey, the final leg of mine presented new challenges and obstacles which I had not encountered before, but also better power-ups (greasy American food) to aid in weathering the storm. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead let’s pick up where we left off; NYE 2011:
New Year’s was alrite if uneventful. Before midnite I simply took a stroll around the block not really expecting much celebration to be going on in rural California. How wrong I was: come midnight screaming, fireworks and other explosions which sounded suspiciously like gunfire erupted and lasted for the next 20 minutes. Also, every house I passed seemed to be having a rave in the backyard complete with coloured lights and DJs. It was quite the unexpected celebration.
The next morning (or later that morning if you wanna get technical) Serena gave me a ride north on the interstate and dropped me off at the exit where I could hopefully catch cars heading north to Las Vegas. I had a secret weapon too; a sign which said “VEGAS BABY VEGAS” on one side and “CANADIAN GONG TO LAS VEGAS” on the other side, an obvious attempt to take advantage of the goodwill other countries allegedly have towards Canadians. Now holding a sign and waiting for a ride is not really my style when it comes to hitch-hiking because if noone decides to pick you up the whole day you’re pretty much in the same spot you started with no progress made. However, I opted for this method because 1) The backroads were deserted and not well-marked making hitching there a daunting prospect, and 2) Walking on the interstate would have attracted too much police attention and I didn’t figure I could plead “foreigner’s ignorance” in the States.
So out there on the ramp I sat for four hours watching people go by with no regard for me and my well-being ’til I decided this sucked and went to go get some food. The rest area nearby had an establishment called “Harry’s Cafe,” a burger joint as it turned out, and so began my brief yet torrid love affair with bacon-cheeseburgers. In retrospect, I hadn’t planed on eating unhealthy in the States, only authentically. As it is, authentic American food turned out to be fast food and gas station breakfast sammiches. While holding my belly and groaning after my gigantic, golden-brown meal I decided I needed a new strategy to escape the United States, as their culture of fear really seemed to be precluding people from giving me rides. After doing some research over the phone I decided that I would take Amtrak home; it was more expensive than a flight but would give me an opportunity to see the countryside as I passed through it over the next few days. So I camped in a farmer’s field nearby the cafe that night (mainly because I didn’t feel like walking much after the fatburger), then walked six hours the next day to the train station in Riverside where I had come in from LA. I camped out in Riverside this next night near an on-ramp close to the station and let the steady stream of all-night traffic lull me to sleep.
My proximity to the station put me in good position to get on the first thing smokin to LA the next morning and I arrived at LA’s Union Station as the sun was rising. I got my Amtrak ticket to Buffalo via Chicago which was still dumb expensive even after the application of a military discount (same team). As the train wasn’t scheduled to leave til after 6pm this gave me a full-day in Los Angeles. I decided to head down to “The Grove,”
an outdoor mall on 3rd and Fairfax. I actually spent the better part of the day at the Barnes & Noble here reading comic books and such. However, when my stomach began rumbling I had to feed the machine at a nearby “Johnny Rocket’s.” I crushed another bacon cheeseburger then resumed my comic-bookery. Also checked out the nearby apple store to crush some internets while ostensibly testing out the iphone with intent to purchase. Alas, in the course of all this jackfoolery the sun inevitably made its way across the sky and I found myself having to make haste back to the station to catch my train. The bitch of this was that JWOWW from “Jersey Shore” was set to make an appearance in The Grove and I had to make my way to the other side of the city when I would have preferred to supplicate myself to a celebrity who is famous for all of the things which are worst in a human being.
That said, if it was Pauly D I prolly would skipped the train and screamed like a high school girl.
But I got to the train station on time after a brief stop in Hollywood for some groceries and sightseeing and waited for the boarding call. I’d like to tell you about what happened on the train but that’s a story for another day…another day being later tonight or tomorrow.