Your Legs Know Where To Go -or- Jesus was a Meth Addict
This story is excerpted from the Command Z Lower Body Course. You can get the course and a whole lot more by clicking here. There’s another link at the end of the story below.
It was sometime in 2004 I think. Or maybe it was 2006. Actually it doesn’t even matter.
Ukiah spells haiku backwards. I noticed that on the first time through there. The next time, I had forgotten about it, but it certainly played out that way.
Ukiah, California. 200?. Side of the I-5 highway. It’s getting dark and I still pretend someone will stop and pick me up. Hitchhiking from Eugene, Oregon to Santa Cruz, California. My illusion fades as the streetlights flicker on and a cop car pulls up behind me.
I know what happens next, so I get my driver’s license out and face them and their flashlights. Everything checks out, so I ask them for a ride to the nearest campground. We drive around for 20 minutes and neither of the two cops can remember how to find the access road to the campground, so they get frustrated.
We pull into Denny’s restaurant. I’m not hungry. Just tired.
“You can stay here. They’re open all night. Take care.”
I got out and they drove away. I walked in to meet my fate for the night, which was a waitress named Barb and an endless cup of coffee. It lasted me until sunrise, 8 hours later.
During that night, I wrote many things in a notebook that disappeared somewhere since then. Three of those pages were delusional Haiku written after seeing the Ukiah sign reflected in the glass door of the restaurant. I had a chuckle and went back to killing time, 17 syllables at a time.
That night I decided my strategy needed some work if I was to avoid the hell that is sitting in a remote Denny’s all alone through a night of enforced sleeplessness.
It was really the only way things could go. If I hadn’t asked the cops for a ride, they might have just taken me in for hitchhiking. They can’t just leave you on the highway, or if they can, they don’t generally do so. I really thought we’d make it to that campground…
FLASH FORWARD TWO YEARS
Ukiah, California. 200?+2
It’s happening again.
I was standing on an entrance ramp after being hounded off the highway by California’s Finest.
My heart sank into the horizon as another Ukiah night took me hostage.
No Way. I’m getting out of here this time. Just one more car. I’ll ask to setup in the driver’s back yard. Come on. COME ON!!!
Some dude came walking up the road from the west. Eyes sunken. Scabs crusted on his face. Bad Teeth. Big, toothy smile.
“Hey man. You’re not gettin’ outta here t’night.”
“Yeah I will. There’s still some light.”
“All right. Yell ya what. Imma go to this store over here. If yer still here when I get back, you’re comin’ to my camp.”
He wandered over the highway bridge toward the store I couldn’t see from the ramp. I have no idea why I didn’t just go to the store and meet someone and get a backyard or park to sleep in. But I didn’t. I sat there thinking I was just about to get a ride outta there at any moment.
I wished for it so hard my forehead got a few new wrinkles.
I saw his less-than-majestic silhouette approaching out of the eastern darkness as the last bits of light faded from the sky. At that point, my mind apparently stayed there on the entrance ramp as I left with the guy down the road.
“I told ya so. Now let’s go.”
We walked for 15 minutes down the road until we hit a dirt road on the left. Another 10 minutes deeper into some thick, deciduous woodlands. It started to rain a little as we passed a derelict trailer parked in the ditch. During the walk, the guy insisted on having a conversation about meth.
“I hate that meth, and I hate people that do it. I sure ain’t into that bullshit.”
“Wait here and gimme a minnit.”
He pulled some slimy bills out of his back pocket and walked around to the door of the trailer.
My mind was far enough behind now that I couldn’t hear it screaming at me to get outta there.
After his legitimate business transaction, we walked further down the road and then a sharp turn into a dirt path through the woods.
After some twists and turns and mud puddles, an old guy, frizzled beard, crazed, half-open eyes, American flag baseball cap, sitting on a bucket.
I stopped to look at him while my host kept moving. He came back. Looked at me. Looked at the guy.
“Oh. That’s Jim. He ain’t gonna make it.”
He lifted up Jim’s shirt to show me a giant pustule growing like an alien out of Jim’s chest. Remember that it’s raining and dark at this point. This was Jim’s bed. I just nodded. Looked at Jim’s tumor.
“Let’s get going. It’s gettin’ wet out here.”
So we kept on moving through the woods.
I smelled the fire before we got to his camp. Hamburgers?
No. It was a steak.
We walked into a small clearing. There were three people in a huge Walmart tent, smoking something that wasn’t weed.
“Evrybuddy, this is Garrett! Ya’ll gonna act nice and treat him right t’night.”
I just smiled, took off my backpack, set it down a few feet from the fire and took a seat. The two kids must’ve been no older than 18, probably ran away from mom and dad so they could do drugs and sex without getting grounded.
“This is my wife.” He points at the older woman in the tent currently smoking the not-weed.
“Nice to meet you.” She went back to imbibing.
“All right Garrett. Here’s a beer, and I’m gonna roll up a joint.”
“Maw! Get out here and make Garrett a plate!”
So we smoked some actual weed, drank shitty beer from cans, ate steak and potatoes, and chilled around the fire.
“Set up your tent over here.”
He helped me setup my tent on a flat and raised area in the clearing. It was the perfect size and shape for my tent, and it kept all the water running away from me.
“What time you wanna get up in the mornin’?”
“Awright, I’ll getcha up. You go get some sleep. You gotta long trip ahead a you.”
“Goodnight, and thank you.”
A faint howl of warning drifted along the night breeze to my ears and gave my a shudder of fear. It passed with the breeze and ran off with the rain. I took a deep breath and fell asleep, warm and dry and full and high and happy.
I later realized that was my mind screaming from the roadside.
He woke me up at sunrise the next morning. We packed my tent and walked back through the maze of woods, past cancer Jim, who was still sitting on his bucket, still alive. He took me as far as the trailer, hugged me, said goodbye, and walked behind the trailer to do some more legitimate business.
“Thanks man. That was great.”
I walked back to the highway, was reunited with my mind, and caught a ride outta there.
Every time I look back on that story, it blows my fucking mind. I don’t know what superlatives I can use to properly communicate the intensity of that experience. I had never felt more relaxed in my life than I felt when my gracious host guided me off that highway ramp.
My legs knew exactly what to do, and there was no use for my mind at all. No questions and no hesitation…
Learn how to listen to your own body and let your legs do the walking. Besides, your mind’s never walked anywhere. It doesn’t even have legs. Here’s the course link again.