Well who would’ve thought that spending the night at a truck stop could be a sketchy experience?
When I first got here and I was walking around setting stuff up, cooking dinner and all that, there was a kind of short pudgy guy walking around. He was kind of balding and looked like he was missing a few teeth. I didn’t think anything of him. When I saw him it looked like he was going towards the bathroom when he had said to me, “you’re gunna get rained on.” I asked if it was supposed to rain tonight and he nodded yes. So I said, “that’s alright, I’ve been getting rained on for the past three days.” and that was that, for the moment at least.
So for the next half hour or so, I packed up my stuff, got out my sleeping bag, and got ready to go to sleep. I had just taken off my jeans to get into my sleeping bag when I noticed a sillouette walking right near where I was. So I quickly covered up by getting in my sleeping bag as the person came over. It was the pudgy guy from earlier.
He said, “where you coming from?” I gave him the usual bit of saying where I’d come from today and how I was on a cross country trip. Then he kept walking around the picnic table to the side I was sleeping on, and standing at the edge of the table and looking straight ahead, he asked me, “are ya gay?”
I was obviously really surprised by the question so I said, “what?” and he repeated in a really casual way, “are y’gay?” So I answered (with what I’d like to think was conviction) “no, no. I’m not gay.”
He then told me, still looking straight ahead with one leg up on the bench of the table, “sometimes guys hang around here, y’know to be with the truckers. It can get crazy here. Guys’ll give’em blow jobs.” I didn’t here him well so he repeated, “give ’em blow jobs. It can be a real fiesta here.”
So I said, just to reinforce the fact, “No, I’m not gay. I’m just here lookin for a place to sleep.” Still looking forward, “yeah you said before that you’d been in the rain for three days so I just thought.” Then he just kind of stood there for a bit, so not knowing what to do and still in my underwear, I asked, “do you come around here a lot?” He answered very casually with his slight southern accent and in the kind of voice that you can tell he’s missing a couple teeth and of course still looking straight ahead, “yeah, I swing both ways.” So I just thought to myself, “oh shit” as he still stood there. So after a few more seconds, I said again, “yeah, just wanted a place to sleep.” A few seconds of silence and then, “well you don’t know ’til you ask.” “Yep, guess so.” Then after a while he said, “Lots of these guys got wives back at home. Gets lonely out on the road.” I just sat there, wondering what was in store for me as he kept standing there, with the stories I had heard on the Appalachian trail about hitchhiking and similar types of propositions.
Finally I asked, as if just to make conversation, “how long do you usually hang around?” “About 4 or 5 in the morning.” “Crap” I thought. After some more silence I asked, “do you know if there’s a caretaker or someone that comes around?” “Yeah early in the morning, like 5. But don’t worry, no one’ll bother you. At least I’ll make sure no one does. If you’re not interested, you’re not interested.” How gentlemenly of him I thought. After some more silence of us looking straight ahead as if there was something we were both mildly interested in going on in the road, he said, “you probably should have brought your bike over here. Out in the light like that someone could hop on it and roll it off.” As if I wasn’t worried enough, “it’s got a lock and alarm.” And after that he walked back to his car.
Soon after he left, I put my jeans back on, deciding no matter how uncomfortable it would be to sleep in slightly damp jeans, there was no way I was sleeping without them. Then I waited about 5 or 10 minutes before going over to the bike. I got out my leatherman from the windshield bag and made sure the alarm was on. After that, needless to say, between worrying about my bike, my ass, and what I’m pretty sure were noseeums that were biting me all night, I had a pretty restless sleep.