I was talking with an old friend some time ago about racism, and whether or not it still exists. He’s an older White guy who swore that racism was a thing of the past. So I told him about this one experience that I had back in April of 2003. I told my wifey that I didn’t want her to work anymore, and that I was going to trucking school so we could live a better life.
At the orientation in Michigan, they said they would put me up in a motel in Indianapolis and give me a $300 a week allowance for whatever, and that the course would be 3 weeks. When I entered my room, I had no idea who my roommate would be. It was a trucker school, so it could have been anyone. In my mind, I’m preparing for Larry the Cable Guy, but it turns out to be a Black guy around my age from Dayton, Ohio. I’m not a fan of Ohio, but it ain’t the Cable Guy, so I’ll take it.
When we met, he said, “My man, I’m so glad it’s you instead of who I thought it was gonna be in this room.” I’m like, “The feeling is mutual, blah blah blah, lets tear up the town.”
Our version of “tear of the town” was riding through the streets and looking for the “projects” in the city. By the way, I wasn’t detailed with you, so I’ll backtrack. I arrived in Indianapolis from Ann Arbor, MI at approximately 2pm the day BEFORE class started. Ol’ Boy, whose name is Eric (and a good friend to this day) arrived an hour later.
The motel we stayed in was definitely a motel. All the trucker whores knew that this was where the new meat was staying. They could’ve been plants, because the rules were simple: no drugs and no whores, as if we would bring our own whores. Maybe they knew the trucker whores would be on the prowl. Now that I think about it, who’s to say if the person that I’m being seen with is a whore? Anyway, Eric and I drove around Indy looking for projects and grocery stores. We’re two men in a foreign town looking for trouble. You know we don’t have maps because…well, we’re men. Luckily for us, it was midday, and people were at work, school or sleep. No action. We found a Kroger supermarket along the way and bought survival food: trail mix, lunch meat, juices, bottled water, fruit, and bread. We got back to camp, talked to our women on the phone, watched TV and chillaxed until the first…and last day of school.
The next morning Eric and I rode to the truck center. We had to be there at 7 AM, so we arrived at 6:30. After processing, they sent us to the D.O.T. to get our physicals. On the way out the door, we see a guy about our age just standing there. “E” asked him if he was okay, and he told us that he needed a ride to the D.O.T. We tell him to hop in and ride with us. Dave was his name, and he caught a train to Indy from NC. He rode up to the truck center with his roommate…Larry the Cable Guy. Apparently, Larry hooked up with Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy and Ron White, and left Dave without a ride.
That Dave had us rollin’ about his roomie. “Yeeeep, I hope you don’t mind roomie”, Dave was tellin’ us Larry said. “I’m a thoroughbred, so I like to sleep in da buff. Hope you don’t mind”. Picture Beetlejuice saying this, and that’s how Dave said Larry sounded. Dave said he ended up with one of the trucker whores who had a room and just paid her to sleep in there with her. He couldn’t handle Beetlejuice naked in the room with him, even though they had their own beds.
When we got to the D.O.T, they grabbed our gents, made us cough, and we were on our way. When we returned to the center they sent us to lunch, downhill all the way from there. There were a plethora of restaurants to choose from in Indy, but the school gave us a voucher to eat at this restaurant across the street. I overheard people calling it a “greasy spoon”. Not knowing what a “greasy spoon” was, we went over there. Trucks and sh*t in the parking lot, we were like “Yeah! The experience!” Was it ever. We went inside and we were the only Blacks in there. Didn’t bother us at all. Oh, Dave is Black also, in case you hadn’t picked up on it.
The place looked like a side-of-the-road truck-stop restaurant. In the movie “Smokey and the Bandit”, Burt Reynolds referred to something like this as a “Choke n’ Puke”. We placed our order, and we sat down. I couldn’t help but notice the apron on the cook. It’s bloody as hell! So now I’m watching her. She takes raw food, and throws it on the griddle. She wipes her hands on the apron, then grabs buns, bread, lettuce, etc. Whatever she needed to make hamburgers or whatever the people ordered. So I’m like, “Oh hell naw”. I let the fellas know what’s goin’ on, and now they’re like, “Hell naw”. I told them to calm down and that I would handle it. I like to “handle it” in public places. I went up there and said to the lady with the bloody apron, “Uh, when our order comes up, can you wash your hands a bit?” It was like the needle on the record player scratched, the music stopped, and all eyes were on me now. She looks me square in the eye and says in The Countriest accent, “What makes you people think you’re better than us?”
When I woke up from blacking out, I was behind the counter screaming, “E” was standing on the counter, and Dave was in front of the counter, holding the whole restaurant back with a pocket knife that you could barely see. What got me from behind there was the shotgun I noticed that surprisingly was not being used. I quickly wrapped up my yelling and quoting and headed toward the door with the fellas. Before the door hit us where the good Lord split us, I hear “NIGGER!” real loud. But the image of the shotty still vivid in my mind kept me walking back across the street to the center.
Apparently the Choke n’ Puke was affiliated with the truck school, hence the vouchers. The admins and security were waiting for us at the front door and told us to be out of the whorish motel by the morning. It was fine by me. I refused to be talked to any ol’ kind of way. I was happy to get back home anyway.
Needless to say, I never got to be a truck driver…
And imagine the wifey at the job telling everybody to “suck it” because she’s quitting, while grabbing her crotch with one hand, and waving the other one in the air like she just didn’t care. Now imagine her having to go back to that job…yeah.
Anyway, I still keep in touch with Eric and Dave to this day. We still laugh at the whole experience and wonder why no one called the police. I gotta admit, although I’ll never go back, I had a hell of a 2 days in Indiana!
Up 4 Discussion…
1) What would you do if you were in my shoes?
2) Have you ever had a racist experience?
3) Do you have any racist friends?
4) Are you racist?
5) Have you ever had to confront a restaurant employee about cleanliness?
6) Would you ever tell your co-workers to “suck it”?
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