Selling Crap you don’t need
Justice Dec 22, 2009
Back in the winter of 2003, I had just turned 18 that fall and was finally free. No more school or having to risk having social services called on me or my mom. Michigan is a cold drab place full of rednecks and hicks. Down in the motherland Detroit black teens are killing each other over the idea of material gain, or sometimes pure rage and lack of good parenting. I understand when you feel as though you have nothing, you feel the need to get what you can to prove you can get/do something. The old people eat, shit and breathe church, church; church…I was tried of racism on both sides, church and rednecks in amerikkka. I was ready to see what the rest of this “great” land had to offer, unfortunately this also included Texas, but I was desperate. For years I’d been hearing about travels all across the U.S and Canada. Punks squatters, hippies, and just plain ol’ travelers and hitchhikers train hopping but it was the 2000’s so I knew that was not the business. So I became a greyhound hopper. Traveling the U.S. one big grey dog trip at a time.
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Thanksgiving was a bummer this year because my family usually has a thing they do, but not this year. I was alone, it was almost snow weather. Ramen and cheese were my friend and that year had been shitty and I had been watching my neighborhood turn into cracked out hell. I had always wanted to go south for the winter and I was eyeing the “get paid to travel” ad in the back of the local paper. “Get paid to travel, 250 dollars and room and board and free travel”. Sounds great ya? Well I had no idea what I was in for. After two phone interviews the “selling you crap you don’t need people” sent me a greyhound ticket, I was on my way. This was my first time on the grey hound and first time leaving the state I called home. A 30 hour trip from Detroit to Dallas, I went through Ohio, saw the Cincinnati bridge, Indiana, Tennessee , Arkansas, Oklahoma then last and least Texas. There was nothing at first but then I saw the city downtown of Dallas with its big green star glowing in the city lights.
Like most of the cities I had seen, it was beautiful at night and all the people that don’t need to see me were asleep. It was warm and greyhound was tucked away in a corner. I met this kid named Currency and we chit-chatted for awhile as I was waiting to be picked up by the agency man. An hour and 15 later a black escalade pulls up (last I checked those cost a lot of money). I jump in knowing I was selling magazines but had no idea what was coming next. We drive for about 30 to 45 minutes more, so fucking tried of sitting at this point. We get to the Holiday Inn on the out skirts of town, a gas station and a Denny’s are the only options here. Wow I thought we were going to be around people or in a metropolitan area. No I was in the middle of nowhere going to Denny’s. The man Mike asks me if I had eaten, I said no he gives me a twenty and Denny’s is my home for now, and a pack of cigs is only about 2.50 which was amazing!
Before I could go lay in my bed I had to sign several papers claiming me to be and independent contractor and they had no liability for anything that happened to me and that this was a trial period to see if I could hang. There was three people to room, girls with girls and guys with guys, girls where allowed in guys rooms if they where dating but not the other way around which I though was weird. My roomies where cool and I was out as a dyke at the time cause I didn’t care, but one of my roomies was bi and there was one other dyke there but she looked like a flat faced pit-bull. So 20 bucks a day and a free ride didn’t sound so bad. I was ready to sell people crap they didn’t need.
Day one wasn’t so bad, a hectic morning with fast food breakfast. The ritual was to get up, meet in one of the meeting rooms in the hotel and our names were called from a sheet so we could find out what cars we were riding in for the day. One time they where doing this as usual, john lane, car2 Dick rider, car2…everyone stops because it was so funny even though I felt bad but how could you not laugh at his name? The first person I went on duty with was this dude who was “notorious for selling people crap they didn’t want”. He was a tall white southern boy with a mean face and a “get ‘err done” attitude, he was in fact a douche. They have you stand there like the third wheel on a date looking at this person who you’ve interrupted doing whatever they’re doing, then you ask them to help you get points to get a vacations to some place that you know you’re not going to, and then tell them they have to buy magazines to help you out and they’ll get a good deal. This was lame. I’m in the desert interposing people asking them to waste more trees and sit on their asses reading bad books. Oh how I wish I was a peddler for Kate Bornstein or Leslie Thompson. There are a lot of Asian people in Texas, I found this surprising. And the racists will smile in your face and say nothing; I don’t like that, tell me you don't like me so I don’t waste my time.
People leave their houses lying open and never water their grass. On days we didn’t want to walk around we’d find one of these houses and sit and smoke cigarettes and talk. I met some cool kids from Austin, Michigan, Louisiana, and D.C and all over. But the rest were dead beats from the south with no life who let these crazy magazine people rule their lives and abuse them.
These people could give a fuck less about our safety or well being. I got sick on the job and they won’t let you stay in the hotel, you either work or go to the hospital, can you guess what I chose? The doctors were nice though, and of course it’s 150 bucks just to step in the place and get two Tylenol a dollar more. After about a week and a half of this they were heading off to Atlanta, GA. Hooray I survived Texas and only sold two subscriptions, but some people helped me out to make it look like I had more, they knew it was a tough job. We packed up our crap and started what I thought would be a short trip to the ATL. Worst road trip ever! Southern people like rap too but it’s bad. Take a rap song and slow it down and you have crappy music that sounds like coffee sludge was spilled on the mic. Lucky I equipped my self with some Nyquil and dreamt of being a super stealth cheetah running around swiftly through the streets.
I woke up dizzy in Louisiana only to find out that one of the kids ran into a parked semi-truck on the freeway, deadbeats. Deadbeats that can’t drive, and there was a couple that just joined the group before we headed out that they left behind in L.A. Never get coffee there either, even though it was Mcdeath’s coffee it tasted like well water. Every mineral that you will ever need and not need was in that coffee. So at this point what should have been a 10-12 hour drive was now turning into a 36 hour drive. We finally arrived to the city of Atlanta, I was so excited and we even got a day off to explore the city. This is the place where that white guy blew up the Olympic Games. Downtown is huge, southern with cowboy boots in every window. But there are a lot of trees and greenery and nice people.
There are a lot of hills in the suburbs of Atlanta, but people do not take kindly to people coming to their doors selling the “crap they don’t need” either. And I was getting really sick from I didn’t know what at the time. And they didn’t care. work or go home. It was my first time working by myself, I was sick and in pain and had no idea what was going on, but I meet these Mexicans that were working on this house that gave me soda and let me sleep. The people spent all day looking for me but I didn’t care I was tired of douche bags ruling my life and not caring about anybody’s health or safety. Working 12 hours for 20 bucks a day and being generally evil and abusive. So when I finally called them after my nap I gave them a piece of my mind, because I couldn’t take it anymore. People were horrified, how dare I tell them that they sucked massive donkey danggger; and how abuse and is not acceptable, and they could take this job and shove it sideways. They did not respond well to this argument, so I had to pack my things immediately. People were surprised at my reaction to their shitty job, and they drove me to the greyhound station. The deal was I thought that if you didn’t make it they sent you home, but not me. I piled in the car and was deported to the greyhound. As I was exiting I asked about my grey hound ticket the man said you don’t have one, and drove off leaving me in the dust of the small dark ATL greyhound station sick and alone. This is where the real adventure began. I spent much time trying to call home in desperate search of away home. But alas nobody could help me, I was stuck. To be continued…
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