So we spent the entire day picking up the trailer and had a pretty great time on the way. We hired a guy off Craigslist who had a 3/4 ton truck and experience, pretty much all we needed. His name was Joey and he picked us up around 10am with his brother and wife; all friendly, no room for awkwardness allowed. Almost as soon as we left, getting on the freeway a woman was blocking a lane of traffic with a flat tire, Joey insisted they stop and change her tire while his brother directed traffic, finishing in about 7 minutes. They made $20 doing it but it was clear they were generally pretty decent people. The drive was supposed to be 60 miles but we took the scenic route, cutting across from the freeway to the highway Dehnam Springs was on, winding past country homes, and taking enough turns to feel we were going in circles. We didn’t worry much though, Joey had been driving these roads since he was 12 when his dad threw him in a semi, strapped wood blocks to the pedals and told him to drive 150 miles to Lafayette to drop off a load. Stories like that and others were the theme of the ride to the trailer, between harassing his wife for driving so badly (she was texting while driving and took pain pills before they left), and picking on his brother for taking her side.
(skip this paragraph for more trailer trip adventure or read on for a Joey Story) One of the especially hilarious stories, Joey and his former wife were traveling with his uncles carnival with a truck camper combo. While driving down the freeway on the way to a new town late at night, a Camaro hit him them from behind, tipping them onto two wheels, nearly causing them to roll. Doesn’t sound very funny? Wait theres more! The corner of the trailer they hit was the corner where the bathroom is and subsequently the black water tank full of poop, pee and toilet chemicals – all which was now covering the driver and passengers of the Camaro through their smashed out windshield and crushed hood. It gets better (or worse). The Camaro didn’t stop, it sped up with every intention in the world of getting the hell out of there (though I cant imagine how they stomached that decision covered in shit). When Joey and his wife gained control of the truck (his wife driving, him pulling on the steering to untip it), they sped up after the Camaro for a swirvy 80 mile per hour chase till the Camaro finally pulled over on a country road (maybe not the best idea after you’ve hit and run a Cajun in the middle of nowhere). Joey of course responded as any Cajun would, he walked over to the car with a gun, broke the driver window with the butt of the gun and held the gun to the drivers head. “You almost killed us you mother F$%&er and you were just going to drive away!” he yelled at him, then noticing everyone covered in shit and a small glass tray covered in white powder. “How much money you got to fix my trailer?!”, the guy had about $100, his passengers another $75 – probably not enough, not to mention the trauma of almost dying. Just as he was about to explode he noticed a rather bursting bag of white powder in the console. “I’ll take that too”. Remembering that he has a gun, is this a robbery or a reasonable transaction? Imagine someone almost killed you then drive away, and you happened to have a gun under your seat… hmm, yeah will depend on more than that. Anyway, they try to refuse (presumably because its not their drugs, but know they don’t have much choice in the matter) “if we give you this you could tell the cops”. Joey laughs “why the hell would I tell the cops about your damn drugs if I haven’t called the cops on your almost killing me” – they hand it over. As the transaction was ending and the gun was being put away, police lights were seen in the distance. Joey hurried to hide the bag of drugs under a rock while the guys in the Camero grew increasingly nervous and still covered in shit. As the cops drew closer, the driver of the Camaro said to Joey as if they were old friends “I really hope they dont search me, I got a trunk of this stuff”. The cop had received a report of a hit and run from someone else on the highway. He understood already who was the victim and who was the culprit but Joey got a sufficient payment for his losses and decided to help the Camaro driver out. “No sir there was no hit and run, we just followed them till they found a place to pull off the highway”. The cop kept insisting what he was told warranted a hit and run and that he would have to search the Camaro. “Look officer” holding out a wad of cash, “they already paid me for the damages and we were just about to settle up and go our ways”. Eventually this worked and everyone went home happy, although covered in poop, without a toilet or not having made a huge bust. The world went on with carnivals, drug dealers and country cops as it always will. Joey and his wife returned later, picked up the drugs and sold them to employees of the carnival who snorted it right before your kid got on their rides.
After this story and many others we arrived at the dealership (of manufactured homes), happily and speedily finished up the paperwork and had no issues hooking up the trailer. Those came later when just out of town we got a flat. The dealership, because they build manufactured homes, had about a million nails and staples in their lot and one of them was in the front left tire. We had noticed, annoyed there was no spare and Joey pissed he hadn’t brought one, we assumed it would either hold out or we’d stop and get some ‘Fix-a-flat’; unfortunately it did not and we were forced to drive on the shoulder of the highway for while, though luckily being within a mile of a middle of nowhere tire shop.
Everything couldn’t go perfect so I wasn’t too annoyed, more annoyed that we were using up these peoples time. Joey’s wife Tabitha was having trouble finding a ride for her daughter from school and Doug got several calls from a girl wondering where he was. During the drive I snuck in some audio recordings, video and photos(will post if I can). Partly because they were really interesting people but also because we’re so cut off from other people most the time, I’d probably record and spy on anyone we met at this point. Joey cant read, and aside from being a really nice guy who walked us through every single thing we might need to know about trailers and towing them AND telling us some of the best stories I’ve heard in a while, he is really racist though aware that he might offend others at least. Doug reminded me of my brother, the good parts of my brother; big, funny and tattooed. He seemed fairly smart, interested in technology and much less racist. Tabitha and I had some moments of “freakin men” to share along the road while she suffered through Joey’s criticism of her driving.
As a family they make pretty good money hauling junk cars, cutting down dead trees and picking up trailers for people like me and Ross and were completely genuine people. Growing up in Montana and Idaho, around hunting, racism, trapping and strong chauvinism they actually reminded me of where I’m from… so to speak. I am/do none of those things but I guess I’ve learned some level of tolerance of peoples faults. In short, I’d hang out with these people again, just like I’d hang out with my racist, hunting, trapping, chauvinistic step father again, not because hes my step father, because aside from people’s faults, they can still be pretty awesome people. The racist thing does suck allot though… it’s really ingrained down here too. The whole city of New Orleans is crime ridden, and no sociology statistics needed, the majority of the crime, and a big reason why there is so much racism against black people down here – is because most crime happens in poor black communities or involving black youth etc., especially after Katrina. That doesn’t forgive it obviously but its a peer and family driven belief that makes things like racism last so long over generations. Generalization builds fear and so on.. anyway. Doug got our number and claimed he’d call us for a house warming party which would be awesome. They spoke of banana, mango and strawberry moonshine – clubs on the bayou that rock the swamp at night and don’t do drugs anymore so it seems they’d probably make for a pretty interesting party. It’s really hard to express how animated and alive these people were – ill try if I can get any video off my phone ever.
We got homes (haha cause we have 2 for now!) at about 5:30pm, having not eaten anything all day, drinking one Gatorade and half a soda we were fairly exhausted. Joey made backing the trailer in look easy and they were parked and out of here in under 10 minutes. Too late to work, hungry and tired, we started to unpack the RV and didn’t eat till 9 (haha we’re dumb), we ordered a pizza, hooked up the TV and … I sat here for hours writing this blog while listening to cartoons.