Urbanex Jaunt, More Tales From the Bus and the Peppy Grill Incident pt. 1


Plans had been set to do another urban exploration shoot (Urbanex) with my award winning photographer brother and a crew of three others. His sight was set on an dilapidated Holiday Inn that was abandoned back in the late nineties. The sprawl of old buildings is a fascinating piece of art and architecture to see and photograph that our country continues to create for us to explore. This locale was up in Purdue country, Lafayette, Indiana, and our schedule was to get there Saturday AM.
My weekend began at approximately 6PM Friday evening as I closed the doors on the shop where I put in my 9 to 5 hours. A customer was making a pickup and was running a bit late and called me to ask if I would remain open for him, which I obliged. When the gentleman arrived I discovered that he was a trainer for IndyGo, Indianapolis’s bus service (whom I have an ongoing loathe over service inadequacies with). He was falling behind today because while he was onboard training a new potential driver, the person wrecked the bus which caused a small shitstorm of paperwork and what-not for the trainer. I felt for the man and soon he was on his way home and I was on my way to enjoy my Friday evening by seeing what was out there.
I waited at my usual stop and before my bus arrived I witnessed a 50-ish year old black lady get knocked in a ditch by a hit-and-run vehicle that took off. I was too focused on the woman to try and catch a license plate number; I wanted to make sure she was alright and was going to get up because she did take a pretty nasty bump into a muddy ditch area. She did get up, with some effort, and began hobbling toward me, toward the bus stop, to get on the same bus as me. Her leg did not look right. It was twisted inward and I supposed by the way she limped and winced that the leg was no doubt broken. She made her way across the busy street and stood at the bus stop with her husband or brother or whoever the guy was, while we all waited for the bus. I noticed the huge circle of mud on the back of her coat where she had met the ground and felt bad knowing that by the looks of things, she was probably one of the great number of folks in this town who could not afford adequate health care so that meant the leg may very well go untreated. I have seen a number of people limping around town with improperly set limbs that have just been left to grin and bear it so when people want to go off on some tirade about how our taxes shouldn’t have to pay to help people like this, I get a sick taste in my mouth.
The bus showed up and the lady managed as best she could to hop up on the bus platform to get inside. As soon as she made her way on the driver took notice to her muddy coat and told the woman she would not be allowed to sit down on the bus with her coat like that because it would get mud on the seats. The driver gave her the option to take the coat off and sit down but it was apparent that the woman was struggling enough as it was and couldn’t possibly get that coat off, so, she stood and held onto the crossbar while we made our way down the street. She eventually got off and hobbled her way down the street with her partner which set the beginning emotion in my mind for Friday.
I crossed through town to do some things then backtracked to an eastside bar where some local boys were performing but didn’t stay there long as I didn’t want to get trapped on that side of town. I had other ambitions that evening, one including trying out a Mexican restaurant close to where I live and close to my favored haunt, Dormans Pub. Dormans always provides me with legendary evenings but first I needed some nutrition and a good batch of enchiladas verde was on my crave.
I wandered down to another bus stop and waited for the next one to come by. A bus was parked there but the sign read GARAGE, which meant I wasn’t getting any service out of that one. The driver was a fine looking black woman who looked more like an entertainer than a bus driver, with her highly detailed eye makeup and long golden earrings adorned with blue faux stones. We talked for a while as she quickly ate her lunch and smoked a cigarette, venting the frustrations of being a bus driver to me. I was more than receptive to allowing her to get her troubles out and validated her anger at the way some passengers treated her. Bus drivers do have to put up with an assload of mechanical problems and disgruntled people who take it out on them. Like any other business out there, you will find some rotten apples in the bunch that will make the rest look bad-like the guy who had the wreck today I suppose-but like the song said, one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch girl.
She took off and 45 minutes later another bus came to escort me over to my side of town. By then a good sized crowd had developed. It’s amazing the amount of information you can find out from people on the bus if you just speak up. Everyone seems to have the lowdown on bus times and schedules, where the best eating places are, etc. and I found out in spite of how late it was getting, the Mexican restaurant I wanted to try out would still be open for service once I arrived. I got off the bus and walked down a block to the place, a fantastic looking Mexican joint with brilliantly colored tables and chairs, brilliant depictions of birds and haciendas splattered in vibrant primary colors. I could imagine how wonderful it would look in there on acid. I ate my enchiladas and was ready for the bill; the waitress informed me that my bill had already been paid. This floored me and I asked who paid it.
“Two young ladies over at table nine paid your bill.”
I was definitely intrigued, flabbergasted and caught off guard and walked over to see if by chance the ladies at table nine were someone I knew. They were not. They were two beautiful looking Latinas in their mid twenties I would suspect, and then I really was unsure what to do. I had never been in this situation and felt very awkward as I thanked them and mumbled something about making sure I would pay it forward, then quickly left the joint-I left so quick and off balance that I forgot my favorite scarf at the table. My mind kept reeling on having my meal paid for by young beautiful women as I made my way back to my place to quickly freshen up and get ready for an evening at Dormans. I told myself I should make an early evening of it as I was scheduled to leave for the Urbanex shoot tomorrow at nine…..yeah…an early evening indeed…


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