Days 124-126 (Raleigh)

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I spent the past two days with Stephanie and Matt, my Couchsurfing hosts in Raleigh. I originally planned to just ride through the city. I’m glad I stayed. The night I arrived, Matt took me downtown and shared his experiences as a gay man growing up on a farm in rural North Carolina. It sounds like it would be hellacious, but apparently half the high school football team was closeted, so Matt never had to worry about being scrutinized. Ah, the astonishing caste system of the average American high school. I don’t know what was more enjoyable: participating in it, or studying it.

Stephanie was not going to get home from work until 3am, but expressed an interest in hanging out once she arrived home. My eyelids were too heavy to wait any longer. Luckily I was awoken at 3 by her. We stayed up all night listening to Ween and watching Holy Mountain. If you want to have a psychedelic experience, yet don’t have to money or desire to consume hallucinogens, simply put yourself in a sleep deprived state and watch Holy Mountain. I didn’t know much about the film. I knew that I needed to watch it. Even at an early age I was captivated by the concepts of the film. Colorful, supersaturated in religious tones, and hyper sexualized. That was what I gathered from the film while repeatedly dipping in and out of consciousness. It became difficult to distinguish the different between my dreams and the film. I think for about an hour, I finally understood what David Lynch’s state of mind is on a daily basis.

At about 8am I was awoken with the offer to eat carb legs and play badminton.  I want to be woken up with that offer every morning. I had no choice but to oblige. So here I was, at 8 in the morning, playing badminton in Raleigh with Stephanie. I know I bitch and moan a lot on this blog, but in this scenario there was absolutely nothing to complain about. Everything was in its right place.

Stephanie works as a, well, how should I put this? An intimate dancer. So I didn’t really know what to expect when I met her. What I got was an amazingly interesting person with tons of fascinating stories. I don’t really frequent strip clubs. They always smell like plastic mixed with sadness and nobody ever wants to talk about Voltaire. One time my friend Rich and I went to one in Philadelphia. I was captivated. Not by the cornucopia of exposed brestacles, but by the seedy nature of the place. Neon everywhere. Rich could sense my disinterest. He decided to finance a lap dance for me. Some woman who smelled like artificial watermelon and  Marlboros grabbed my hand and dragged me into a sordid dungeon. I could do nothing but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. She was visibly thrown off by my reaction and stopped dancing. There was nothing sexual about it. I asked her if she wanted to talk about Pokémon. She told me for $20 she would. I can smell a bad deal when I see one. I walked out and talked about Pokémon with my drunk friends for free. So that was my only real idea of stripper culture until I met Stephanie. It was the polar opposite of that. We hung out, watched Ren & Stimpy, talked about Burning Man and made stuffed mushrooms. This was a classic example of how a person’s occupation in no way defines them as a person. Stephanie is a nurturing soul, with skills in the kitchen, and an incredible singing voice. She just happens to take her clothes off for money.

We’re all just playing a game. Some people ride bikes in the game, others take their clothes off. There are no rules to the game. Just the rules we make for ourselves. We’re all scrambling around to grab on to something to help perpetuate us towards something better. Whether that be a person, place, or state of mind, is up to you. Playing lawn games in a sleep deprived state with a girl I’ve known for 5 hours helped me to realize that I’m going nowhere. I’m fixated on a girl that broke up with me a year ago. My ass is peppered with saddle sores. My hair is falling out like it’s on fire. I’ve been homeless for 10 months. And I totally gave up on flossing. But I don’t really care. Because right now, none of that matters. What matters is getting this little shuttlecock over the net and sharing an honest, meaningful moment with a person. I really should start flossing again though.


Day 124

Miles: 75.56

Time: 6:39:02

Calories: 3436

Total Ascent: 2728 ft.

Day 126

Miles: 46.19

Time: 4:07:48

Calories: 2030

Total Ascent: 1601 ft.


3 responses to “Days 124-126 (Raleigh)

  1. Great entry. You meet the most interesting people. Sometimes it sounds like you fall in love everyday. Enjoy your last chapter of the adventure and re- entry to the world we live in and be thankful for all the factors that made it possible to drop out for for 10,000 miles.

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