Tuesday 7th October. Rockport, Maine, USA
Tim gave me a lift to the Interstate on-ramp, where it took quite some time before I got a ride. This was going to be another day like yesterday, with lots of short rides, I could just tell. But it was a perfect fall day, so I wasn't getting impatient. The sky was solid blue and the air was brisk. The New England fall leaves were starting to put on their show the further north I travelled. I guess the worst thing about getting five or six short rides instead of one long one is that I have to go through the same speal that many times. I find myself repeating the same phrases and sentences over and over. Finally, a guy picked me up who could take me all the way to the tiny town of Rockport where a reader named Marcie had invited me.
Kabir was his name and he was on his delivery route. It was his job to supply gas stations and stores with fresh gourmet sandwiches, and I got to try one- Italian ham with peppers, onion and black olives. Mmm mmm! Kabir is half Iraqi, but when people ask him about his roots, he simply tells them his name is Arabic. I asked if he'd suffered any racism since the whole Afhhanastan/Iraq debacle.
"I was in jail at the time of September eleven" he said, "and a few of the guards started calling me 'Binny'. It kind of stuck and then some of the prisoners picked up on it as well. So I phoned the (legal aid) and wrote a letter to the warden threatening to bring a suit against the jail if it was allowed to continue."
It seems the warden paid Kabir a visit the next day and no-one ever used the named 'Binny' again. Kabir was in an interesting point in his life, and as is often the case, he felt he could open up to me since he knows he will probably never see me again. He said he's having a tough time having any faith in mankind. He's suspicious of people even though he wants to be trusting. He has a job that he quite enjoys, a great girlfriend who stuck by him during his three years inside, and he's doing his paroll time quietly. Trouble is, the only friends he has are his old drug addict buddies, and the more he told me about them, the more I advised him he should leave them behind. His girlfriend is wanting to take him where he wants to go in life, and these people are like anchors. I told him to have a look at my website, at the incredible kindness that exists out there, and it might help him to be a bit more positive. Kabir and I shook hands firmly, each having gained quite a lot from the conversation.
Kabir had lent me his cellphone to call my host in Rockport. Marcie wasn't home yet, but her roommate Joshua answered. He said to phone again when I was actually in Rockport, and he'd come meet me. Just fifteen minutes later, when I did call, Marcie was home already and she came to get me herself. Marcie and her new husband Jeremy live in a farmhouse on a two hundred acre heritage listed farm on the coast just out of Rockport. The deal is that they volunteer eight hours of their time each week, in exchange for free accommodation. Sweet deal if you ask me, as long as you don't have to work with chickens *shudder*
Marcie took me for a walking tour of the farm, past the Balted Galloway cattle, through the maple grove where they tap their own syrup, and down to the sea. This farm is prime seaside real estate and has been appraised at somewhere around a million dollars an acre. That's why the last owner handed it over to a government trust, to stop it from ever being carved up for condominiums. Marcie and Jeremy actually had their wedding here on the farm just a few months ago. The thing that impressed me most was the unique black and white cows, and the fact that you can apparently see these cows in the Mel Gibson movie 'Man Without A Face', parts of which were filmed on this property. Go hire the video and let me know.
Jeremy was quite late home, having spent the day tearing the roof off an old barn. Marcie's day is an early start, early finish; teaching 'special needs' children who are recovering from drug addiction. After a little snack, they took me for a drive around the area and to Cambden, a cute little tourist town a few miles away. Cambden reminded me of a little touristy place I'd visited in Scotland; can't remember if it was Pitlochry or Aviemore. Damn. Losing my memory already, and I'm only.....
We picked up some supplies at the supermarket, and headed home to prepare dinner. It was getting late and the temperature was really dropping. Jeremy thought I'd like to try some 'Pumpkinhead' beer. It has special 'pumpkin spices' added to it. That sounded scary in itself, but they'd been drinking it lately since Halloween is on the way, so I gave it a try. In fact I gave it a few tries.
The newlyweds cooked up a great spaghetti dish, and we swapped travel stories in the lounge while munching on 'Halloween Oreos'. I could see they were both tired *or just bored numb with my stories* so I called it a night and they were both happy to hit the sack. We all had an early start in the morning; I was catching a lift with Marcie at seven. I have to reach the Canadian border tomorrow. Still I sat up late tapping away on my laptop, and crept back to the loungeroom to work on their computer in the loungeroom.