The `Speare Bearer’s Ride: Route S, Pittsburgh, PA to Washington D.C. 09/13-09/17, Pt. 11
My time in Washington DC was super interesting. Rode in with a lady names Christine, and stayed with a gentleman named Chris, pictured in a shirt and tie, on his way to work at the Washington Post. Real good guy, he and I had a lot of great conversations, and he was incredibly generous and helpful to me in my 4 days there.
Rode around a bit.. didn’t perform much except for at the HBCU (Historically Black College or University) Howard University. It was an interesting place, really enjoy all my time at HBCU’s, visited 3 over my trip, and it’s inspiriting to see large populations of young cultured blacks excited about learning and life. Some of the students there gave me a hard time when performing there, but I really dig their spunk. Some of the faculty of the college were nice to me, some were none too cordial, and didn’t seem to pay me any mind when I showed up. That’s to be expected I guess, but I did begin to ride off the campus feeling a little disappointed and discouraged. One professor just straight up turned her back on me after I tried to introduce myself to her. In her defense my introduction was a little awkward, but man.. COLD shoulder. That said, just before I was going to pedal off campus in a hurry, tail between my legs, I hear a voice yell “Bike!” I had a suspicion, maybe a small hope that the person was calling to me. It ended up being the two young people pictured. The fella had seen me perform earlier and dragged his lady friend along, and told her she had to hear me, so I did a small soliloquy for her. They seemed to appreciate it, but even more than them, it was a nice gift that young fella gave to me, more than he knew.
DC however was a BEAUTIFUL city. Really liked it, even if the people can seem a little self important at times. But I guess there are important things going on in that city. My old riding buddy Wilson is from the DC area, and had his uncle Julien give me a little tour of the town which was wonderful, and on the tour something a little peculiar happened. So we rode past the hotel where Hinkley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, and the story goes that he did so in order to impress and show his devotion for Jodie Foster, whom he had fallen in love with because of her role in Taxi Driver. WELL, I’m all about signs, and as soon as I had the idea to ever do this tour, more than a year ago, I was trying to find a way out of it, a reason to not do it, because I was terrified. But I felt God kept nudging me along, showing me all these signs that I had to go. So, as the story goes, I met a friend, Seth, who’d done some bike touring, in Madison Square Park, last July, of advice as to whether this endeavor would even be possible, because I had no experience and didn’t know. he assured me that what I was proposing, though ambitious, was totally doable. So I decided that day to do the tour, and the 1st thing I did was call my mother, who had no idea I was even considering something like this, and tell her. She took it better than I expected, but did her share of deliberating with me, why I wanted to do this, and if it was really really really what I wanted to do, as a mother should. And I told her I kept getting signs that this was what I was meant to do, she said like what. I told her one of the things that happened is I told my younger sister, Dara about the idea, and Dara, never impressed by anything, said, “oh that’s cool.” Later in the conversation, she told me she had gotten a new tattoo. I asked of what, she said “It’s says ‘Jolie,’” which means beautiful in French. I gasped! Dara asked what for, and I told her that my director’s name is Jolie. Another sign. My Mom couldn’t help but chuckle at this and acknowledge it was a peculiar coincidence, but she still had her reservations and continued grilling me. She finally asked me, “Why, why is it that you feel you need to do this??”
“Well, a big part of the reason is because as a theater artist here in NY, it’s very hard for me to get people to work with me for one reason or another. Hopefully if I can complete a project like this, it will prove my commitment.”
“Oh, like that guy who tried to shoot the President Reagan to impress that girl.”
Now, this analogy that my mom made this day in July while I was on the phone with her from Madison Square Park is shocking for several reasons. One, because my Mom is not usually one for analogies, she just doesn’t talk that way. Two, my Mom is not at all known for her Pop-culture savvy, and that’s a kind of obscure reference for her to make, especially being a reference nearly three decades old. It came out of nowhere, and I’d never in a million years expect her to say something like that. No one esle in my family really cares nearly as much about entertainment, film, actros, or pop-culture as I do, especially my mom, who came to America with my father in her 20’s and has never seen many movies at all, has little interest in them. The biggest most bizarre thing about that statement, though is that my Mom had unwittingly at that moment added another tally to my ongoing count of otherworldly signs God was throwing at me. Because I happen to know one thing about Jodie Foster. I told my mother:
“Mom, that comparison you make is exactly right, but it’s really really weird that you should choose that one to make…”
“Because, I happen to know that Jodie Foster and I share the same birthday.”
She fought a little bit more.. but she was pretty much sold after that. So anyway, it was a little weird for Julien to drive me past that site as I’m nearing the end of my tour. I wasn’t prepared to see it, and it spooked me a little. But it was also a nice reminder of how far god had brought me,and how loopy this journey has been.
Speaking of presidents, the picture of Barack is from a place called Ben’s Chili Bowl, a place the president is known to patronize.
Well, That was DC.