Stoke Factor: 5
Miserableness Factor: 3
Snot Rockets Blown: 0
Avg Speed: 0mph
I had to be up early in order to catch a ride with Ellie and Emma into Omaha. I set my alarm for 6:07am, and was surprisingly up and out of bed quicker than I had any other day of the trip. I put on all of my layers. I really started to notice the prominent stench of body coming off of my body. I noticed the body odor becoming more and more of a factor in my clothing as I continued to spend each day on the road. Without hormones, my testosterone levels rose and my body began to acclimate itself to how it was years ago, living as a man. With an increased testosterone, the human body produced the foul body odor- it was simple science. I hadn’t thought about it in years. The notion that my testicles had grown in size and I had begun to get morning wood was a horrifying sample of what was to come. The absolute craziness going on in my mind that set me off in the first place to run away and get far from people held its substance- hormones are not something to fuck with. My first day on hormone replacement therapy years ago was my first day at work at a grocery store. That entire month my feelings and life spiraled out of control. People I explained the phenomenon to compared my experience to that of a woman in menopause. At the point in the midst of my adventure to truly find myself, the exact opposite had happened. I was on a ‘roid rage. Anger pulsed through me. My body hair grew back in places I hadn’t seen it in a long time. My face became angular, losing its full and flush charm. I felt like an androgynous robot- my feelings disappeared and I had no connection to myself anymore. Before when I felt so validated being myself I never questioned who I was. Without having regulated hormone levels, I was truly a monster to myself. Who I was or the things I said to people became like a void of forgotten thoughts; once said they left my brain entirely. I became forgetful. I couldn’t remember names. It was 3 months ago I sold my motorcycle yet still paid for insurance on it, even though I would tuck myself in every night telling myself to just call the next day.
Beyond that, raging hard ons came and went. My soft and silky panties I brought for comfort no longer felt like mine. I could see a cloud in the sky and somehow think of a way I would want to just shove my damn dick in it. The sweet release of sexual tendencies filled my mind and sitting down to pee I would shove my boner into the hole and furiously fight myself not to masturbate. The uncontrollable urge not to masturbate only angered me more. I had to get away from people. The last thing in the world I wanted was to be talking about something like gun control and have to readjust myself mid conversation. My mind and body were completely uncomfortable. There aren’t enough words to surmise how utterly I fucking hate myself.
The fact that I had to rewear these clothes where I consistently smelled myself, on myself, pissed me off. Though I was awake and cheerful and ready for another day of rest to wait for my shoes, I dreamed of a silent void. I dreamed of being back in the park, eyes closed, hearing birds in the distance and the workings of society doing their magic. First, I had to eat.
Looking for a place to eat in the same area I was, I found two options. The first place was called The Diner, and I could have expected to eat a meal exactly like I had at every other diner across the country that had a more clever name. The other was called Wheatley’s. I saw on the menu from the window they had a chicken bacon and avocado sandwich- it made my mouth water. I couldn’t put a finger on it, but it was all I wanted. I walked inside to find a restaurant with a full bakery and even larger kitchen, accompanied by a moderately and smaller sized dining area.
The waiter informed me that the sandwich I wanted was for lunch time only. It was 7am. I was disappointed, but looked over the breakfast menu. I was thinking about The Diner- I could have had exactly what I expected for a regular price, but was now forced to look through menu items with words I had never seen before. After two cups of coffee and the waiter returning to ask me if I decided on a meal yet three times, I had him pick for me. He picked the “stratta.” I had no idea what it was, but it was 15 fucking dollars and I didn’t have the menu anymore to find out what it was.
I grazed over my phone for a bit and I was brought a cranberry orange muffin. I had one before in Idaho Falls and it was quite delicious- this one put it to shame. It was the most phenomenal muffin I ever ate in my life. My biggest regret was not ordering a box of muffins for breakfast. Once gone, the stratta came to my attention. Essentially it was a breakfast lasagna- full of peppers, onions, layers of eggs and cheese, and bits of a mystery meat mixed in.
Though I enjoyed it, it didn’t feel like breakfast food to me. I only ate ¾ of it before I got bored and took to eating the side of carmelized apples I was given. I wasn’t sure if the apples were supposed to be a sauce I mixed on the stratta or if it was truly a side for the dish. It reminded me of when Bryan told me he hosted an Asian cyclist who went to a buffet and ate two bowls of gravy, thinking it was a soup. I was a foreigner to fancy foods.
The waiter was unimpressed with my story of skateboarding across the country. I told him to imply the fact that I was fuckong insane in the head and had no brain space to think about what I wanted for breakfast, but he must have thought I was being braggart. If anything, my complete exhaustion should have vouched for my story- I didn’t have my bag or skateboard. The waiter did suggest that I could spend as much time as I needed to sit at the table because of it, but I bet he did that for all the pretty girls.
After breakfast, I hiked up the steep Omaha streets to visit the post office. I had written post cards back at Bryan’s house, but was unable to send them because I accidentally and also seemingly purposely wrote all over the cards, disabling me from being able to just slap on a stamp and put it in the outgoing mail. I had to find envelopes. The woman at the counter was wildly unenthused with her job, and was talking about her job was going to be replaced by robots on the phone, apparently to another post office worker. She informed me that it would cost $1 to send each letter in an envelope, and $3 for each one that had a gift inside it. I didn’t protest it, although surely I was ripped off for sending 8 letters at a total of $17.
Next on my to-do list was to go to the library and get some writing done. Writing on a keyboard at a desk was significantly easier than my typical method of freezing in a tent and using my cell phone. Originally I started out on the journey with a tablet and keyboard, but it proved to be extra weight. Instead of smashing it like I wanted to, I gave the whole package for free to Talya in Brothers, Oregon, half a continent ago. The library charged me $2 to use their computers, which came with a time limit. It was very different from the library in North Platte- I had just walked in and used a computer with no payment necessary before. Luckily I had exactly $2 on my person, so it didn’t bother me too much.
Sitting at the computer, a woman across from me endlessly bothered me. She seemed, in appearance, to be a well kept person both mentally and physically, but her actions said otherwise. She chewed gum, and incessantly snapped and popped it in her mouth, loud enough for the entire world to hear. It came at different time intervals- I prayed for her gum to lose flavor, but away she went, snapping it in her mouth. It almost felt like she was doing it purposely. I glared over at her multiple times to attempt a half-assed passive aggressive notion for her to cut the shit but she persisted. Then she jumped on her phone- she was very clearly talking to a customer service line, and kept repeating, “well then they should just get out of our country” arbitrarily. The poor human on the other end could be heard repeating herself over and over again trying to explain a menial task to her. Regardless of what it was, her complete ignorance to respecting a library for what it was bothered me at my core. I so desperately wanted to stand up and smack her in the face. I daydreamed about it, zoning in and out of focus from the task at hand to write my blog post.
Hours went by, where I periodically had to swap computers because someone on the first floor continued to schedule other users to use my specific computer. I had decided that my best bet to combat the surrounding noise was to steal a set of headphones from the audio book section of the library, which worked nicely. I played music and wrote away- until out of the corner of my eye appeared two large police officers. They weren’t large in the traditional, authoritative sense. They literally were a couple of fat guys, presumably placed on the lowly duty of swearing themselves to uphold the obviously strict code of ethics enacted by the Omaha Public Library.
“Do you know how to read?” the cop, whom I will affectionately gift the moniker of Pig Number 1, asked me while looming over the computer tower.
“Excuse me?” I removed my headphones. Pig Number 1 placed in front of me a sign that read “no food or drink allowed at computers.” I had neither food nor drink, but an empty water bottle.
“You’re now banned from the library.” Pig Number 1 said, with his chest expanded, revealing two petite nipples through his second rate uniform. I sat there wondering what the fuck he was talking about, as I looked at my water bottle.
“That is an empty water bottle. Are empty bottles included in that?” I sent his attitude right back to him. I was using the bottle to spit into, as I was doing my chewing tobacco and was positive they’d prefer I didn’t spit on their carpet.
“Hey, is tobacco allowed at the computers?” he yelled over to a woman behind a desk, obviously the woman who complained about my having a water bottle- her head was tucked behind a stack of books as she peered over.
“Uh, you can’t smoke in the library.”
The cop told me he “had to take my picture” and motioned for me to stand against the wall so he could get the shot and place it on some sort of wall of shame as to not let me in the library again. I told him he “would be damned” before I let him do that, and he didn’t like that one bit. He asked if I was from the area, and Pig Number 2, a balding, much more grotesque and out-of-practice officer placed his hand on me. I did not react well.
“Unless I’m being detained or committing a crime, you have no fucking right to lay a hand on me,” I said, brushing his grubby mitt off my shoulder. I started logging out of my accounts and packing my things.
Pig Number 1 attempted to make small talk- he asked about my skateboard, and why I was wearing a million layers of clothes. I callously ignored him, and when met with radio silence he rolled his shoulders back as if to start goading me into doing something I’d regret. He walked with me toward the elevator, going on about how his kids “do crazy things on skateboards too.”
“I have absolutely zero interest in talking to you,” I said with an attitude. He froze when my voice got very serious. He let out a “huh” and watched as I walked away, giving him not one, but two middle fingers on my way out.
Cops bother me to no end. They are merely just people, who jumped through a hoop and did a dance in front of a few people to receive a badge. They’ve done nothing to earn my respect, and at no point in my life have I ever called one to get help. Any person that wears the same uniform as another who, with irrefutable proof, literally murdered a human being without a matching weapon or a probable cause is no better than them.
In a situation where, say, someone reported that a group of men wearing certain gang colors had stolen something, the cops would begin an investigation into the matter. Then, they would harass anyone who may fit the description- be it black in skin color, gang affiliation, or just someone they know who had information. By attribution, they would judge anyone who matched, and would equate them on the same level as those who were reported for the initial crime. Should we not hold police to the same standard? If you wear the same uniform as a murderer proudly, you are no better than the murderer. You don’t see people running around in SS uniforms gaining respect in their neighborhoods, so why do people hold police officers in such high regard? How entirely asinine is it, on a larger scale, that humans attempt to keep other humans in line? At which point does someone decide that because of a badge they are better than anyone else?
Nobody has authority over me. I answer to nobody. I may work for a boss temporarily, or I may suck up to someone I need something from, but the minute someone places themself over me, that respect is gone. That cop wanted to give himself a reason to feel like he did his job that day. He had no intention to discuss. Had he approached in a friendlier manner, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did. Respect is a two way street. I respect people, not badges.
I strutted my way back to Scooter’s so I could continue talking to Shannon like I did the day before. It was only a few blocks away. Shannon wasn’t too busy. I told her I wanted the same drink as yesterday, but followed up by actually telling her what it was because it would have been ridiculous to assume she knew what I ordered. Her and I had a good conversation about my journey and her hopes and dreams. She didn’t have many. She never traveled far outside of Omaha and said she liked where she was at. My fondness of her turned to worry- the idea that someone was pleased to manage a tiny coffee shop she had no ownership of, with no alternate plans for life, sounded wildly boring.
Eventually Dan came and picked me up. We were headed to Lincoln. My shoes, at that point in my journey, completely wore down to the point where my big toe poked out from the bottom. Every push ached the ball of my foot and I was torn between keeping the shoes on for warmth or going barefoot for comfort. My friend Carlos, from the Georgia area whom I had met at a race down there reached out and offered to buy me a new pair of shoes- after much research I found a pair that was budget friendly and exactly what I needed. The only issue was that I didn’t have anywhere to send them to, and I hadn’t coordinated with Dan at the time or ordering them, so we had to send them to Jamie in Lincoln. The ability to have a person I raced with once buy me shoes, send them to a cyclist a never met, and be driven there by a person I was staying with after meeting online was quite a phenomenal prospect. Communication truly was at its ultimate form.
Dan and I decided early that we wanted to eat Pho. I loved Pho, so much that I used to drag the last girl I dated out to get it every time my funds allowed. My second favorite food was sushi. There was a part of town in Lincoln they dubbed “Little Vietnam” which amused me. I couldn’t grasp what could possibly make the Vietnamese want to relocate there, but I assumed it was onset from war era misgivings. Besides, Florida had Little Havana, most major cities had a China Town, and So Cal had merged with Mexico. All that was left was the middle of Nebraska.
The waitress introduced herself as “Mai” and proceeded to spell it for us. Since I had no intention of writing her name down, I wondered what the point of telling us that was, but in retrospect I quite literally just wrote it out (and correctly) so I guessed she just had amazing foresight. We had an appetizer sampler and I ordered the spicy Pho with all of the meats (except tripe- fuck tripe). It was delicious. Truly it showed that the Vietnamese had found their haven and made the most of it. The residents of Lincoln were lucky to have such an oasis for amazing dishes.
We departed from the Pho restaurant and visited Jamie at her home. Jamie was one of those people who was exactly the same person as she was on the internet- wacky and hilarious, it was unfortunate we only got to meet for such a short amount of time. I received my shoes and they were glorious. I couldn’t wait to get them on my feet.
Since the sun started setting earlier and earlier, it was pitch dark by the time we were headed home. I was exhausted. Every day I rested took more out of me than a day of skating. The days where I consecutively skated amazing mileage put me in a very different mindset. In truth, I was dreading getting back on the road. The next day I was slated to break for Iowa, meaning that the glorious flatland of Nebraska and the plethora of good friends I made would just become a memory.
On the ride back Dan told me all about his family history- his father and son disagreements over who he dated, and his sexuality. His father and him only got along some of the time, his “she-beast” of a step mother destroyed not only his self confidence but his ability to grow up as he saw in his own image. We talked about how he reached a cross roads in his life where, during his senior year of high school, he moved in with his mother and left his father and step mother behind in order to achieve his mental stability. I told him I wasn’t positive if I ever had a cross road in my life- I lived my entire life knowing that at some point I was going to run away and live as the woman I was. I drank like a fish, put zero stock in my relationships, and lived with no consequences. There was never a crossroad for me to say, “If I don’t come out I will die.” There was only the most certain fact that at some point I was going to come out and whoever got hurt in the process didn’t matter.
Dan and Ellie helped me to do laundry and shower (they didn’t help me shower I just worded that strangely), and I settled down, embracing a warm bed once more before I had to be up early to hit the state line. We put on a documentary about Gallipoli, a battle I was unfamiliar with, but showed great interest in. Military history always was such a fascinating topic and though Dan had science as his forte, we were able to hold conversation and discuss the vast topics embedded within. Once the laundry finished, my day was over- one last shut eye before my next skate.