Some years all the days look alike in the morning. Violet to pale bluegrey then pink as the curve of a rising sun clears the horizon. Then it fades, bright blue to pale blue to near white. They only look the same though, it could be freezing or hot, dry or humid, windy or calm and you can combine any of these almost to describe any day you encounter.
When a man has nothing but himself and the clothes on his back he gets a little strange. He talks to himself, oh, not out loud or as two different people, just so he knows he's not gone 'round the bend. Sometimes he does it to try and get past the lonliness of being on the road. Without a place to hang your hat, you make up a world to live in. A world that is populated by you and no others. Well, that's not quite true, maybe it is more like you and everybody else.
You get to where you hate everybody else on first sight. You tell yourself it isn't envy but it is. You envy them because you have nothing and even the little that most others have makes you feel like you are nothing. You want the things they have even as you tell yourself how much you hate them for it. You look at the black dirt under your fingernails and feel shame. You catch a whiff of yourself on the breeze and think about how nice it would be just to take a goddam shower when you want to. You walk past a lost hubcap or bottle and you are forced to see what those others do, a dirty ragged subhuman.
You stand there, trying to decide which way to go, knowing that you will never be able to go back. Always you try to move forward because you know nothing is waiting behind you, nothing but shame and fear and hunger and emptiness.
Speaking of empty, The gnawing of hunger assumes its place in your daily life. What's for breakfast becomes the question with the most immediate need. A man can usually find a drink somewhere but food? That's a different proposition. When you first hit the road you are picky because you still remember how it used to be. Food came from the kitchen and it was warm and clean. After a fgew months of wishing there was just a little more you don't worry as much about bacteria or dirt or even who might have bitten it first.
You stand there in the weeds that line the fence that keeps you away from the highway, near the culvert you hid in last night and you try to make yourself presentable enough to get a ride into the next town. If it's big enough there will be a mission, at least a Salvation Army and that means that for listenning to some preacher gas on about how the life you are trapped in is your fault because you don't love Jesus you at least end up with a hot meal. If it is small there won't be much chance of that and the Salvation Army and the missions are drying up as fast as the water in the desert. No, a small town will at least have a grocery store, grocery stores throw out perfectly good food all the time. A fella can eat out of a dumpster if he gets hungry enough hell, after a while you get to thinking that dumpsters are five star restaurants.
So, you wet your hands with dew from the grass and rub your face and hands, a little more and you run them through your hair to try and slick it down some. Then you stand at the edge of the road looking for traffic. When you see nothing you just jam your hands in to your empty pockets and start walking. No point in standing there and waiting, the world's got to dangerous for most people to give you a lift anyway so you walk. It may be slow but they don't throw you in jail for it, yet.
You think to oyourself that it is already hot, you start looking for a drink and when you spend your life waliking down the side of the road you learn to look down because people throw out wonderful stuff sometimes. Full cans of beer, a half bottle of wine, soda pop, and on the rare occasion, there will be genuine cash money lying there in the dirt just waiting for you to pick it up. Cash money is the best because of the dollar menus.
The road winds on out of sight and you start to wonder if this is the one that goes no where. You adjusat the the rope that binds your whole world together as you walk with it hanging from your back and you hear a car. You glance over your shoulder to see if it's a cop and you hope it's a pickup because those will pick your smelly ass up since you can sit in the back. Nope, new car, no one with one of those will ever give you a lift.
Back to walking and you see a gas station sign ahead, well maybe there won't be any food but they will have a crapper and some clean water. Hell, you might even get a ride somewhere. Of course they may have a cop in the lot so you will have to just roll on without stopping but you feel your mouth drying up as you get closer. You get to where you'd sell your damned soul for a cold drink or a cup of coffee.
Hot damn. it is a truck stop, that means a dumpster full of half eaten food and a shot at a long ride down the road. Gotta kind of ease up on it though or they might run you off before you get your breakfast. Walk past it without even looking then double back and hope you get to the back without being noticed. Fucking A man, there it sits, a feast in a can and you made it.
Digging through it you manage to find biscuits, biscuits are good because they will sit in your bindle forever and they are good food. There's bacon and ham too cured stuff can be carried with you since it won't spoil. To go cups that are half full of still warm coffee too. It's like christmas.