Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ridin' the Rez

I saw that the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation out in South Dakota recently voted to allow the sale of liquor.   It’s the least bad of two bad options, I suppose.  For decades tribal elders have sought to keep the curse in abeyance, but. . . .

A few years back, I was crossing this same reservation.  Although I have been on many Indian reservations it’s always a shock when I enter the Third World.  Most folks, I’m sure, are not prepared for what they encounter when they stray onto virtually any “rez” in the West.

Straddling the Pine Ridge Reservation to the south in Nebraska is a squalid collection of shacks and huts. Since the tribal leadership would previously not allow the sale of liquor on the reservation, wily entrepreneurs set up shop just yards away to supply the demand. The scene looks like something right out of Africa or Bangladesh, with a hopeless cast of derelicts, drunks and beggars slowly milling about.

Although there was not much traffic on the small road I passed over, few of these long-haired people bothered to even glance up as I passed. Some were gathered around a large barrel with a fire in it, trying to keep warm on this bone-chilling day. Everyone, women included, seemed clad in dirty, greasy denim that had the look as though it had been slept in a hundred times or more. The clouds above were cold and gray, the land below was cold and gray, and the beings caught somewhere in between seemed cold and gray.

As I passed, a scrubbed and polished white man was just getting out of his SUV and with rather wide eyes he was walking up to a group of these gray red men and red women. Perhaps he was from Europe-–for there was that certain something about him--and had never seen Indians before and was excited about this, his first encounter. Perhaps he was coming to these people to learn of their religion and their soaring spirituality and deep mysticism and discover from them the true meaning of life. If that was the script, then I can safely guarantee that even if the white man did not find the spirit he sought this day, after his first $5 donation, his hosts did.

This sordid jumble of shacks, officially known as White Clay, has another name. In fact, it has several of them. At dawn, before the doors open, it's called "Jittersville." In the afternoon, it's known as "Party Town." After the sun goes down, it's name is "Oblivion City." With four of its five business establishments pumping poison, this greasy spot in the road, population 22, is responsible for several million dollars in sales per anum.

Deep into the reservation matters improved somewhat, but not much. Several times I saw five or six modular homes clumped together, as if wagons circled for protection. "Neighborhood Watch," the signs read. In Sitting Bull's day, a hundred and fifty years ago, the mark of wealth was how many ponies a man owned. Today, the symbol of poverty seems the number of junked cars in one's yard. I did see a young man riding his horse at a trot near the road. By his smile and the look of pure joy spread across his face, he seemed this day to be very rich indeed.


After my last post on “Lusty Lesters,” little did I imagine that the thick rubber gloves I spoke of when going hands-on with these steaming dog piles, aka beach perverts, might be needed so soon by myself.

Yesterday, I had stopped to take a blow and flatten out on a bench at Indian Mound on my half-way home sweat stop.  It was the rarest of all days on Lemon Bay as there was absolutely no other humanoids in the park save some old character who was snooping through a garbage can.  All else were sea gulls and shore birds.

Just as I shed my shirt and bandanna and prepared to flop on the bench, I looked over across the park to see the same trash snoop now seated on a picnic table under a shelter.  He was looking my way.  I’m not paranoid but of the 360 degrees on a compass that a person can face, when it is the one degree you occupy of that compass that they stare at, you begin to wonder. 

Sure as hell, I had not been lying there five minutes when I was startled by a “hi.”  Of course, I looked up to see this stereotypical perv face—gray skin, gray stubble, thinning gray hair, poochy, saggy face--smiling down from his bike.  Reflexively, I managed a “hello.”  When the chap quickly commented, “Nice and warm in the sun,” and acted like he wanted to stay my reply was an even quicker “Yep,” spit in a tone of voice that actually said, “Back it up bucko and fast or the next fuckin’ sound you hear will be screaming gurgles as I hold your head under water and drown your filthy ass in the bay.”

Fortunately for both of us—no way did I want to touch this vermin—the park perv moved off.  Now, this was no simple misunderstanding on my part.  To pass by the three or four benches that line the bay, one has to deliberately approach them.  This had never happened before, nor had I ever before seen this creep. 

But anyway, I think most folks—myself included—are amazed at how bold and aggressive these dirty wretches are.  I’m sure that only my no-nonsense reply and the possibility of a beat-down was all that made the pervert move on. 

First stupid teenagers and their ridiculous sexy “Bandana-Manna”; now lurking, leering degenerates . . . . Is there no where I can run?  (sigh)  It’s tuff being an object of carnal desire.