(Continuation of the post-Money Pit…)
My father warned me that we were going to a very filthy, run down city and I had to be careful. At this point in time, my parents had not bought the white cab truck yet and they were renting one. It was a cab over and the ride was bumpy, but warm. The heat from the engine made a nice bench seat for me to lay on. I had a sleeping bag and I was comfortable. I remember leaving Chicago and eventually riding into a city that looked more like an old black and white film. The area was void of color. There were clouds and dirt everywhere I looked and our exit led immediately to people holding signs on the median and along the sides of the road that read, “Will work for food,” and “Flowers for $1.” I looked long enough to take in what I was being greeted with but not long enough to give the impression I was giving anyone an invitation to approach me.
When my father found his destination, I was instructed to stay in the truck at all times. I noticed the yard had fences and lots of security devices including electrical and barbed wire. There were chain linked fences surrounding most properties. We were in Gary, IN. While my dad talked with the workers and delivered the products, I remained in the truck. Whether my dad had told me to stay in the truck or not; my instincts did. I had no desire to take any chances. The minute we arrived I was already eager to leave and go home.
When we were back out on the highway, relieved to have accomplished our mission and be heading out of a city neither of us was very fond of, we encountered another disturbance. Both of us were already a bit on edge and out of sorts. Unfortunately, our experience got weirder before we were able to relax again.
While driving back on the highway, another truck driver waved at me when I looked over at him. I gave a confused smile and hesitant wave back, a little confused about why he was gesturing at me. My dad noticed this happen and his instinct was to speed up to lose the guy, uncomfortable with a grown man trying to get his teenage daughter’s attention. Especially because he was in no position, driving on a busy highway in a rented vehicle, to do or say anything to him.
Not soon after we thought we had lost him, the man was driving beside us again, and this time made the situation even more uncomfortable. He had a puppet with him, and decided to try and put on a puppet show for me, while driving a truck. My first instinct was to panic and look away. I was about 13 at the time, so this just felt creepy and inappropriate. This disgusted and bothered my dad a lot and he would have loved to give this guy a piece of his mind, but again, this was not an option. This motivated him even more than the last time to ditch this guy once and for all, and he did.
This was one of the only times I saw my dad avoid a confrontation. He made no effort to roll the window down and say anything or even make any type of gesture at the driver. As he was rushing to lose the guy, he talked about how there were some really crazy people who drove trucks and he didn’t want to mess with anyone; feeling it was best to just avoid if possible. “You never know who you might be dealing with,” he said.