“Hey man, you’re going to Nashville,” he asked as he helped to unload a few cases of water and Gatorade from my truck while under a bridge in Murfreesboro. “Can I hitch a ride,” while looking over at my homeless friend Kevin? “I looked to Kevin for his approving nod, “I guess,” I said, “But, we have several stops to make in Murfreesboro and Nashville to hand out water.”
After I was finished unloading at stop number one he hopped in the passenger side and with a handshake he said, “I’m David.” We then stopped to see Red, Beverly and Hal to drop off more water, Gatorade and chips. Then, we were Nashville bound. As we neared Interstate 24 he told me that he has been in Murfreesboro for about one week.
“I think meth is safer than heroin,” he told me while showing me scars from shooting up. “I don’t do either one anymore though,” he said while gazing at the road in front of us. Every once in a while he would belt out a song or a rap and then laugh. “I’ve been to 14 states so far, I wanna’ hit at least 48,” he told me. “
Are you 420 friendly,” he asked. I jokingly told him, “As long as it’s not in my truck.” We then talked about alcohol and we both agreed that alcohol contributes to more pain, heartache and death than marijuana ever has, in our opinion. I asked, “Have you ever smoked synthetic marijuana?” He told me, “I have.” He then recited some of the ingredients that are used to make it even acknowledging the chemical compounds that bind the chemical together. I then told him how dangerous the fake weed is on most people. He smiled, “I think Dennis Leary was right in stating that different drugs react differently on the user, I’ve never had adverse reactions.” Although, I think he was talking about Timothy Leary who was known for advocating psychedelic drugs
I asked him why he was homeless and he dived into his years spent at over 30-foster care homes and programs. “They say I have PTSD and a long list of other issues, but I don’t buy into it.” He later said the PTSD was from the suicide of his step father. He did not fully elaborate on the other problems that may exist, but did talk about finding peace and a future soulmate. “I’ve met three soulmates, one died,” he said. I asked what happened and he told me that it was a heroin overdose and he was with her when it occurred.
When we got to Nashville he was excited to help hand out water and a variety of other drinks and chips. He loved it and called the homeless men and women he met “friend.” He told me that doing this made him feel good as he has done so much “bad” in his life. “I have made tons of bad decisions,” he told me. I reassured him it was okay, we all make bad decisions all the time and we will continue to do so. I don’t know if he felt reassured by that or not?
David spoke intelligently about living on the street and how he was not concerned that he was in Nashville without a place to stay or even a change of clothes. “These jeans have been in so many creeks and rivers I lost count,” he said with a laugh. He asked if there were other "Dirty Kids" in Nashville. David said that "Dirty Kids" is a word for young travelers who train hop and move from place to place as he does.
Before I dropped him off on Broadway in Nashville he told me his mother’s name… Amanda Leigh Rice Bishop Calvert. He does not know where she is today.
The road we travel is what makes us who we are today.
"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso." - Pablo Picasso