After a telephone conversation with a reporter in Los Angeles, Hyphen Nate decided to accept his offer of an all expense paid trip to the city in order to pursue her quest against hyphen abuse and American unity.
[Tuesday, on a Grey Puppy Express Bus, following an unusual Monday. ] Hyphen wasn’t sure what woke her, in fact she didn’t even remember falling asleep. The comfort offered by the Grey Puppy Bus seats and the gliding action caused by road bumps were like a mother and baby’s snuggle in an overstuffed rocker. Between that and the coastal postcard scenery mixed with green meadows and quaint little village scenes flashing on the other side of her window, created a mesmerizing effect that held her spellbound, and she wasn’t alone, the Symbols she shared the bus with also settled into their normal obscure and unassuming modes and most, like Hyphen, drifted into a calmer world.
The muffled sounds of honking horns and the lack of gentle motion was probably the cause of Hyphen’s reappearance to reality. The beaches and meadows had been replaced with a sea of automobiles drifting on waves of asphalt. Each vehicle occupied with a wide range of expressions and attitudes. Then she noticed that many of the cars had their windows down and the drivers were waving and yelling something, the sealed bus windows made it difficult to understand what they were saying but she smiled and waved back at them anyway thinking, “This is a friendlier place than I expected. ”
The largest green sign she has ever seen stretched across every lane of the highway, which was quite amazing as she had never even imagined that highways could be so large. Part of the sign read; ”Los Angeles 14 miles. ” Checking her wristwatch witch read 5 o’clock, she thought she better telephone Ed Gladley, the NSB reporter, because she should be there soon and he said that he would meet her at the bus terminal and get her to the hotel that had her reservation. Her call was routed to a message machine so she just told him where she was at. The bus started moving again, slowly, but moving just the same. Hyphen didn’t know why but her eyes were itchy and burning and her throat felt somewhat raw.
She hoped that she wasn’t coming down with something as that would be bad timing. The closer the bus got to the city the grayer the sky seemed to get and the more uncomfortable her eyes became. She glanced at her watch and had to take a second look, 7:30, and they hadn’t even reached the terminal yet. About 10 minutes later the driver announced their arrival and asked everyone to remain seated until the bus came to a complete stop. Immediately the Symbols filled the isle way, but not Hyphen, the bus was still moving, besides with all the pushing and shoving going on she was sure she would just get forced back into her seat anyway.
After the bus stopped she followed the last Symbol off and into the terminal. Luggage was on a merry-go-round machine and Symbols were crowded around it pulling suitcases off. She spotted hers but patiently waited until the rude crowd was finished. As she approached the machine and reached for her suitcase a slim, good looking, dark skinned man asked if that was her bag. She nodded and he pulled it off the machine and introduced himself. He referred to her as Ms. Nate which Hyphen wasn’t sure anyone had ever done before so she asked him to call her Hyphen. He smiled and turned toward a door marked “Exit” just as a small boy pointed at her and said; “Mamma, Mamma look, a Dash. ” Hyphen stopped, her complexion changing, revealing her mood change as the mother quickly grabbed the boy’s arm and pulled him towards a different Exit door. Mr. Gladley studied Hyphen’s reaction well aware that this was a minor encounter compared to what lay ahead for her as her suggestions for change became known to the Mexican and African-American communities and wondered at the effect such a small PuncT Uate could have on the culture of societies. He knew that her suggestion of dropping the heritage and hyphen of those terms and suggesting instead that we are all “American with differing heritages” would be misunderstood and misinterpreted and the result a lot different than a little boy’s revelation.
Passing through the terminal exit door was like stepping into a new dimension for Hyphen. There were Symbols everywhere, Stop Symbols, Walk Symbols, Turn Symbols and Symbol she didn’t even recognize, although she knew their meanings. As Mr. Gladley waved at a taxi, Hyphen’s attention was drawn to a group of young, rough looking, Symbols standing on the street corner. When they spotted her they began pointing, laughing and with a somewhat musical tone began chanting; “Dash – Dash – Dash …” For the first time Hyphen felt a new emotion, a combination of caution, fear and, most of all, doubt! Mr. Gladley ushered Hyphen into the taxi and instructed the driver to go to the Shirleyton Hotel. As the cab sped into and down the street Hyphen twisted to watch the Symbols through the rear window as they continued with their intimidating antics. As she slowly turned back she met Mr. Gladley’s eyes and with a calming smile he said; “Welcome to the city. ” [Don’t miss the next episode of Unusual when Hyphen goes public with her quest. ] Jim Andreas Author of: Something Important Happened Today!
Jim Andreas retired from law enforcement after nearly thirty years of service. After 9-11 he felt the need to join the fight against terrorism. His advanced age limits his participation but he does what he can through a private security contract with the U. S. Dept. of Interior. He grew up on a small farm in the middle of an Indian Reservation. At a young age Jim assumed he was Indian just like his playmates, when his buddies told him he was a white man he was crushed. Angered he ran to his mother to tell her they were picking on him and called him a white man. His mother had the difficult task of confirming his playmates revelation. He recovered, without hard feelings, and went on to develop the fond memories he treasures to this day about being an Indian. After High School the United States Navy claimed several years of his life and showed him the real world. Although he enjoyed visiting numerous foreign countries he developed a patriotic appreciation for life in the United States unequalled by any other American. This appreciation is evident in the pages of his book.