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  • It had snowed 3 inches overnight. I woke up to a wonderland of snow. The bright sun was shining and everything glittered.
    How beautiful!
    I went out the the deck to start my ride and shovel off a path for the other workers to come up the steps.
    Yeah, so I sleep where I work. Hard to find housing on the Rez... so that's how it goes I guess.

    I had to go to a meeting that started at 9am in the village of Pine Ridge about 40 minutes away.
    If there was actually a straight road and no snow, I might have been looking at 15 minutes, but that is not realistic.
    So, I was feeling pretty proud of myself when I pulled onto BIA HIghway 27 and headed south a whole hour ahead of time.
    I would be able to grab some coffee at the local coffee shop in Pine Ridge and get a chance to wake up a little bit more.

    Less than 5 minutes down the road I spot a person trudging down my side of the highway where the shoulder would be if there was one.
    I look quickly I see a lowly young woman trying to keep warm in a hoodie and sweat pants. I don't like seeing women and kid, or women AND kids, out in the elements.
    Men, on the other hand, I expect to be about as dumb or whatever for being out in the wilderness and leave them to their own devices... or demise.
    Maybe I am going to reform my policies now... the women on Pine Ridge are sometimes tougher, and occasioanlly meaner, than some of the dudes I know.

    She opened the door and jumped in before I could ask her what was up or where she was going. She announced her intention of going to Pine Ridge after a night of drinking and getting high, listening to music and fighting with some "punk ass bitches" who also seemed to play the role of friends during moments of sobriety. I just drove. I used to party... so I didn't judge. She seemed at least not dangerous. She said she was going to go chill with her dad for a while, even though she didn't exactly know where he was at that moment. Maybe somewhere in Pine Ridge village?

    I felt her staring at me through blood shot eyes and from out of the dark recesses of the dirty, grey hoodie came her first remarks.
    "You're kind of good looking. You got real pretty eyes. Wanna pull over and snag? I'm real tight. You'd like that."

    I almost couldn't believe what I just heard. I was stunned. After recovering in a second that seemed like 10 minutes, I calmly stated that I wasn't interested and that maybe we should talk about something else. She kept staring at me, occasionally mumbling. I gripped the wheel with both hands and kept staring straight ahead. Maybe I drove a little faster too. Soon enough, we were at the curve leading down into Wounded Knee, and in an effort to switch subjects, I asked her what she knew about that area. She yelled out, "AIMster GANGsta man!!! That's what's UP!!! Puttin' the beatdown on the white man!" I mumbled something about my dad being white, and she stopped and stared at me again, this time squinting. She blurted out, "Well, you're cool man... you're alright. Shit, don't eeeven sweat it bro."

    Awkward silence. Then she spotted my gatorade and asked to have one. I said that it was cool. Then she took another "for later." No big deal. Pine Ridge was getting closer. I asked if she liked the drum group Northern Cree and she said, "Hell yeah man, put that shit on!" I did. Some good, loud Northern Cree to cover the last 8 miles. She started singing at the top of her lungs. It sounded like some kind of a cat fight inside a metal road culvert filled with cans. She yelled over the music, "My family sez I have a good voice!!!" I nodded, and kept driving.

    Pretty soon we got to Yellowbirds Store on the eastern edge of Pine Ridge village.
    She got out. I like to think maybe she found her dad somewhere in town, but who knows. Hitchhiking is always such a roll of the dice on Pine Ridge. People give me shit about it, but I try to help people when I can.
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