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  • Somewhere in Louisiana i looked down at the gas gauge on my rental and it said i had about 9 miles left til empty. I was miles from a town or well-lit exit either way so i stopped on the service road and looked up a town on my phone that was 18 miles away. I crossed my fingers and headed for Coushatta.

    As i drove i was talking on the phone with some girl named Dinah about this and that and it started to rain and we were laughing at the whole situation and a few other things. I finally saw this gas station up ahead and filled the Fiat up. Crisis averted. After that i just kept driving away from the highway.

    A few miles later i saw this giant warehouse in the middle of a field with it's bay doors open. I could see cotton swirling around in these massive 30 foot tall cotton gins. It was a beautifully lit beacon of something to do in the middle of this black night full of nothings and nowheres. My mouth got all dry over it.

    I hung up the phone and went in hoping that who ever was steering the ship would take a shine to me. They did. I got to walk around for the last 45 minutes of the shift and hang with the fellas and get a crash course in their work. We smoked some cigarettes and talked some noise and it seemed like a few of us had known each other from another time before. Just in that way that guys that work with their hands seem to "get" each other and pass time and laugh no matter how hard the work at hand is. Guys like us, at least. I really miss those days.

    When the bell went off at 11 i was in the back of the warehouse. I came up front to say bye and to photograph one more of the workers only to find that most of them were already gone. Every one of them except for Quiet James and the foreman had split real quick like. No long emotional goodbyes or anything. Just time to go. That reminded me of a lot of things. After the bay doors were pulled shut i took a quick tour of the office and talked to the foreman about health insurance and old machinery. And then i got back on the road. I hope i can get back by there pretty soon and spend a whole day at the gin. It really was as southern as south can be.

    I drove for a few more hours and thought about how my plans and expectations steer me and leave me feeling a delusion of lack and want but how at some point i usually surrender those and find a sense of happiness in what i have. Somehow related to this, i always find a little of what i want mixed in there too once i really let go and just drive for the sake of driving.
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