Alabama

Hey Wilson. I’m starting a new adventure, and I want to fill you in on the first stop. After Los Angeles I came back home to Arizona to see family and deal with the plethora of challenges that I’m encountering as I make my way toward Israel yet again, this time with really nothing but a wisp of hope based on next to nothing but the idea that there may indeed be a thread of success wrapped around my fate. It seems that I, your homeless vagabond, am slated to take yet another trip, and family circumstances yet again drive the train as I have decided to make my first stop my dad’s old stomping grounds in Birmingham, Alabama.

My sister will be getting married before too long, and I was invited to attend her engagement party in Birmingham, so while trying to wrap up various things in Phoenix I bought a plane ticket to that city to shmooze with family before setting off into the wild blue yonder. My trip to Birmingham ended up being wonderful. I took my bicycle with me and rode my heart out through the winding country boulevards in that sprawl of autumn forests draping Dixieland hills with their leaves of gold and brown as well as connected with some family members that I haven’t seen in ages, some of them from the 90s even. I became familar with Birmingham’s culture of jazz and blues and southern African-American culture while at the same time bonding with another sister of mine, herself at times a black sheep of the family with a checkered past but a bright future as she takes the helm of a new job and a new boyfriend, a man of sincere character and commitment to my family.

It really was a great trip, but with this post to you I want to catalogue a couple of horrific incidents that have taught me a couple of lessons that serve as pearls of strength that I will take with me as I move forward on my own path. You know that I like to complain. So many of my complaints cause me to appear as something of a cermudgeon with nothing good to say about anything. At least that’s the impression that one might get as they read my stories about Israel, a land I love, though I describe it as choked by infernal forces and beings intent on denying it the glory that was fortold about it in the Hebrew scriptures. In this post, Wilson, I’ll again not have much good to say, this time not griping about Israeli immigration authorities, but rather a couple of events that can only have been arranged by nefarious powers to my detriment, yet have ultimately served to prepare me to withstand forthcoming challenges. So as you read this, don’t fret, but rather look for the strength that overcoming challenges provides.

So the first of these unfortunate events began not when I was in Birmingham, but the day before I flew to that city. I’d wanted to make a point of taking a ride with my daughter before I left. Things were quite busy, so we didn’t get the opportunity to go riding until the day before I flew. Coming back to her apartment after buying her some cycling clothes, I found that someone had stolen the carbon fiber wheels off my bike that I’d left chained outside her apartment. And not only that, but when checking out the dismal scene of what was left of my bicycle that was still fastened to the fence, I dropped my phone and broke it, and then not moments later in her apartment I noticed that my wallet had gone missing. Yes, Wilson, the day before I was scheduled to fly to Birmingham I found myself bereft of my phone, wallet, and bicycle wheels!

Even with what can only be described as the horrible luck that had been plaguing me throughout the year of 2022, I hadn’t encountered such a scene of simultaneous misfortunes in many years. Yeah, I lost my phone, wallet, and the wheels off my bike the day before I was scheduled to fly! Typical Jonathan Bailey scenario, you might say. Luckily I have three phones, and one of them is my Mexican phone that works in the United States. So I threw what was left of my bike into a bag and headed to Birmingham unwilling to be deterred. Upon arrival I dropped the bike at a shop close to the hostel I was staying at in downtown Birmingham called Redmeption Cycles. My sister’s boyfriend recommended it to me and, frankly, it was the closest shop to me, yet the name of the place was not lost on me. God’s hands work their magic on these misfortunes, Wilson.

I’d wanted to hold off on replacing my aging Galaxy Note 10+ with the S23 Ultra that will be coming out next year, but my lack of a phone prompted me to replace it with an S22 Ultra without much fuss. That problem was solved without further ado. Getting proper wheels for my bike was another story, however. It seems that my Mexican gravel bike was a type of Latin American Frankenstein built from parts both Chinese and Italian that were not readily replaceable in the USA. The owner of Redemption Cycles, Daniel, is a sort of mad scientist type mechanic who refurbishes old bikes from various sources to the effect providing quality machines at low cost and unusual design, but even he was not able to defeat the facts of economy that allowed me to procure in Mexico a cycle with advanced wheels for Mexican prices. After harranguing multiple vendors from China for replacement wheels, we found that procuring anything on my timeline would be impossible. We put some alloy wheels on the bike, but riding it back to my stay resulted in the rear derailleur falling off, probably due to damage during transport from Phoenix on the airplane!

Unwilling to allow His Infernal Majesty to waylay me from my forthcoming journey, I decided to double down on my commitment to my forthcoming bicycle odyssey, and thanks to some credit made available by PayPal, I got myself a Trek Émonda Superlight 5, a fantastically expensive pro-level road race bike that should prove to be more of a machine that I will ever be able to exploit to its potential. Basically I’d decided to let my misfortunes drive me to going pro with this cycling thing, rather than tuck my tail in defeat. Now that I am riding the roads of Europe, I am glad I did that. More stories about that are sure to come, my dear volleyball friend.

So I was back in the saddle and free to enjoy my time with family before taking off on my journey, which I am also sure to be telling you about soon. Yet a couple of weeks into what I thought would be a month in Birmingham, yet another strange misfortune befell me. In order to reduce the costs of my stay there, I’d procured a bed in a local hostel in the north of the city. It ended up being a strange, and ultimately tragic, stay.

Upon arrival in the city I spent a couple of days at my sister’s before checking into the hostel. My sister’s boyfriend and I had been enjoying a few drinks when he asked me about checking in. The day before I was supposed to go to the hostel I still had not received any check-in instructions, so I used the chat feature of the Airbnb app to contact the host to ask why I had not heard anything. More than a bit tipsy, and slightly frustrated, I found myself chatting with Eva, the hostess, and said in the chat, “hey, beautiful, how about those check-in instructions?” Now Wilson, you know that it’s the 21st century, and we live in the age of the New Matriarchy engendered by the MeToo movement and the post-Harvey Weinstein circus. that is, calling a woman “beautiful” without express prior permission is a very dangerous thing, buddy. I should have known that after everything that the lady officers of the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade did to me in 2012, and then all of the pathetic events that followed the van Ouwerkerk saga that I detail in painful detail in my book, which you are all too familiar with, Wilson.

Immediately after tapping “send” on my phone, some White Knight of the Order of Ouwerkerk chimed in on the chat about harrassing the poor Eva. I followed a terse apology with silence. Not long after, however, I did receive the requested check-in instructions and moved from my sister’s place into the hostel.

As it turns out, Eva was anything but beautiful. I only saw a tiny profile picture of her face on Airbnb’s chat app. In person the next day, however, I found that she was decidedly larger and rounder than I had previously assumed. Now I don’t dig fat chicks, Wilson. That’s not to say that I am not open-minded about how ladies look, completely aware that I myself am pushing fifty years old, completely bald and quite grey in the beard. I am aware of my own physical deficits, and while my ultimate physical preference for a lady is either thin and petite or strong and athletic, I have quite loved a number of buxom, curvey, and voluptuous ladies in my days. Yet blobulous three hundred pound whales just don’t get my juices flowing, I must say.

As it turns out, Eva was very gregarious and friendly, telling me that the guy in the chat defended her without her consent, and that she was not upset by my comment. For my part, though, I had been reminded just how horrific the consequences of complementing a woman are, and that combined with my genuine lack of attraction to her appearance dissuaded me from any further advances. She picked up on this, and we communicated amicably and platonically for the next week or so.

Eva ended up not causing me any problems, but a certain other female guest at the hostel certainly did. This chick was by no means portly. She was rail thin, and covered herself at all times with a COVID face mask, winter cap, and oversized headphones that completely obscured everything but her eyes. She didn’t sleep in the bed assigned to her, but rather slept behind the pillows of one of the couches in the living room. I had no idea why. A few of us commented to Eva about her bizarre behavior, but for my part I assured Eva that I was not offende by her being a bit of a weirdo myself and being more than familar with bizarre characters from all corners of the earth that I’ve encountered in my days.

I actually only ever said one sentence to the chick. At one point I wanted to watch a movie on my tablet in the living room where the wifi was the strongest. Seeing her there hidden in the couch, I asked her if she minded if I watched a movie. She didn’t respond to me, but rather just looked at me. Women who don’t respond to me just freak me out after everything I have been through, so I backtracked out of the room and for the rest of my stay completely avoided her. Again I stress, Wilson, I never interacted with that chick even one time while I was there. Women are scary, Wilson. They really are.

Some days later, while hanging out with my sister and her boyfriend. the White Knight dude from the Airbnb chat sent me a message telling me that they had recieved a complaint that I was harrassing a guest, so they were giving me the oportunity to cancel my own reservation and leave the hostel without incident. If Idid not comply, I would be kicked out without refund. No one would tell me who I was alleged to have harrassed, and no one would tell me what the alleged harrasment actually was.

I immediately contacted Airbnb claiming that some backhanded way of getting rid of me was afoot, presumedly to free up a bed for some other guest or some such thing. I really had no idea what I could have possibly have done or to whom. Airbnb promised to open an investigation. They cancelled the reservation and refunded me my money, but this again left me sleeping on my sister’s couch. I then got myself accomodations at a local hotel at considerably greater cost. Still a few days later I was told by Airbnb that they were suspending my account. Never during the whole episode did anyone tell me what I was supposed to have done or to whom I was supposed to have done something. It was a bit like being in Soviet Russia and being told by the KGB that I was being exiled to Siberia because “someone” had claimed that I was an “enemy of the state” without any specifics being brought to fore. I was never allowed to face my accuser. I was never given any substance of any charge against me.

Now you know, Wilson, after all the things you’ve read about me, nothing shatters my soul more than a spurious charge of being an offensive male threat to the ladies of the world. I’ve never so much as harmed a hair on the head of any woman. Yet after the Army, the attacks of my ex-wife, and the Noah van Ouwerkerk travesty, I’ve developed something of an Achilles Heel.

These misfortunes, the spectacular event of being a cyclist bereaved of his phone, wallet, and bicycle on the day before my flight from Phoenix, along with the Kafkaesque episode of an utterly fabricated charge of harassment from a comletely deranged COVID-masked female, I had been perfectly lanced by an infernal plot to devastate my confidence and ability to embark on my plans to unify with the Jewish people and protect Israel from the dangers that lay ahead for that country. I have no actual information about any conspiratorial aims against me, but these events, analysed thematically, evince yet another pattern attack from the forces of darkness set on thwarting me.

I’ve learned from them, though. I’ve learned that there just is no surviving what Satan plans for me from the ladies. He knows that I have certain fears and reservations, and he will use those to bring me down. He will destroy me if I say anything to a woman. He will destroy me if I say nothing to a woman. There is just no getting out of it. So I have no choice but to accept it and not let it affect my behavior. I can’t hate women because Satan uses them to put me flat on my back. If I didn’t have fear and reservations about women, he would use something else. It’s not the fault of women. It’s just Satan using whatever he can to try to waylay me – to keep me stuck in some place trying to find wheels. To keep me penniless trying to buy wheels from China or some such other source. He wants me to be afraid to talk to half of the human race, or to be afraid not to talk to that half of the human race. He wants me immobile. Sessile. Unwilling and unable to travel. He wants me tempted by the fruits of places that God doesn’t want me to call home. He wants me distracted from the mission and too scared to accomplish it.

Knowing this, though, I am resolved to just keep plugging onward, undeterred by his blows. So I packed up my bicycle and bought a plane ticket to Lisbon. From there I’ve started to ride toward my goal. The wounds are scarring over, and I am now gristle, unwilling to be distracted by old scars, unable to be damaged any more than I already am. I’ve taken Satan’s blows, and I am still riding on.

In closing, Wilson, let me ask you: what are the odds? How likely is it to break a phone, lose a wallet, and lose one’s transportation on the same day? Right before one is supposed to get on a plane…Could it be that some force doesn’t want me to travel? And what do you think about the blob, her white knight, and the psychobitch slamming me right where I have a PTSD complex? So I can’t say a woman is beautiful, I can’t say a woman is ugly, and I can’t say nothing at all to a woman, because if I do I’ll lose access to a travel app? I mean, don’t get me wrong, Wilson. I’m a permanent resident of Mexico. I have Mexican ID and a Mexican phone. I could be back on Airbnb in an instant with a Mexican account. But I don’t want to do that. I didn’t bother to try to get my account reinstated, either. They suck. They don’t care about facts. They only care about acquiring hosts. They don’t care about guests. They’ve lost my business. And I’m good with Expedia, Booking, Vrbo, Couch Surfing, Warm Showers, etc…So don’t worry about me there. But, doesn’t it look like something is trying to drain my bank account and wreck my ability to travel, of course while twisting the knife into what they think are my psychological weaknesses?

But then also, think about it Wilson. For all that, I’m writing this post to you from Spain.

Vaya con Dios, hermano.

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