Continued from A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part I . . .
Have you ever been to East St. Louis? I hadn’t either. First of all, it’s not in St. Louis, which is in Missouri. (I smart.) It’s in Illinois. I am so serious. (You know you didn’t know that either.) Secondly, all you really need to know about East St. Louis to get the picture is that on Wikipedia, it has the following subheading under East St. Louis:
“East St. Louis In Popular Culture,” and under that, a subheading for “East St. Louis in Film,” and under that, you find this:
In the 1981 science fiction/action film Escape from New York, director John Carpenter used East St. Louis to represent a decaying, semi-destroyed future version of New York City. At that time, East St. Louis had entire neighborhoods burned out in 1976 during a massive urban fire, which suited the director’s vision of a Manhattan Island that has been turned into a maximum security prison.
In the 1983 comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Griswolds were thought to accidentally drive through East St. Louis and get their car stripped while asking for directions . . . .
There’s also a lengthy section on its severe crime, which ranks it as having a higher murder rate than Compton, CA.
I think you get the picture. Let’s move on, shall we?
So, we’re in Illinois the next day. I swear, you drive through Illinois to get to Denver from Atlanta, and no, children, we didn’t even have any Illinoise! to listen to back then. So, we’re in Illinois and the sparks start again, and this godawful metal on metal sound, and I see an exit, and I pull of at that exit and Lisa is following me and I pull over at the closest gas-station-looking parking lot I can see, and i gotta tell ya, nothing looks open in East St. Louis in 1998. It just looked broken down and empty. And then there’s this nagging feeling that maybe East St. Louis is famous? But I can’t remember why.
Then I get busted with the camera.
The truly funny thing about these pictures is that if you knew Lisa then, back when we called her Princess? She never woulda been caught dead under a Ryder truck in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Now, right about that point, Lisa started trying to find information about calling Ryder again, because the muffler baling wire fix was not working so well anymore. Here she is looking at the map, or the paperwork, or something.
So, I crawled back under the truck, hell bent on getting the thing wired and getting out of that parking lot. That’s when I heard the car. I rolled back out from under the car, and there are Lisa and I, standing next to a Ryder truck, and this old 70s car, but rebuilt, with fancy rims and all that, rolls up with two guys in it, and a nice gentleman with gold teeth and a shitload of gold jewelry leans out the window, and no, i am not kidding. And this is what he says, looking us up and down, and nodding his head real slow, these immortal words that I can still hear to this very day, uttered very slow and cool:
“Where’s y’all’s boyfriends at?”
Where’s. Y’all’s. Boyfriends. At.
I still use this phrase just about weekly, when calling my sister and getting her voicemail. I simply say, “Where’s y’all’s boyfriends at?” and she knows it’s me. Now, the truly funny thing about this is that Lisa is wearing a too-big hippie-looking Colorado t-shirt, and cutoff duckheads. (See previous picture.) And me? I’m wearing red overalls. With Doc Martens. And braids. But we’ll get to that later. We look real good. I am surprised he thought we even liked boys. Suffice it to say that I am surprised he didn’t just go ahead and shoot us for looking ugly.
And what did I say to him? Just what is the proper response to such a well-turned come-on? Well, it was hot, and I was tired and hungry. This is what my big mouth said:
“Just leave us the fuck alone! What the fuck?! Can’t you see we’re having car trouble?!”
And now, now you know who is the OG.
And he, obviously impressed with my street cred, said, “Okay,” and nodded, and turned up his music, and drove off. I know. The story would have been much better if he had gotten out and said, “Here, Let me help you ma’am” and fixed my damn muffler. But it didn’t happen that way. Instead, I crawled under, and tried the baling wire thing, and then climbed back out and ate leftover, cold pizza from the night before, sitting in a post-apocalyptic-movie set parking lot in East St. Louis.
And we made it all the way to Nashville before we had any more problems. But the boys in Nashville? They were not as nice.
Continued in A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part III.