Topeka, Kansas was probably more interesting than Disneyland. There are way more characters walking the streets out there than I ever saw in California… Such as the lady who would walk her imaginary dog behind our apartment everyday. She would just hold a leash and walk around while, every so often, she would make sure to it didn’t poop where it wasn’t supposed to poop. That would just be embarrassing.
It wasn’t Lawrence type of crazy. People in Lawrence were just hippies. The students were at least. Some of the women would “French it” which is where its apparently against their religious beliefs to shave hair. (Why?!… If you aren’t going to shave, could you at least keep your arms down? No one wants to see that.) It was absolutely revolting. But then, I think my face is disgusting if my uni-brow grows in… Needless to say, I’m not a fan of that Mexican art that you find in classy places like Taco Bell or what not. No, Topeka was different.
As legend has it: Topeka used to be the home to 3 insane asylums or “assisted living” centers. Rumor in the mission said that funding had been cut for these places so they had to consolidate their space and a few patients were let out. I’m pretty sure Elder Swapp and I met a few of them.
There was a guy named Micah. He probably wouldn’t hurt a fly, but he believed he was a hermaphrodite the first time I met him. He actually went to church with Elder Swapp once and proceeded to let everyone know that he was a hermaphrodite and that he might be gay or something. It caused quite the disturbance in our poor Victorian moral church from what I heard.
When I met him he apparently was chosen by the plants to be a prophet because they saw that he was a good soul. So he started the religion, “Ker-aft.” The worship involves doing the hokey pokey facing the plant while directing each movement toward the plant as to transfer your energy to it. They told him that the earth would be destroyed in 3 years by a planet that would collide with ours, causing major flood issues. The flood isn’t the cause of our eventual death though. No, the plot thickens…
Deep in the ocean there lives a colony of octopi. They are currently killing everything living deep in the dark waters of the Atlantic. When our earth floods, those octopi will commence the Armageddon-like destruction of all things living. He was definitely inspired, because I see no other way he could pull an idea like that out of his ass and run with it so smoothly. He didn’t even have to think about what he was saying. He knew the information both emotionally and physically.
One day a voice in his head asked him, “Do you want this to be your last life?” And before he could tell the voice, “yes,” a car whizzed by, almost clipping him, and took away his soul. He was reborn an Asian man. He even tried to prove it to us by showing us his license. He “used” to be black… Now he is “less black” according to him. See link.
I was sad when Micah ended up moving. He wasn’t all that bad to be around. He even said I had the aura of a Mason while he proceeded to open and close the palm of his hand up in my face a few times.
We didn’t live in the greatest part of town. Anything west of Washburn was pretty nice. East wasn’t so great. It made sense though since all the streets east of Washburn were named after presidents or states. I have a theory… and that is: if we want to decrease the number of troubled neighborhoods, don’t name your streets after presidents or states. Every city I’ve been to that has streets named after those two categories seem to be exceptionally seedy areas of town.
I did meet a nice prostitute there. She didn’t want to hear about religion though. She was on the clock… I can respect that. Industry is a person’s best friend.
Actually there were a lot of nice and friendly people there for real. In a world where social status and social norms are given such high regard, it’s easy to stop seeing each other as humans like we are. People become threats or competition. In these poorer communities, I found that people treat others more like people. Saying the right thing or being the right type of person wasn’t as important as how you treated them. I kind of liked it.
There was this one woman named Grace. She was our “mother in Christ.” She referred to us as her “Mormon babies” and she absolutely adored us. She would call us almost everyday. Sometimes it got a little much. One morning, Elder Swapp and I were volunteering at “Let’s Help”: a homeless food pantry where those less fortunate could come and eat a good meal. She called, and we didn’t answer… She called again about an hour later, we still didn’t answer… She called again, and we didn’t answer. She left a voice mail for each of them. This is how it went:
“Hi Elder Nielson, Elder Swarpp, this is your mom in Chirst, Grace. I was just checking up on all ya’ll and want to make sure you’re safe. Call me back. This is your mom in Christ, Grace. God, Jesus, and the holy Trinity love you all. Especially me, your mom in Christ.”
Next one: “Hi Elder Nielson, Elder Swarpp, this is Grace, your mom is Christ. I’m getting worried you know. Make sure you drinking water: it’s hot out there! Give me call back! This is your mom in Christ. God, Jesus and the holy Spirit bless all ya’ll. Call me back. This is your mom in Christ.”
Last one: “WHY DON’T YOU ALL CALL ME?! I’M WORRIED ABOUT YA’LL!. CALL ME BACK! THIS IS YOUR MOM…”
This was really comical actually but it was also nice to know someone was thinking about us and cared about what happened with us. No matter where I’ve gone, I always say that I meet the best people because it’s true. Some might be a little crazy. But then we’re all a little crazy.