Not much here but some disjointed thoughts and anecdotes.
I’ve driven about 2000 miles since December 28. Not so much for a man with a Texas address on his resume. Folks born in Texas learn how to pass the time counting mile markers through the window of a motor vehicle. Worse, a man like me who moved to Texas as a young adult, creating two centers of family that are galaxies apart, we REALLY learn the ways of the road.
I should write a folksy set of road warrior anecdotes but intentions are not sufficient motive. Ah shucks, there was the time we were passing through Memphis and a massive duffel slipped off the top of the Yukon, landing broadside in the center lane of I 240. I went to the side and stood, feinting at fits and starts towards the bag as if I had appeared inside the video game “Frogger”. Traffic was heavy. My chance of retrieving the bag before someone ran over it or caused an accident avoiding it were slim to none.
Suddenly I sensed a break in the traffic. Two lanes were calm…the outer lane, which I needed to cross, and the middle lane which held my bag captive. I craned my head and looked to my right, noting two identical extended Econoline vans blocking those lanes. In each one the driver’s seat was occupied by an octogenarian man with heavy framed glasses having thick lenses. They were grinning and waving frantically for me to deal with my problem and allow them to release the traffic they were holding back. I saw row after row of blue hair and magnified eyes filling the seats in the two vans.
As I dragged my bag onto the shoulder I glanced back over my shoulder and saw twenty or so smiling members of some local Baptist church all waving at me from inside the marked church vans.
I cling to that memory whenever I see hell in a hand basket on cable news.
The past few days my 18 year old son and I picked up on a theme we’ve shared on other trips. We often joke about the simplicity of Mexican restaurant names across the southern states, and the humor value if they are stated in English. Examples: Friends, The Friends, 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 Friends, Kids, Children, Little Boys, Little Girls, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters, Hand, Two Dogs, Crazy Cat, Tasty Food, Kitchen, House, Ranch, etc.
On this trip we followed a new tangent. Because so many of those names are family descriptors, my son and I were brainstorming names for American restaurants opening in other countries and how to similarly name them with a hint of the cloying odor that wafts off our decaying culture .
“Step Dad’s, Half Brother’s, Second Husband’s”, I rattled off quickly. Then my son trumped me, ending the exercise by suggesting a name that we could not improve. His idea for naming an American restaurant in a non-English speaking country was:
Good boy. (My son, not a restaurant’s name)
Other travel notables:
A family member told me about his acquiescence to his wife’s headship. He didn’t say that, literally, but as he explained that he had “figured something out” awhile back, the code he broke was a code of honor indeed. As some internecine drama (destructive and inter- family) ensued he was ushering me and other men a safe distance away from what is effectively the women’s tribal council. There was no need for us men to hear what was being discussed.
I found out why by planting my rear and not budging. Classic elephant in the room scenario that pit one young man of letters (who was being compensated at a scale set in six minute increments) against five women…sisters…from 45 to 54, and one other woman (Mom) age 78.
When it broke up guess what I did. Yes, great guess. I threw a Hindu wedding, riding on the back of that same elephant they’d ignored but covering it with robes and dung so it assaulted the visual and olfactory senses.
After that first day, I did lots of quiet reading in the other room(s) until New Years Day when Hershel Walker tells Doug Flute to get in the kitchen and get him some edamame while I’m watching the best football game Ive seen in some time (Though I didn’t want Baylor to lose). That was good fun.
On the way home, still in Texas and very near one of the other bloggers who lives in that great state, I spied a jewelry store billboard that bugged me. After some Google I see I’m not the first to take umbrage at one of these. It pictured a gaudy piece of sparkle, a bunch of stones and mounts congested on a pin or broach or ring or necklace of some hang-it-off-her-crap…..and a low price of $99.00 per month, referring to the, uh, piece in question as Wife Insurance.
Today, in the fog of post traffic traumatic stress, I overheard Lucille Ball explaining to Henry Fonda, on TV, that he isn’t stupid… he is just a man. And those conditions are often times one in the same. Yours, Mine, and Ours was released in 1968. Lucille Ball, in all her iterations, is known today as family entertainment, and Henry Fonda is not known for playing the part of a wimp on a stick. Still, forty years ago, man = stupid. (not news).
Happy New Year