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Author Topic: February 16th, 2009: "Notes From A Weary Traveler"  (Read 2760 times)
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« on: February 23, 2009, 03:10:55 AM »

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All cats are sneaky. Ash is sneakier than most. Super powers tend to enhance sneaking ability and as a cat (and I assure you that despite whatever freakish thing happened to Ash to give him his powers he is still all cat on the inside) this sort of thing is like breathing. Despite Artur's protestations I'm sure Ash's stealth is a real asset on patrol.

So I've made it to my first destination, Austin Texas and I'm pretty beat. If you live along the path from New England to Texas and happen to be in a hotel, restaurant or gas station you might just see a small stack of Remedy/Remedial Comics cards sitting there. I'm like Johnny... just planting seeds.

In my time in the service I've traveled all over the world. I've made landfall in fourteen different countries and been shot at on three continents. But I've never spent any time west of the Mississippi (I landed in LAX once for a two hour layover; I spent the entire time convinced that the "Big One" was going to hit while I was there and deposit me into the ocean).

I've got some observations from my trip so far, some more "PC" than others but all interesting to me. But I want to make sure you understand dear reader that I'm not bagging on anyone. These things are just cultural differences that struck me as my journey progressed. I learned a long time ago that differences in culture do not equal moral superiority or inferiority. So try and have a sense of humor.

When claiming territory one usually plants a flag and makes a speech. Virginia on the other hand builds a Waffle House and a Comfort Sleep on every viable hilltop. Their claim cannot be denied.</p>
<p>What is up with the Skunk population? Has there been some sort of recent skunk rebellion that was forcibly put down by speeding automobiles? I don't know what the impetus was for this skunk holocaust but the sheer volume of road kill skunks I saw from NY to Tennessee makes be believe the species may now be endangered: or soon to make a counterattack.

As I neared Knoxville, TN I suddenly realized that I had not been cut off by a fellow traveler in almost four hundred miles (roughly since exiting Pennsylvania). Fortunately the further south-west I traveled the more inclined other drivers were to tailgating me and once I got into Texas proper, the locals made me right at home by nearly running me off the road at every opportunity.

Forty miles past Nashville I stop for gas and "Dirty Harry" or perhaps a relative of his was also filling up. If it wasn't Dirty Harry then it was a guy with the same gun and disposition; just walking around with this hand cannon in a completely exposed shoulder holster. As someone who is licensed to carry concealed weapons I found it a bit shocking to see a civilian carrying one so openly. He was very imposing.

The "reduced speed" due to a lane closure in southwestern Tennessee -  60 MPH!

I am not used to seeing fully grown dogs/wolves/coyotes on the side of the road as road kill. Varmints; yes, deer; sure, but not White Fang and his ilk. Disturbing.

I didn't see enough of Arkansas to judge it's overall quality and prosperity but I can tell you the first thirty miles or so after crossing the Mississippi does not represent it well. Easily the worst roads I've seen since New York City (and that's saying something) and the only large business in sight? Huge 24 hours porn shop. I gave it a miss.

I encountered a surprising number of "Pulaski" Counties on my drive. I wonder if Gene Roddenberry followed a similar path when considering a replacement for "Dr. Crusher."

I was eating in a restaurant and a very sweet older woman was playing with one of the toys the restaurant provides to keep you entertained while they cook. She was enjoying it a bit too much and it went flying out of her hand and under my table. She turned and grabbed me by the wrist and said "I'm so sorry, I was playing with the toy and it got away from me." Where I come from strangers almost never touch one another and I cannot recall ever receiving such a sincere apology for something so trivial. Heck, I can't recall such a sincere apology for something that grievously wronged me.

It occurred to me as I was using the restroom in that same restaurant, that the reason so many young folks in the South and Midwest are ensnared by crappy bubble gum pop music is because they grow up listening to... well, what I was listening to. There is some good country out there. There is some good music in every genre if you look hard enough. But the stuff this restaurant was playing made me want conduct a study on the ill effects of country music in early childhood.

I drove past a school bus... towing a box truck. I can't think of anything to say that will make this funnier.

I was leaving a restaurant with some breakfast I ordered. I had my OJ in one hand and a bag in the other. A woman, who was dumping her remains in the trash and was about to head back to her kids at their table took one look at me and instead turned and walked me outside, holding the door for me. She did not work there; she was not leaving; there was no hesitation. I cannot honestly recall a time in my life, ever, when a woman who was not entering or exiting at the same time as me held the door open for me. My hands weren't even that full. I could have easily opened it myself. I managed to mutter a thank you but I was pretty much struck speechless.

I can't say much about Austin yet. When I got here I was pretty whipped. I had a hell of a time finding a hotel due to Valentine's Day (damn all you horny bastards!) but once I did I pretty much crashed. I can tell you this much. It's bigger than I thought it would be; and despite having about one third the traffic of Connecticut (from my meager observations) they have the highway infrastructure that a Roman Ceaser would build if he were alive today. Seriously, I'm talking embossed shapes of Texas pressed into the concrete and neon backlit Marshall's badges; and the columns... oh my freaking lord the columns. I guess it's nice to have a former governor as president.

Also there are a lot of homeless people. But I'm in a shootty spot I think. I'm also confused by this whole "Austin Cool", "Austin Weird" thing. But I'll have some friends explain it to me when I go to see them today.

I hope you have a great day. I'll see you back here on Wednesday (assuming I'm not out there with the homeless by then) with some kitty porn. Yes that's right. I went there; and so did my cat.
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