The Vegas Recap // I hate Late people // Part 1

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This most recent trip was one for the books for sure, regrettably not only for good reasons. It all started rather well, the 300 mile drive was unexpectedly nice with the route being scenic and weather sunny. The sky was blue and covered throughout in a tread of white cotton ball IMG_9089clouds. I found myself driving mostly along the desert while weaving through and past small towns the rest of the time. Eyes rested comfortably on open desert terrains, expansive, grand and, in their own way, kind of magical. There were strange vertical assemblages of stones, peculiarly stacked as if to mock the laws of gravity. They stood crooked and hunched over like ancient arthritics but still somehow defiantly erect. The incredibly perfect geometric earth formations limned themselves in the horizon further boggling sight and imagination. I wondered how such flawless symmetry and straightness was even possible. The only plausible explanation was that under cover of night, when no one was looking, a meticulous giant laid an enormous ruler to the land, attempting to landscape the world as if it were but a sandbox. The cacti presented as far as the the eye could see like an obdurate army of sentinels scattered across desert planes. When I drove by them, they seemed to salute me with their prickly upstretched arms & in my mind I saluted back. Hopefully you get the picture, it was beautiful, a kind of wondrous drive perfectly suited for road (or acid) trips.

resized_dwight-schrute-meme-generator-really-you-are-driving-to-vegas-do-you-realize-how-many-gummy-bears-you-ll-need-e4899fI stopped in one area for gas and, of course, candy, but really felt like much of the candy there was incredibly expensive, at least 100% the usual markup. I griped about it to the store attendant who enlightened me as to the reasons for this literal highway candy robbery. The “town” is called Wikieup and it is home to 307 residents across 22 square miles, he informed me rather professorially. “Mail doesn’t even come here” he raised his finger in front of my face “Amazon…. won’t even deliver here!” the finger was now angrily waving through the air. For this reasons and others, they have to buy some of the candy from other gas stations up the road at retail price and mark it up in their own shop. I asked if they all knew each other in this town, since the population was so very small. “Know each other?” He said laughing. “Why we are mostly related one way or another!’ Then he pointed to some buildings and structures within our view and rattled of the ways in which he was related, sometimes doubly or even triply, to the people associated with those businesses and lodgings. I asked him where they go for entertainment like movies etc, he laughed again, “Movies? Darling, we dig a hole, light a bonfire, drink some Vodka, who needs movies, we got Vodka!”. The whole thing was amazing, particularly because a variance in lifestyle this stark shouldn’t, it seems, be found only 200 miles out of the major metropolis where I dwell, yet there it was, in all of its charming enviable simplicity. These people don’t have much, and I don’t imagine myself capable of measuring their level of satisfaction with life or anything like that, but I wager they count themselves quite happy out there in their tiny candyless town of Wikieup.

FullSizeRender copy Anyways, I’ll skip over much of the other boring details, except to say that it turned out my car gets 400 miles on the highway out of her 40$ gas tank, downright amazing! Anyways, SLS is a cool hotel, it has a real contemporary flavor and is very technologically modern. Yoohoo and I prefer edgy boutique hotels with an emphasis on design much more than large, opulent FullSizeRender copy 2center strip hotels,
so it suited us perfectly. As is his usual custom,Yoohoo insisted we take this selfy. He is so vain. —————————————->>>

I got coffee in the lobby cafe and it was GOOD. Good coffee makes for half of my happiness equation, the other half varies significantly but usually boils down to chocolate. I wandered over to the very chill, well laid out pool space and found a massive white husky sprawled out on one of the loungers with a woman and a man languidly draped over it and each othee. My wondering, frozen stare was met with an invitation to pet the dog, so I did, at which point I realized that its human companions were bothIMG_9185very beautiful and quite high. While I made small talk with one of them, the other slipped off of the recliner and floated herself to the back of the cabana. Once there she crouched down and, quite in full view, took a hit of something or other before returning to us and mellowly weaving her body back into the lounger and its occupants. Welcome to Las Vegas, I thought, I have definitely arrived.

Although everyone in my group agreed to start the night by meeting in the lobby at 10:30 pm sharp, two of the girls (the two I had only just met) were very late, keeping me and my other friends waiting for them at the hotel bar for well over a ridiculous hour. Now throughout my social life I have to regularly (constantly) interface with these women-friends who for some reason feel that lateness is a special female entitlement. They shortly learn that I take great, huge, major issue with this and, as per my custom, do not attempt to in any way quell my irritation. Does my strong negative, vocal and verbal reaction usually make for an awkward, uncomfortable transition into evening festivities, it surely does, do I care? No. Why should I care when I take only two things from rampant lateness: 1) either the offending parties have no respect whatsoever for my person or 2) are too stupid to manage their time and thusly too stupid for the likes of me. It is simple, and I know I am being a little redundant here, either a person doesn’t too-late_o_1489403attempt to make it to places on time and there is a clear issue of respect and consideration for those others involved. On the other hand, if an adult woman truly cannot manage her time, then I must consider her an idiot and my regard for her plummets accordingly, making a sincerely amiable relationship between us a virtual impossibility. In conclusion, let me say, that all those chronically late, no matter how otherwise wonderful, quickly find themselves quite dead to me and beyond resurrection.

My friends poured some drinks down me while we waited which did to some extent mellow out my ire. Still, to my mind, the night had a bit of rough start…and it only got rougher from there.

To be continued……Click here for:  Part 2// On Getting Robbed.

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Help! I am a misanthropist. Part 1

humor, miscellaneous, writing

I am a very curious, horridly direct, incisive sort of person, afflicted with uncontrollable truthfulness, which means that I find most people obtuse, insecure, boring and kind of namby-pamby. It also means that I frequently make these same people quite bothered or at the least uncomfortable. Being, as I am, in the minority, I realize that I am perhaps more the problem than they are. It’s a miracle really that I managed to get married, and happily, and early on, even my mother thought I would end up as a bit of a feral thing living deep in the woods up in some tree surrounded by wet man-eating koalas.

3eead2e018dc98ee533b2cfb4ac63cbbee3dd69ca217719a6a757512ae7e8768The qualities that I respond to in people are universally hailed as well as claimed by most, while being in fact possessed by almost none. Earnestness, good nature, true inner confidence, directness, decisiveness, insightfulness, self awareness, consideration of others and an agile mind are just some of the things that are necessary for me to form connections with other people or simply to find them likable. I am not just rattling off a catalog of positive human qualifications either, I take careful inventory and fastidiously measure every one of the items mentioned in all whom I meet. The list is absurdly long too, but it has organically grown inside me like a weed, regrettably I am not its gardener and haven’t the power to redact it. Trust me, I would if I could, life would be plenty easier.

If I had to sum it all up I’d say integrity is what I find to be most lacking in my species, and I mean the daily kind, the integrity of little things, small decisions, ordinary moments, minute conversations. I think this is a legitimate gripe against western peoples and something that amply justifies my burgeoning misanthropy-ism. The trouble is though, that it’s the other, much less weighty, much more superficial stuff that often informs my feelings about my fellow humans. Sometimes, before I even have the chance to examine their deeper, more substantive aptitudes, I find myself either painfully disinterested or worse, not being able to stand them at all. Therein lies what I’ve discerned to be my central (and only actually) character flaw. Intolerance.

funny_rebel_cartoon_stickers-rffdddae71bdc43df849fe2d77df2dd33_v9wf3_8byvr_324 I am intolerant. Sometimes it means that I’m short, sharp and dismissive. It also means that inside my head I am unkind, judgmental and even unjust. The side effect of my, lets call it “persnickety”, mental conformation is that I have throughout my life been sort of socially lacking, more so than my communicative, lively nature would ideally have it.

One of my resolutions for this new year, which marks the beginning of the fourth decade of my time on earth, is to better myself (where betterment still can be attained). There aren’t a lot of areas for improvement here, cus I am obviously awesome, but this intolerant thing, well I’ve started working on it. It’s time to do some changing. I’ve realized that not all friends have to be great or close or real even, some can just be friends “lite”, like the free version of the app you want with the ads and the limited functional scope. A connection does not have to be absolute and exact to warrant some level of friendship or social engagement.  I don’t know if this is progress or regress, because it certainly smacks a bit of a kind of disillusionment and settling. I am hoping though, that it’s not so much an abandonment of my exalted ideals, as it is their necessary modification and softening. Bonding being achieved not through an instant congress of souls or minds but rather through repeated physical proximity and shared social experiences? Seems like reasonable recourse.

It has not been easy. These new friends might look good, but they are trying the hell out of my patience and resolve. I do find myself having bits of legitimate fun here and there, and whereas my mental health is sometimes stretched to its limit I opt for hugging, rather than kicking or biting. I am testing the theory that negative thinking can be remedied by positive body language. I realize this might seem utterly ridiculous, but I am actually a very physically affectionate person by nature, and hugging or touching those I love is very natural to me, so I’m hoping it works similarly in reverse with those I am trying to love.  Also, going out has given me a reason to color coordinate again and that’s like totally like EVERYTHING.

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Mmmm that’s all I care to say on this subject right now…but it will be a multi-part post, detailing my experience as a newly minted social person with friends and things to do on a Saturday night.

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On Las Vegas & getting old-er-ish or Tutus forever

writing

It’s 2 am in Vegas. After an epic weekend of hanging and partying with my besties, I’ve spent most of my last day here alone, marooned in my hotel room, binge watching Ally McBeal on Netflix and eating junk food. It’s what I call regrouping. Anyways, I am well primed for a depressing, esoteric sort of rant. I promise I will in the end have a point.

Being the neurotic, deep-&-over-thinking type I’ve always struggled with just about every aspect of the human condition. I think I had my first existential crisis as a tottering, slobbering toddler with many more to follow in its wake. I envy people who can glide through life largely unaffected by or unaware of the preposterousness of the entire ordeal, and I don’t say this disparagingly. Don’t they recognize that we are all literally born to hazard; the human experience, though punctuated by some occasional variant joys, is really one of perennial exigency and loss. Still, most just mosey on; they grow, grow up, they find joy, have sex, make love, squeeze themselves into various conventions of living (some with more ease than others), they grasp at satisfaction (however slippery it might be), search for meaning (or invent it), bury their loved ones, make or birth new ones, and, after brief quarter and midlife crises, they finally settle into old age. Seamlessly, living becomes about mitigating the pains and indignities of aging, bouncing grandchildren on knees, reminiscing about days long gone, afternoon naps and weekly games of bridge. Those are actually the lucky people. The unlucky ones might not even get to grow old, or they do, but alone, perhaps ailing beyond the assuaging powers of medicine or without the attentions of loved one. Yes, this is the price of living, it is at best a lottery, and in a way we’re always loosing, even when we are winning.

To many it just is what it is, and I envy the “is what it is” lot. They are the lucky ones. I guess they can also be seen as the “glass half full” people or maybe even just “full”. Though I do not possess their optimistic take on life, I bask in its warm glow like a cold blooded reptile sprawled out beneath the sun. I married such a sun, and every day he gives me the warmth and the stability I need to remain earthbound. In his infinite wisdom he lets me be me, do me, whining, sinking, grappling and struggling, all side-effects of my coping ineptitudes and my free spiritedness.

Although I am mostly just baffled by time’s passing…I, more precisely, don’t do well with what it means for me, the limitations it puts on me, and so I am always looking for answers in an answerless void, trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. I’ll probably go through life feeling forever like I’m missing something important but intangible, like wings or a unicorn; or maybe answers, or a time machine, a dead person, a path not taken, a thrill not had, a youth not fully realized and all too quickly gone. That last one, the one about youth waning, is at the center of all my current grumblings.

A couple of nights ago, while here in Vegas, I had occasion to not only feel 16 (as I always do) but act 16 too. I wore a rainbow tutu, took Molly with my friends (which I hadn’t done in well over a decade), made it rain at a co-ed strip joint, danced all night with a sweet, truly beautiful (inside and out) much younger boy and ate a mountain of French Fries on my bed before finally passing out, fully dressed, on a pile of ketchup packets and just in time for the sunrise. It was an indisputably fun, unforgettable sort of night, but in the end it left me feeling sad and dispossessed.

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It was a wrinkle in time, which, for the sake of all things right and orderly, had to be quickly ironed out. I resurfaced from it sorely aware of how little it belonged to me, and how soon there’ll come a time when It won’t belong to me at all. It’s not that I want to be 16 again, or experience any dissatisfaction with my life, really, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world just about most of the time. For all the things I have, most can only hope for. My family is my amazing everything, my husband is my rock & my best friend, my few good friends are more than just “good”, I have fun hair and even a pony 😛 etc. etc.; It isn’t that I want to be 16, it is simply that I never again will be 16, ever. NEVER. The gap is set to steadily widen, and widen it does. Simple enough, pathetic even, I know.

I am suddenly facing the looming limitations and expectations, which come with being fortunate enough to enter that wretched fourth decade of life, the one that marks indisputably the onset of adulthood. It has left me grateful, sure, but even more so, for a time, perturbed and kind of robbed. For most women who face their 30’s with uncertainty it is an experience which is something like a midlife crisis; for a woman like me, one stuck in perpetual childhood, it is worse. It feels like a merciless suffocation (not the fun kind), in most dramatic terms it feels like a dying of the light. I even had a nightmare last night about turning 31, a full on nightmare, I was relieved to wake up and remember that in reality there was a handful of months left before the event….but then I realized it’s ONLY a handful of months.

When I turned 30 this year, I did so with pronounced bravado, much more so actually than any of my previous birthdays, but I can honestly say that I am now having a painfully delayed reaction to it. I’ve had a good run of my 20’s, I like who I was and how I grew. I wasn’t a perfect human, but I learned life’s lessons dutifully, I strived for self-betterment, I sought quality and depth in most things. I can say that I am an ethical person, my integrity means everything to me, I am uniquely committed to living honestly, I mostly do the right thing, I say what I mean and more than I should…. but still, inside, inside I often just feel so little and so 16. And the further away I move from 16, chronologically speaking, the more I feel like a panic. Like something is moving in on me, grimly, and I cannot quell it. Neither can I properly incorporate it into my own-personal-human experience. I am lost in time, and time is no less lost in me.

Although the rainbow tutu belongs to me, I worry that I won’t belong to it much longer, and there in lies the crux of it all. Having cried into my ketchup stained pillow for a good part of the hour while typing this up, I feel slightly relieved, which leads me to believe that this whole rant might have been partially hormonal. Anyways, there is always Botox and lying about my age I suppose, that should buy me a few extra years. Tutus forever for me and mine. Tootle-loo.

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Part 5: On lonely girls and broken hearts

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Plz find Parts 1234 by clicking on the numbers. 🙂

A few days passed since my exodus and yet I hadn’t heard from him at all. It was the biggest break we had to date in terms of communication. Eventually I called him but he didn’t pick up and didn’t call me back. I called again, nothing. I left a couple of concerned voice mails. Nothing. It was all around confounding. I didn’t know what to think. I’d never been an alarmist but I started to worry for him, as he was now marooned up in that house quite alone, not counting the wine. I texted him a few times too requesting a confirmation of life, still there was no reply. Finally, right when I was ready to drive over to check on him, he shot me back a short text, casually letting me know that he was fine, but busy. This was followed by another period of radio silence. I remember feeling very confused and anxious and finally penning a heartfelt message which questioned the state of our relationship, while reminding him of my friendship and love. He did respond then, denying the validity of my concerns and reassuring me that nothing in fact had changed between us. That exchange I, for some reason, remember in its entirety. He insisted that our friendship, despite evidence to the contrary, had undergone no change at all and that I was still “singularly unique and special” to him. This was, as i had shortly learned, a flat out lie, as he was in fact done with me for good, but putting me out of my misery would have required too great a generosity on his part, it was no 4$ latte or DVD after all. To be clear, the crux of my injury wasn’t that he had a sudden change of heart, demoralizing as this was, the real hurt emanated from his not caring or respecting me enough to simply take my call and tell me something-anything real. If he had, I would undoubtedly still have been hurt, but I would also walk away with as high an opinion of him as ever and a mind to healing.

No measure of wariness towards J could have prepared me for this turn of events. I was, in all honesty, soul-crushed and for a long time thereafter truly, deeply sad. If his disappearance from my world seems innocuous as far as transgressions go, let me assure you it was not; it was acutely, painfully felt. Sure, dropping the proverbial curtain and exiting stage left is every person’s prerogative, but sneaking out under cover of night is not. To this day abandonment ranks on my list of painful experiences as one of the worst and most contemptible. I hate to be dramatic, but I think he could have just as well punched me in the stomach. It felt in every way like a violence and a theft. Had he indicated his intentions to disengage, extended any, and I do mean any, courtesy explanation aimed towards closure, or even just a stock Good Bye, I would have been able to process it differently. It was his silence, evasion and complete lack of basic human regard for me that shocked my system, and although it mostly bruised my heart, it was also a blow to my pride and my self-esteem. (Admittedly, the latter was struck the least)

It boggles my mind even now that this seemingly earnest, tender hearted boy (..or man I guess) with his love of dogs and his rare gift for words could be so inexplicably thoughtless (cruel). Though obviously, I misunderstood completely the degree of his attachment and care for me, what surprised me most was how sorely I misjudged his character. He was in regards to me indecent, an utter failure. At the time I would have bet my arm that underneath the charm and the words, there was a conscientious person of substance and heart. I would have lost that bet (and the arm) as words proved to be ALL he was.

Before now I never talked about any of this, because, in part, I was ashamed of having let myself fall into it as I did. After all I was and always will be the only one responsible for my own feelings, the fact that I got hurt was, as they say, on me. Victim girl or Foolish girl were not monikers I cared to take up and “vulnerable” is perhaps a word I detest most and in general, god forbid it be spoken in reference to me. Pride and unresolved confusion further conflated into a kind of secretiveness. On some level too, I think I hoped that the story still had a chance of finding a better conclusion, so I kept it tucked away in a cognitive limbo. That’s the trouble with hope, enduring as it is, it doesn’t fall within the purview of good judgment or reason.

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A few years later, with hope finally abandoned, I wrote J an email outlining how I felt. It was a way of self-generating the closure he couldn’t give me. I wanted it to be finite, so I asked that he not respond, even if by some chance he felt inclined to do so. I don’t remember what exactly was in it, I imagine it was some version of all this, and I don’t know that he read it, but if he did, he heeded my request obliging me with his continued silence.

The overall experience marked me indelibly, but it did not change or callus me. In all fairness the universe did make ample karmic recompense to me shortly thereafter, turning Lonely girl into a decidedly Lucky girl (so lucky). I am still genuinely concerned for J’s happiness and still only wish him the best. I think I’ll never stop rooting for him, and that is something I don’t dislike about myself. The most significant thing I carried out from it all, besides a purple heart bruise, was a lesson in accountability. From that point forward I was always painstakingly careful not to lead anyone on whom I did not intend to keep.

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Part 1: On lonely girls and broken hearts

writing

This is not a story about romance or young love, although in a way it is a story about a kind of love at a time when I was young. Recently I read a blog by Erin. J. Bernard, where she described a past romantic dalliance of unique nature, and a brand of rejection usually reserved for the weirder, lonelier segment of humanity; writers, artists and misfits. I found myself reminiscing about a person and a time in my own life which to my mind mimicked her experience. It was not a lasting or, in the grand scheme of things, a terribly significant event, but it was singular and it left an indelible mark on me. Like all of life’s harder lessons it was necessary and dutifully learned.

As I take inventory of my past, I find that, as usual, memory is at best a precarious mechanism, disorganized and not at all trustworthy. I wish I was the journaling type then, as to have at my disposal some authentic reference material, but no such luck. Trying to commit to an honest account of a time long gone is admittedly a bit more difficult, than I originally anticipated. If science is correct in its assertion that all cells in the body, including brain cells, renew themselves completely every 7 years, then I can say that none of what I was then remains in what I am now. Except of course for these scattered memories, but don’t get me wrong,  they are nothing to scoff at. Memories are, to my heathen mind, one and the same as soul. And so, for lack of journals, I guess I will have to prod at my soul.

I was always that weird, introspective kid clutching a book. From the very get go I knew that I understood things differently from others. When I was little I tried to explain certain truths to other five year olds, like the rate of seconds as they tick on the clock, they laughed at me, absolutely rejecting my completely correct take on time. This was just one occasion amongst many to come when I was completely right about something only to be rejected and ridiculed by the ignorant majority or by the uppish adults. I am not and never was by any means a saint, but I knew I was different, in some ways I knew I was better. I understand how it sounds, it’s quite wrong to say and vexing to hear, but I am not afflicted with false modesty. I never experienced jealousy or envy, if someone was more beautiful than me, received more praise, had nicer things, better toys, I was happy for them. To my mother’s relief I did not covet, so she never had to explain to me why I couldn’t have something that was had by someone else. I didn’t lord my advantages, whatever they might have been, over others; I couldn’t understand the pleasure of being boastful or the point of being popular. I couldn’t understand why winning mattered, how putting someone down or leaving someone out could be fun. It baffled me that while I lived comfortably so many others in the world suffered. When I was 8 I wrote a letter to God, who had not yet at this time disproved himself to me. I asked that he take some of my food and clothes to the children in Ethiopia, and packed it all up nicely into a suitcase. My mom was not amused. In short, I wasn’t motivated by the same things that motivated my peers.

The only reason I wasn’t ostracized or actively mocked for my obvious deviation from the norm, was that I was attractive and hailed from marginal privilege. The latter seemed to eclipse all of my more divergent qualifications. It was very clear to me from a very young age that the lottery of good genetics and favorable economic circumstances was responsible for my good standing in the world. Who I was on the inside didn’t much factor in.

I had a hard time connecting with people and subsequently a very hard time making friends. I wasn’t much different from that really weird girl with greasy hair and bad skin, who made everyone uncomfortable. She sat in the back of class, got made fun of, ate lunch alone and was left out of everything. I knew I was more like her than anyone else, yet I was treated differently, I was welcome at most tables, into most groups and at all sleepovers. I was offered regard and consideration, merely because my packaging was more advantageous. I became aware of this unjust truth first when I was 10, and although it undoubtedly made my life easier, it also mostly made me sad. As it followed I didn’t value that acceptance and didn’t try to maintain it. I became a unique kind of outcast. I didn’t fit in with the cool kids, even though I was welcome, because in reality we had nothing in common, but I didn’t fit in the with the weird kids either, because I was externally too well adjusted to share in their experience of the world. 

I am offering this lengthy prologue to explain the precise kind of loneliness with which I was afflicted for the majority of my life. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find friends, as in bodies to surround myself with, I just couldn’t find any I wanted to be surrounded by. In high school I spent most lunch periods in the home room, in the company of a book and Miss Ellis, the English teacher. I went to the movies mostly alone but sometimes with my grandmother, who was in fact one of the greatest friends I ever had. I carried out no connections at all from any of my school years. If I went to a high school reunion I wouldn’t know anyone, and I doubt anyone would know me, except maybe for a handful of boys who were, reportedly, sweet on me. I cultivated a few random friendships during college years, these friendships were seldom and short lived, mostly because of me, but not always. Unfortunately, if I was very drawn to someone, then most likely there had to have been something wrong with them, more wrong than there was with me. And I don’t mean something obvious or nefarious, like a hidden tail where there ought not be one or a penchant for squirrel dissection. No. I am talking about subtle inadequacies mostly related to the function or rather dysfunction of their proverbial hearts. Out of those few I can think of only a couple that mattered. One such that mattered is the subject of this narrative, if ever I can stop talking about my lonesome childhood and get to it.

….To Be Continued in Part 2

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Mine and Yoohoo’s thoughts on Planes, Texas and God

humor, writing

So I am back on the plane, leaving Houston, baby. I’m happy to report that there is nothing for me to gripe about, as Yoohoo & I have a whole row of seats all to ourselves. No more will these airlines milk me for that additional 37$-45$ right before boarding for a better seat. I used that fancy college education and beat them at their own game, my mom’s so proud. I looked on my flight itinerary at the seats available for upcharge, but instead of buying one I took a screen shot. I was able to discern from the rather self explanatory seating chart that just like on my flight to Houston there was no shortage of these superior seats. Then I strategically, ignored the seat assigned to me and sat in the cluster of upcharge seats, figuring that even if by some odd chance, someone actually pays for one and bumps me, I can just move one row ahead to a similar situation without any fuss. It worked. Yoohoo and I flew peacefully, prostrated across 3 seats with not a soul bothering us the entire time. There was no mouth breather to my right, no Bible clutcher* to my left, just terrible airplane hummus and the gratification of finally getting our due and our elbow room. Yoohoo was pleased, as I am sure is evident from his facial expression. He insisted on taking that airplane selfie for posterity.

I saw some stuff on my trip, stuff that changed me. There were kids riding in the back of pick up trucks on the highways, with their buzzed heads bopping up and down as they peaked out over the edges of the truck beds.

There was no Groupon or Starbucks in Wharton, but there were cockroaches. I will say though that I don’t suffer from that socially conditioned aversion to cockroaches. I see them as just bugs with excellent adaptive mechanisms, at times I even find them charming, mysterious and impressive.

Men in Texas can and are not afraid to dance. More so, they ask women to dance. Which is very, very lovely. Something I’ve realized I’m missing in my neck of the woods. They dance with them respectfully, they don’t grind on them or try to cop a feel, in that way the culture appears to have maintained that elusive air of vintage romance and courtesy.

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Service industry moves in Wharton at glacial pace. I noticed that buying anything that requires packing of any kind, even as simple as being put away into a plastic bag is a losing proposition. After a while I just started saying that I don’t need a bag, grabbing whatever I was purchasing off the counter and bouncing out.

Apparently the community spirit is so strong here, that even pooping is a group activity. Rad & I did christen that bathroom, in case you were wondering.

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In the honkiest and only bar in Wharton there was the most modern jukebox I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe it. A flat touch screen wall contraption with some kind of a web library set up allowed you to run elaborate and comprehensive music searches to compile extensive musical cues. Perhaps this is more standard than I realize, as I rarely go out, but still, not here in backcountry. I’m sure they’ll create some kind of a sensor system on that machine going forward, as I took full advantage of its vast musical selection and filled the bar with N’sync and Britney Spears. Best 20$ I ever spent. Here is Rad doing her pool shark thang.

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There is smoking indoors and its ubiquitous, there is also totally gag inducing tobacco chewing. I don’t have any idea how this repugnant practice could have started, I understand the aesthetic appeals of smoking, the cigarette, the drag, the exhalation of smoke clouds… but tobacco lumps being tucked away into cheeks like tumors, the lip flexing to stretch itself over the unsightly protrusion; the spitting, hacking and expectorating. Ew.

This place is very environmentally conscious. Used tampons & toilet paper get recycled.

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I consider myself quite adaptable and somewhat fringy, but when Rad took me to Numbers, a dance club in Houston, for a hot minute I felt out of my element. Numbers turned out to be a Goth club. Although there was a definite leaning towards latex, leather, metal and wigs, the club was filled with people of many and varying creeds. Surprisingly the unifying theme appeared to be inclusion. A trans woman with a face mercilessly mangled by scars from an old skin affliction was like something out of nightmares and dreams. She danced beautifully, moving in the pulsating strobe light like liquid. Her 8 inch platform boots, cut out leather shorts with many straps, torn black tights, buckles, long curled nails, a black bustier cinching her in, black bangs and a tall long pony tail, were all a part of an elaborate costume either connecting her to or hiding her from the world. I could not tell, and failed not to stare. There were many others, all equally creative, different and alike. I danced amongst them thinking about their lives, I wondered what kind of a conversations we would have if ever I had the cause or the gull to speak with them.

A senior age couple dressed in every way like my parents in law or accountants, danced in the middle of the floor. They were completely at home, completely into each other, moving up and down in unison. He had a studded leather collar around his neck to which a chain leash was attached, she held on to its other end. Radhika danced around like a ball of wholesome energy, her blond curly hair in bows, her flowy little dress, she moved energetically as she does across the dance floor, bouncing of the unsuspecting dancing goths like a ray of erratic, directionless sunshine.

On the drive home we talked about God. Rad is very Christian while I am a well known heathen atheist. But it was one of the few conversation I’ve ever had with anyone on that subject where I really wasn’t compelled to roll my eyes uncontrollably or jump out of the moving vehicle. I understood her God, I understood the solace she finds in reading the Bible & in praying. I respected her open, flexible mind and reasoned that at the very least I owed her the same. She talked about the living word, about what one like herself could get out of it, the method by which she finds guidance in faith, the ways in which her worship connects her to the eternal and the limitless. We talked about true acceptance. I found her religion to be strange, as all religiosity is to me, but also beautiful. And therein learned something new about myself.

Rad & Zippy

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On the culture shock of Wharton, Texas & some of its subsequent charms

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At first arrival, I’ll confess I thought I might not be able to enjoy myself in Wharton. However over the last couple of days Wharton has grown on me just a little bit. It has its dubious charm. In Wharton, Texas I am looked upon as skinny. Repeatedly and much to my jubilation people have asked if I am a model. Whilst I battle the bulge in Scottsdale and Los Angeles, here I could stand to gain a few. This has definitely played a part in my recently improved opinion of the town. 😀

Disclaimer: It is always hard to speak critically or even just observationally about anything from the vantage point of privilege. Automatically shadows of snobbishness, conceit or arrogance are cast on the narrative. I do not think that I am better than anyone because of the advantages afforded to me in life. The place from which my opinions stem is not one of disparagement or disregard, I am aware of the difficulties faced by these areas, aware of why things are as they are, I do not discount the individuals when I speak in generalities, or underestimate the value of their characters and souls.

Although I realize that many areas in the U.S are much like Wharton, and it is by far not the worst or the most rural; to me, it presents with a real culture shock. This experience is akin to that of a person from a developed country visiting a third world country. I cannot help but be slapped in the face by first hand awareness of how different people can be, how varied their priorities, their tastes, their standards of living and ambitions.

Lululemon and Starbucks do not govern the lives of people in Wharton, but neither does what could be conventionally described as “good taste”, moderation, aesthetics, nutrition, fitness, health, education or dental care…etc. To me the lifestyle led by most here is starkly different from what I know. But admittedly, I had lived a somewhat insulated life, without having much need to ever leave my primary comfort zones. Where I thought there was an economic gap between south and north Scottsdale, I think there is a planet gap between Scottsdale and Wharton. Everything from the pace to the motivations of life here is different. In Wharton people seem to either work very hard or barely at all. Farming and fracking are the things putting bread on the tables of a vast majority, as is every fast food franchise known to man. Few here have heard of such luxuries as Trader Joes, Wholefoods,Tofu…. Organic, yoga or Crossfit are not terms widely used or understood. Ordering coffee at the single coffee shop in town is a strange and somewhat frustrating experience, it’s almost as if although we speak the same language we cannot reach an understanding. I realize this is because people here do not alter their orders and do not express arbitrary preparation preferences, like people in LA are accustomed to doing. It is not a realm for the pampered or the particular. I have done my part thus far in giving LA girls a decidedly bad name.

There is no shortage of plump cows, languidly parked under shady trees and in fields, living their lives beneath the Texas sky on God’s green earth. As all animals should. Such sights feel to my heart like hugs. People are extremely nice, kind, polite, they appear to be quite united in their communal humanity. This is the advantage of a small town, without a great socio economic discrepancy. Considerations of wealth, ambition, vanity, competition, city stress, do not afflict these people or divide them in the ways that they do in other areas. It is a simpler world that I think breeds a kinder folk. As far as I can tell racial tensions don’t prevail here, people seem to live on equal footing, healthily intermixed. I can’t be sure, but from my limited observations, humans are less divided by race in this small town than in many other liberal, more cosmopolitan areas on the west coast, which is ironic. On the west coast although equality is a highly esteemed and hailed aspiration, it is not necessarily as much of a reality as it appears to me to be in Wharton. Again I think this is because socio economically everyone is in a somewhat same boat here. They occupy their small world together, they farm the same land, frack the same ground and drink the same beer in the only bar in town.

P.S. Lena, is the little Polo pony I got to ride on the 30000 acre ranch which is home to the Polo farm, and it was a truly beautiful thing. Not only is the scenery expansive and robust, but I have arrived at the conclusion that Polo ponies are perhaps the most fun to ride of all equine athletes. They are alert, very forward, have excellent endurance and listen very closely to their riders.

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