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.
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.
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.
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.
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