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

writing

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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Chapter 5: When things got weird

writing

Ch 5

             It was impossible not to stare at them. A small girl of nine or ten with her right hand firmly planted on the back of a mangy skeletal hound was slowly crossing the street. The dog was enormous, almost as tall as the child and, judging from appearance, in a truly pitiful state of health. It was thin and gaunt, with ribs prominently displayed through paper-thin layer of ashy skin and a sharply protruding spine beneath patches of strange grey fur. It was either very old, very sick or both. On the contrary the little girl brimmed with health. Her skin was pink, almost peachy; wispy auburn hair covered her shoulders in a cascade of curls, she moved her tiny feet pointing her toes, like a little dancer. Even from a distance I could see her bright eyes shining like tiny ambers from beneath long thick eyelashes. The duo had such a peculiar quality to them that even I, in my state of heightened self-involvement, forgot myself for a minute, stopped and marveled at them making their way to my side of the street. When they came closer I was surprised to discover two things, the dog was even uglier and more handicapped than I had imagined, both of its eyes were glossed over with a thick white film, and the beautiful little girl walking by its side was, in reality, an even more beautiful boy. The animal was obviously blind, and the boy’s hand was moving it along. He was a “guide boy” I thought, an ironic reversal of roles between a human and his dog. Having cast off all considerations for that social convention, which since early childhood instructs us not to stare, I stood there, watching them approach. They were like something out of a fairy tale or from another time, so out of place on this otherwise unremarkable Los Angeles block.

When they were about half way across the street I realized that the little boy seemed just as interested in me as I was in him. Unapologetically staring back into my face he floated towards me, right up to the point when there was no more than 3 feet of pavement left between us, at which time he stopped and shifted his eyes to the shopping bag in my hand. A bottle of cheap Vodka, prominently displayed itself against its transparent plastic containment. If it didn’t occur to me to feel self-conscious right then, the words that proceeded to come out of his tiny pink mouth turned me scarlet red.

“Drink much?” Was all he said, but those two words spoken in that little girl voice made all the blood in my body rush straight to my face.

“What?” I thought It had to have been a misunderstanding, I must have misheard him.

But he just stood there, unabashedly staring me down. It was an uncomfortable, unexpected turn of events. This child managed to go from an enchanting little fairy tale prince to an obnoxious little shit in as much time as it took him to blurt out those two words. I could tell that I really didn’t have a choice but to extricate myself from this situation. Whether he said what I thought he said, or not, getting into it with a little kid in the middle of the street wasn’t going to help matters. I had enough sense left in me to just walk away. Completely dumbfounded, I stiffly turned on my heels and started walking in the apposite direction from whence he came.

“Surreal, completely surreal” I mumbled to myself.

Despite best efforts to free my mind from the echo of that condescending little voice, it seemed to have stuck to me, as unnerving in its residual state as it was when I first heard it. But if that wasn’t enough, the bizarre duo itself turned out to have been just as persistent. When quite some time later I heard footsteps nearby and looked over my shoulder, I saw them trailing behind me, about 30 feet away. Agitated by the discovery I quickened my stride and in a few minutes checked for them again, the distance between us had not increased. Were they intentionally keeping pace? I wasn’t in any kind of a mood to be haunted by some snotty little asshole and his ugly stray. I stopped abruptly, whipped around and glared straight at them.

“Listen, Lord Fauntleroy, where are you parents? What do you think you are doing? Where are your parents?” I shouted, the sound of my own voice surprised me, it was incredibly high, like a shrill. His reaction was not at all what I expected either. Instead of looking intimidated or scared, like a child ought to look when faced with an angry, spitting adult, this boy let out the most wholehearted and boisterous laugh. He laughed! At me?

“Parents? Ha Ha Ha! Where are your parents? Do they know what you’ve been up to? Anyways, other people have business this way too, you really ought to do something about the paranoia.”

He sounded nothing like a 10 year old, and nothing like a stranger. I blinked stupidly fast, hoping that added eye lubrication would assist me in clarifying this entire conundrum, maybe I knew him from somewhere, or maybe he wasn’t a child at all but some kind of a little person. Still in front of me stood a strange small boy and a large ugly dog, and his angelic appearance did not match his insolent tongue. I found myself in exactly the same situation I was in the first time around with only one mature course of action-to leave. So once again I turned around and walked on. But he wasn’t done with me.

“And Charly, you ought to hurry, it’s about to rain.”

My eyes widened to the point of a facial spasm. The last time I felt frightened like that I was 7, my sister had put on a scary clown mask with long sharp teeth and jumped out from under my bed as I was climbing into it. I remember feeling then just like I did now, convinced that she was something otherworldly, I had taken off running out of my room screaming for help. When I heard my name, spoken so nonchalantly in that little voice by that little stranger, my feet reacted, running away with me as fast as they could, just like I did when I was 7. Thankfully I wasn’t far from my hotel so my new pace allowed me to reach it within a couple of minutes. Ducking in under its awning I stopped and leaned on the gilded front doors, trying to catch my breath. Finally I dared to look back for the first time since I set off sprinting like a mad woman. To my relief the street behind me was empty; there was no trace of the runt or his dog. I squinted and stuck my head out into the street, trying to peer out further than my sight would allow, a drop of water fell on my face, I wiped it off with the back of my hand, but one more drop fell in its place, the next thing I knew rain was pouring from the sky. As predicted.

Revolt, escape, FREEDOM!..or..Reclamation of SANITY!

writing

Today I decisively reclaimed my sanity. I showed up at my stable at 7:30 am. Tacked up my horse. Jumped on her back and rode out of that hellhole, without a word to anyone. Sayonara bitches! I do not have a trailer, and did not have the time or want the hassle of arranging for one, so I grabbed a map and devised a route. We rode 4 miles through the city to my new barn destination, would have been 3.5 had we not gotten turned around. Some would say radical, but it was mostly just liberating. I’m sure it was a weird sight, a giant horse toting around a girl through streets and suburbs. But for me it was perfect, until, despite all of my planning, we got lost. At first it seemed a lot like a set-back, until we came upon a ravine I had never seen before, concealed as it were in a wash, below and between streets. Green at its floor and wide open ahead, it beckoned we lay foot to its soil and reconnoiter. It wasn’t a setback, it was a gift…and we accepted. There was gallop. Hooves bouncing rhythmically from grass, warm waves of air brushing against skin, blood rose to head and freedom to mind, sanity was once again firmly within our grasp.

 In my recent blog entry titled “Proximity over sanity” I had described the unfortunate circumstances of my horse’s lodgings. To sum it up, due to considerations of proximity I had subjected myself to continual indecency from the two “women” who own/run the stable. These two have over time proven themselves to be completely deranged, mostly rude, never helpful, seldom civil.

 For months I had walked on eggshells, tolerated being the subject of untrue gossip, endured castigating outbursts and unfounded suspicion. Boohoo, poor me. I know. Stay with me though. Riding had taken a backseat to escalating anxiety, to keeping a low profile, to worrying about the welfare of my equine child. I don’t mean to come of as a victim, but there is a frailty to my composition, which stems from being raised by good, decent, intelligent people. That’s the thing about a stable upbringing, it can be a hindrance in an unstable world. It precludes people like myself from developing the coping mechanisms necessary for fending off those people unlike myself. I should have thicker skin by this point, as my world-the horse world, is full of folks who would greatly benefit from a spell in a mental health sanitarium or, at least, a lithium prescription. But I don’t. I think in this way I’ll always be a bit of a delicate flower :P.

Being treated like dirt, it just doesn’t become me, and, on the few occasions in the past, I tried to fight fire with fire, mean with mean, insult with insult, but I felt so much unlike myself that it was not even worth it. The trouble is, somehow the ratio of crazy to sane is sorely disproportionate in the horse world. The greatest, most unifying flaws in horse people character are, in my opinion, lack of humility, perspective and restraint, in the worst-case scenario they are vicious too. In general, I’ve found also, that those, who lay claim to being paragons of kindness and compassion, tend to be the worst kind of snakes, most proficient at inflicting hurt. I am no saint, but I simply can’t attack people, not even in retaliation. I don’t want to wound them, to hurt them using their shortcomings or insecurities. I just don’t, I can’t. CAN ANYONE RELATE? This leaves me feeling defenseless and without any recourse, short of avoidance. But being a horse gal, I don’t have the luxury of avoiding horse folks. Sigh. Anyways, I digressed. I’ll have to expatiate on all the reasons for which I dislike human kind in a separate blog entry, eponymously titled Misanthropy Misunderstood. 😀

Thanks for reading.

Blogging for affection..or..How to avoid the cat vomit curse!

humor, writing

IMG_7311.PNG if it’s not entirely obvious, I am new to the blogging endeavor. My original intention was to write for myself and for relief. I am afflicted, like many others I’m sure, with the trouble of excess thinking. Blogging presented an attractive avenue for relieving that pressure in my head, which gets built up by thoughts, feverishly multiplying with no regard for the spatial limitations of my dainty, girly cranium. Blogging whatever, whenever, but on a daily basis, seems also like a good writing exercise and a fun distraction not without therapeutic value.

Furthermore, I had devised a theory, that blogging every day could be a gateway mechanism to writing every day. It is simple enough right? To date, my creative process has been exclusively governed by fickle caprices of inspiration. I have been wholly at her frantic whim. What better tactic is there for revolt, than the establishment of a writing routine. If I could only form a daily ritual of writing, develop a habit, then maybe I can be free from inspiration’s mercurial clutches and finally finish that cursed book I’ve been writing for over five years. This was the plan, it was a good plan, until I started receiving the occasional “such & such has followed your blog” email. Those I did not anticipate, neither did I foresee the regrettable effect they would have on me. Suddenly I am confounded with the shameful realization that I want more of those emails. I thought I wouldn’t care about that element of blogging, the audience, but in all honesty, I find that I do. It has come as a surprise. It runs quite contrary to my Misanthropic conformation, presenting with the potential for a full-fledged identity crisis. Oh ok, ok, so I am exaggerating, not a full-fledged crisis, I am not that brittle, but it is very troubling. I now seek the approval of strangers?! Is that a pig soaring through the atmosphere?!

Suddenly I find myself concerned with such things, as whether the randomness of my writing runs counter to my new ambition of having/gaining readers, readers who “Like” “comment” and generally participate. Do I need to pick a lane? What is my ambition exactly anyways? Do I want all the readers I can get my hands on or do I want to reach and resonate with those who are most like myself e.g. the misanthropes, the misfits, the over thinkers, the creatives, the hermits? Trolling around WordPress this past week, I have found that lots of bloggers talk about the importance of a consistent blogging tone and subject, they even apologize to their readers if ever they opt to change their writing style. God knows that won’t and can’t be me. I will always reserve the right to unapologetically rant about whatever, whenever, however. Does that mean that I won’t be successful at finding an audience? Oy. Additionally, I wish bloggers who are about some kind of marketing, SEO or otherwise, would STOP “Following” me. I will not follow them back or subscribe to their services. It is a deceptive and intrusive practice and I completely hate it after just a week of my stay in the Bloggisphere. It is SPAM!

Bottom line is, if you read to this point, then obviously you find my prose irresistible, so you have to “Follow” my blog, OR ELSE….or else your cat will get a serious case of upset stomach and throw up partially digested mouse parts all over your house. A pungent stench of catguts will indelibly permeate your residence, forcing you to move out and decreasing the value of your home by at least 40% from its current market value…..or worse, rendering it entirely unsellable. That would be a real shame wouldn’t it? No one wants that to happen to you, less than I. ;P