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
I have a few things worthy of reporting. Right this moment I am perched uncomfortably in an aisle seat of a US Airways plane. I paid 37$ extra dollars to change into this seat while checking in, as the seat that had been assigned to me was in the very tail of the plane. Tails of planes don’t bode well for me, uncontrollable nausea leads to rampant vomiting which leads to awkwardness between me and those hapless few seated near me. But now, in my +37$ seat in the very front of the plane, I am pissed, because the plane is half empty. I could have used my will and my legs to move into it free of charge. This is bullshit, Us Airways. I am done with you. *Shakes fist in air.
So where am I going? I am going to Houston, or rather Wharton, Texas! I had never been to Texas, but I just read that Houston is something like the first major U.S. city to have an openly gay & female mayor. A double whammy. That’s darn amazing to my thinking, and in Texas? Who could have imagined such a thing was possible? Progressive, inclusive thinking and a democratic election process based on merit, free from bigotry and sexism is like my catnip. So even though I have also been told that Houston is an utter shithole filled to the brim with pollution and strip clubs, I am very excited to visit this shining example of the modern age. First thing I discovered while peeing, that Houstoneans are quite a wordy bunch, where paper is lacking they see not an obstacle, but an opportunity.
I love airports. I love them for a few reasons, but mostly because the people watching is superb. A complete spectrum of humanity is dished up in all of its glorious variety. If ever Aliens needed a good sampling of the human species they could just abduct the contents of one airport and be done with it.
I take airporting very seriously, I spend a dubious amount of time trying to figure out what to wear to the airport and doing something to my hair so that it falls just so atop my head. Most of the times allI can come up with are pajamas and unkempt pixie buns, but whatever I decide on has to fit the mood just right. It’s not so much a vanity thing, as an exercise in disguise. Alas, I am not at all happy with my outfit today. The airplane is very chilly, at least I am glad to be wearing long sleeves, as is my custom. One important rule of airport fashion is to wear things that offer full coverage to skin, as you simply don’t want to be touching anything here. Trust me.
Now for a little racism. 😛 Originally, before everyone dispersed evenly across the half empty plane, I sat in a row with two gentlemen. One very Asian and elderly, quite like Mr. Miyagi, the other very Mexican and somewhat surly.
The Mexican man is wearing a slightly ornate, pinstriped dress shirt; extra tight, dark navy jeans and a hand tooled brown belt to match his brown, alligator skin, sharp nosed shoes. He has on Prada sunglasses and a Louis Vuitton carry on, the checkered kind not the monogram. He keeps looking at me slyly but obviously, it’s not the slickest operation I’d ever been subjected to. I imagine in Mexico he is quite the stud, the ladies must get slayed by the barrel full.
Both have some appearance of FOBishness, and I am not saying this derogatorily, it’s just an observation. To my surprise and thorough amusement, when the Asian man finally spoke to me, I discovered that his is the tongue exactly like that of my Californian compatriots, every bit of his diction and cadence smacked of a Malibu surfer dude. It made my brain giggle uncontrollably. A few minutes later the Mexican man had occasion to utter a few words as well, he needed to use the lavatory, and once again I blinked confusedly as he sounded like my college English lit professor. Perhaps I should quit racially profiling….naaah that’d be no fun. I love surprises. America, the land of so many and so varying, I love thee.
I am ready for this plane to land, I am almost entirely out of sustenance. So far I had eaten 2 bags of chips, a rather hearty sandwich, a bag of M&Ms,one of those hummus snack packs, some grapes and some pretzels. I have Bugles left and Sprees. I am starting to get weird looks from everyone who has me in their sights. I am a bored plane eater. Sorry. Jeesh. Shameful plane behavior, like gratuitous overeating is part of the airporting experience. A part I love.
Back to where I am going. I am going to Wharton to hang out & ride ponies with my friend Radikah at a Polo farm which is currently employing her. Wharton is a very small town as far as I understand, and now that I am driving my little rental car over to it, I have realized that it is 1.5 hours away from Houston and literally in the middle of nowhere! First thing I did was I Googled the nearest Starbucks. T’is 28 miles away, ladies and gents. That noise you just heard piercing the atmosphere, was my screaming. Although Raddy has extended her hospitality to me, I can’t stay with people ever, I can’t even share a hotel room due to my social issues, of which I have plenty. So I booked a motel room in Wharton 2 miles away from the Polo club. It’s one of the fancier options, as far as I could tell, from the overwhelming list of 3 in total. And walking into the lobby, I am not disappointed. Splendor, thy name is Country Hearth Inn.
I have no plans except to enjoy some nature, to ride crazy Polo ponies to my heart’s content, embarrass myself trying to play Polo, partake in various tomfoolery with Raddy, on and off horse back, & of course try not to melt from excessive humidity that everyone talks about….excessively. I will be reporting every bit of my impressions on here. It’s going to be AWESOME. 😀
P.S. Right as I arrived a foal was born. It was equal part beautiful and disgusting.