Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 August 2006

Road Trip: Day Four

There are next to no pictures from day four and the reason for that is singular and specific: both Julie and I were fairly miserable on Day Four. Things started to sort of fall apart about the house closing on time and both of us were getting tired from driving so much all day. Add to that, that Tuesday was easily the ugliest drive that Julie and I had during our whole trip and Tuesday was the longest day of driving we had: about ten hours in all.

It started off okay, we went to the Thunderbird-recommended Marfa breakfast spot The Brown Recluse (named after the spider, doncha know), where I had a really good breakfast burrito filled with fresh onions, tomatoes and jalapeños. I got gas, Julie got water, and then it was off to Houston. No small feat. We drove and drove and drove—almost all of the way on I-10 (read: most of the way was fucking ugly and boring.) We did finally get into Houston suburbia around 4:30p, just in time for rush hour. We had a panicked time on toll roads (I'm not used to this exact change bullshit. I don't have quarters hanging around in my car: I save that shit for laundry.) And we got to Rockin' Baja Lobster a little before 6:00p.

My friend Jensen works at this joint. He worked at one in Newport Beach CA. The company hired him to come out to Houston to train everybody when the manager of the Houston one surreptitiously gave his notice, leaving Jensen holding the proverbial bag. The company paid him to move to Houston and take over and move he did. Jensen bought me and Julie dinner and both of us drank beer after beer and I ate an enormous platter of some Lobster enchilada concoction that had no flavor at all. The beer was good, but that's all I really have to say about my Rockin' Baja's experience. Maybe I should have got a bucket of lobster instead. If I ever go again, I'm shelling out the money for a proper bit of seafood. (Get it: shelling out? Whatever.)

Back to the beer: the best Texas beer I had was Shiner Bock. I did try Lone Star in honor of the James McClure one-act, but I was unimpressed. It's mild and boring, with less flavor than Budweiser. I want to say this about Texas beer, too. All of the big, boring national beers like Miller, Michelob and Bud have special Texas beer bottles. Somewhere on the label it'll say "Texas True" or "Real Texas Beet" or some dumbshit thing like that. And the more I looked around in Texas the more I began to realize that Texas, more than any other place I've ever been (except for maybe Las Vegas) is totally obsessed with itself. I mean, completely. All of these billboards claim "Real Texas Beef" and "Texas-born and Texas-bred" and "Texas's Real Ketchup." I'm not exaggerating. How can they be that proud of their state? Really. I mean, I think California is pretty fucking cool, but I'm not going to stick a "California Pride" sticker on my Honda. Do we even have those? I can't even think about an instance where I've seen a huge display of California patriotism. But let me tell you: Texans are all about Texas. It's self-obsession in the extreme and to my mind, really stupid and rather misplaced. It's hot in Houston. Hot and muggy: hotter and muggier than Tallahassee. Julie and I both hated it.

Anyway, no pictures of Jensen and me (because I'm an idiot) and no pictures of the Texas countryside (because I didn't want to take any.) But Julie did take this photograph at some point during the day while we were going around 90 mph:


Julie and I stayed with Jensen on Tuesday night, which was very generous of him and he and I stayed up late to watch Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy, a movie he and I quote endlessly to one another, but which we've never watched together. It was a milestone.

All of the rest of Texas made both of us remember Marfa even more fondly. It's such a bright spot in an otherwise rather dismal state. Here's a link to a whole bunch of Marfa miscellania, including a picture of that Prada store I told you about yesterday.