Thursday, January 12, 2006

The other big "D"

Oh yeah! i knew i had something to discuss. tuesday night, i drove to dallas to pick up a friend who's going to help me drive to arkansas this weekend. it was a halfway spot that we agreed upon and it really didn't take long... but i digress.

it was my first time traveling that far north on I 45. i went to huntsville as an undergrad and that's been about it. i think i've been to dallas 4 times in my life--one of 'em was a layover at DFW--and i've always come from louisiana on I 20. i made a lot of observations along the way:

1. there's too much "big" stuff- i hate water towers, cell towers, really big tvs, large waving flags, etc. that damn statue of sam houston in huntsville almost sent me into cardiac arrest. and then, closer to dallas, there's a drive-in theater and you can see those big old, looming screens from the freeway. with images flashing on them! like judgment day and God is replaying scenes from your pitiful life... well, anyway, my skin crawled in earnest. there was also a tall, uneven fence, some water towers, what looked like a huge oil derrick, and just shit thrown up to freak out mental cases like me. and did i mention that statue? ugh!

2. i think there's water along the way- i don't know, it was dark, but there was fog rising off something, and if there's one thing i can't stand, it's driving over water. i can deal with the bridges--like going to new orleans from either houston or from north louisiana or that bridge they used to have over the ouachita when you drove into monroe. i don't like them, i imagine plunging to my death, but i can deal with them. but driving over water that's almost even with the freeway? oh my God! that is a result of two things: driving to galveston ONE TIME as an undergrad and a recurring nightmare in which i simply drive into a body of water at the end of a road and alligators (or crocodiles--i don't know the difference even in my nightmares) get my ass. i always wake up before they snap into me, thank God. but that's a real phobia of mine-- i even have dreams in which someone lets a crocogator into my house and it corners me in my bedroom.

3. where the hell is the city? - true, it was 11 pm, but i didn't even get lost (like i still do in downtown houston)! i saw the signs saying dallas-35 miles, 32 miles, 26 miles, and still no vast display of urbanization. i mean, i'm not the city expert, but when i'm coming from home back to houston, you're "in the city" 50 miles before you're "in the city." maybe dallas's urban sprawl isn't southbound on 45. maybe it's east bound on 20. i vaguely remember being more impressed coming from that direction. of course, anything is more impressive when you're coming from podunk, la.

4. apparently, there's a different culture up there - aside from the brutal assault on words that end in -ere. a few miles outside of dallas, i saw a sign that said "national security threat" and i thought, god, what HAS osama done now?! but as my eyes scrolled downward, the sign said "report illegal workers" and "the job you save may be your own." i hate that i didn't memorize the toll-free number. is it just me? is that sign not a wee bit offensive? is this really a national security issue? IMHO, it'd be a bigger security issue for some of us if immigrants didn't take these jobs. i mean, come on! despite the fact that he got called out, vicente fox had a point about the kinds of jobs "illegal" workers take. some of them are the nuts-and-bolts work required to sustain this country and few of our spoiled asses want those!

needless to say, barring an emergency, i won't be traveling to dallas on 45 anytime soon.

at least not until they consider moving Mr. Houston back from the roadway a bit. but could you imagine that head looming over some trees and the body obscured?

i need a drink!


Courtney said...

I've noticed the "where is the city?" situation on my two recent drives up 45. Turns out, it's all to the west and north. Down south, there's nothing. I don't know why. But my sister lives a good 45 minutes outside of Dallas on the north side and she's in suburban sprawl like you cannot believe.

Courtney said...

Oh! And on Big Sam, I can't help but mention that to keep Maya entertained on the road, I used the old mommy trick of telling her to keep a lookout for some big landmark coming up. Her victorious announcement as follows:

"I see the big white man! I see the big white man!" M thought it hilarious and wanted her to change it to just "the man."

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...