Tag Archives: the south

The People You Meet and / or Avoid on the Greyhound

greyhound

greyhound

The woman rigidly sitting upright wearing dark glasses. She mutters continuously while staring straight ahead and has long straw-like yellow hair and a basket covered in a trash bag.

The man who stands in the glass doorway with his arms inside his sleeves and his hands down his pants.

The man with growths all over his body and a woman too wide in the ass region to step through a door without turning sideways. She yells at him and asks him lots of questions, almost like she’s quizzing him.

The woman that sat next to me and looked like a raisin. She said she’d been on the bus for four days coming back from Tampa to visit her mother who was 99 and dying. Terrible cough, delirious with sleep deprivation, fingernails long and textured, and a terrible itch on her left wrist that she would scratch for minutes on end, her dry skin rasping and flakes that would fly off and cover her purse, which she would then scratch/brush onto the ground. Yum. A nice person, though.

The young male hippie with a small backpack, no cell phone, and stringy hair.

The Australian woman traveling with Apple products.

The chatty Kentuckian with two tattoos with two different men’s names and a vaporizer that she’s passionate about who eats an entire Cinnabon then complains that her stomach is hurting.

The man who can’t get his change out of the Greyhound ticket machine and threatens to come in and run it over if he doesn’t get his money back.

The bus driver who likes to be called Todd and not bus driver.

The man with a laptop sitting in front of me who battled Greyhound wi-fi for the entire ride from Greenville to Charlotte.

Everyone else (like me) just trying to get from point A to point B.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Hello Styrofoam. I Think You’re Trying to Kill Me but I’ll Still Drink Coffee Out of You.

Styrofoam

Styrofoam

Before I start, let me be clear that I know nothing about styrofoam and its affect on my health. Everything I know about styrofoam comes from whatever liberal pseudo-science they put in the water in San Francisco and something my babysitter said to me when I was in 5th grade about how microwaving styrofoam can give you cancer. Since then, I’ve researched and learned nothing.

That said, styrofoam was a part of my childhood. I ate school lunches off of it, microwaved leftovers on it, and drank all kinds of beverages from it. I once tore up a styrofoam cup and put it in a shoebox for the famed engineering challenge of creating an egg crate that would protect an egg from a 20 foot drop. Styrofoam did not work, but it sure was staticky.

I moved to San Francisco about two years ago and had kind of forgotten about styrofoam. It’s banned from restaurants in San Francisco and styrofoam cups, plates, and trays are a rarity. Through an assimilation process that’s been going on since my arrival, I’ve gradually learned to associate styrofoam with Bible thumping conservatives, anti-education monsters, and death. At no point was any of this directly said to me. It’s just what happens when you’re in San Francisco long enough and drink enough locally roasted coffee (from ceramic cups of course.)

Now that I’m traveling in areas that are not protected from styrofoam, I’ve started using it again. I drink coffee from it and I want to say that everything’s fine, and that nothing has changed and I’m still the same woman from Oklahoma who doesn’t care about cancer caused by heating up styrofoam but I’m not and I do.

I think the styrofoam is probably killing me. I think it makes the coffee taste weird and dissolves into it when the coffee is too hot, and then those styrofoam molecules turn into cancer in my body that can activate at any point. I’m afraid of the styrofoam cup but I’m more afraid of how terrible I’ll feel if I don’t take coffee to go from breakfast. It’s a choice of two evils, and one promises death in the future, and the other promises a nasty headache until dinner.

I think the correct path is clear.

So I’m on to you styrofoam. I know you’re trying to kill me but you won’t get me before I flee back to my Bay Area styrofoam free sanctuary. Until then, I’ll see you for breakfast.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Country Music: Proud of Itself

wranglers at Deer Valley Ranch, the former vacation destination of our family

In many parts of the country, a fondness for country music brings a plague upon one’s career and friendships. Country music, outside its native habitat, is as popular as pungent body odor in small vehicles. It is to be masked and not spoken of, its producer’s cheeks reddening in shame and the rest embarrassed to be in the presence of such a foul substance.

Despite the widespread prejudice, country music actually isn’t all that bad. While growing up in OK, I listened to and resented country music all the time, since most of my family members enjoyed it and would play it relentlessly on the radio and at home. Years later at Boston University, this caused the bizarre sensation of both revulsion and pride whenever I heard a country song.

The revulsion resulted from years of carefully practiced loathing, and the pride came from me belonging to something different than the rest of my mostly coastal colleagues. Eventually I came to appreciate the twang-infested music as something unique to the specific subculture in which my adolescence was submerged and an art form that can be quite beautiful in those rare instances where it is done properly. And when it is not beautiful, it is generally hilarious.

Mostly for the ha-has, I’ve been drinking in the country music as much as possible during these short weeks in Oklahoma, but I have realized that a lifetime would not be enough to fully understand the breadth and depth of the genre. Where else do you find such tender descriptions of trucks, tractors, and other vehicles of labor? In this modern music wasteland, what other than country music will dare to describe innocent love in barns, hayfields, and blue jeans? What about all the myriad ways whisky, Jesus, and America are intimately connected with the problems one has while courting the farmer’s daughter?

What I most admire about country music, however, is its ability to admire itself. Since the dawn of the genre, it has been lauding the country lifestyle and the country way, in small towns full of simple, country men and women that like to do country things.

Songs like “I Got My Country On,” by Chris Cagle, “These Are My People,” by Rodney Atkins, “Where I Come From” by Montgomery Gentry, and “Where I Come From” by Alan Jackson, among many others, celebrate a rustic problem free, healthcare free lifestyle. In this highly fictionalized country world, there’s a lot of front porch sitting (AJ) with preacher men in cowboy shirts (MG). It’s where people do things with their own two hands (CG) and give this life everything they have and then some (RA). It’s a wonderful, wonderful, place, and anyone listening to this music would probably imagine a haven of small town goodness, unspoiled by the modern world.

While modernity may not have touched it, the world in which country music lives and from which it sprouts has unfortunately been spoiled by high divorce, obesity, diabetes two, and poverty rates.

However, I am confident that a genre with such hits as “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” “Jesus Take the Wheel,” and “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” will have the creative energy necessary to face this rampant decay with some great ho-down tunes that will get knees a poppin’, heads a bobbin,’ and boots a stompin’.

If you have any other winning country music titles, please feel free to pass them along and I’ll see you down at the barn for the next line dance.

Picture Credit: Trip Advisor

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: