Stillwater, OK to Lubbock, TX: 411 miles.
Music for this leg: a disc containing one cut each from every album on a friend’s Top Ten Desert Island Records, Metallica’s ‘Death Magnetic.’
What I read before bed that night: uh…well, we’ll get to why I couldn’t read….
I hit the road early out of Stillwater but made a quick stop at a convenience store for a banana (and listened to two guys in a battle of the dullwits expound on why some football team or other blah blah blah).
I moved quick through the rest of Oklahoma, including a successful navigation through Oklahoma City. Was quite proud of myself considering I hadn’t been through there in eighty-gabillion years.
Then I hit Texas and it was nirvana. Home. The Sacred Homeland. Aaahhhhh….
The amazing thing was, when I crossed back into Texas, I actually felt the accent come back. All of a sudden, my texts were slower and more drawl-y, my g’s disappeared from the ends of everythin’. ‘Y’all’ and ‘fixin’ to’ exploded back into my vocabulary.
It was like I had no oral control at all.
(Go ahead, get the jokes in now. Best one wins…I don’t know…something.)
So I’m driving along, texting and phoning (how did I ever survive before the advent of tech?), and I find myself in Holliday, Texas. A charming little oil hole of about 28 people.
Got some gas, did a postcard, and – since they had no post boxes – went on a hunt for the post office. Found it, mailed it, and then genuflected at the sign pointing to nearby Archer City (where the brilliant ‘The Last Picture Show’ was filmed) and then –
– found a jail.
You can’t see very well, but the sign at the top says, ‘Holliday Jail, 1925.’
Man, that would’a been some hard time. Two rooms, each about ten by ten with a metal bed and a tiny window on the far side about eight inches tall and eighteen inches wide.
Concrete slabs and locking metal doors.
(note to self: don’t get arrested in Holliday, they just mean)
I snap a few pix and hit the road again – hard – because I’m feeling waaaaaay behind at this point and I’ve got lots of miles to make before dark.
So I speed.
‘Cause that’s…you know…what I do.
But I’m always prepared to take the ticket. I’m always prepared to pay the ticket. I understand how this works. Break the law, pay the fine. I’m good with that.
But it’s been years since I’ve been stopped.
Except…see that Texas Department of Public Safety squad car way down there?
Yeah, well, he saw me.
“Damn…how am I going to tell my Sheriff I got arrested in Texas?”
(actually, this question will come up again, dear reader)
Before he even got behind me, I pulled over, shut the car off, put one hand out the window and the other over the passenger seat headrest, and waited.
For…I don’t know…like half a hundred years or something.
Son of a bitch gets outta his car, checks his hat, the crease in his pants, looks at his watch, and finally gets around to me.
Let me be serious for a minute. I do not flash my badge. Ever. I hate it when other cops do it to me and so I absolutely refuse to do it to others. It’s my line in the sand.
But we are talking about sand.
“License and registration, please.”
“Absolutely,” I said. “But you should know first there is a handgun in this car. It’s unloaded and locked in a box in the trunk.”
He glared at me. “Can we get to the license?”
I was surprised. Never quite had that attitude before. “Sure, my license is in the door panel. Can I reach for it?”
I prefer a more passive-aggressive approach. I’ll lay down a path of clues and if the officer is smart enough to figure them out, rock and roll. If not, no problem, I was speeding anyway. This time, the clues included stopping the car, leaving my hands where he could see them, telling him about the gun, asking to retrieve my license.
Didn’t say I wanted to use an Einsteinian passive-aggressive approach.
He paused for a long moment, then said, “Who you work for?”
“Bureau County Sheriff’s Office.”
“Ain’t no Bureau County in Texas.”
I wanted to say, “Really? You sure? There are 254 counties. Are you absolutely certain there isn’t a Bureau County? After all, there is a Burlson County, and a Burnet County.”
I did not say that. Because I’m at a more respectful place in my life, I try to be tactful (remember that, dear reader, cause when I get to Midland and face off with some wannabe cops, tact goes straight out the fucking window).
So he silently took my license back to his car. When he came back, he snapped my license at me, and said, “Warning on the speed,” and stomped off.
“Have a nice day,” I called after him.
Okay, that last part happened in my head, where I could be full of vim and vinegar and piss.
Suck my aaaaaaasssssssss, was what I really wanted to say to that damn 12-year old and his Chuck Norris bullshit hat (and again, when we get to Midland, that Chuck Norris bullshit hat will make another appearance…actually two Chuck Norris bullshit hats will appear).
Come on, there is no reason to treat anybody that way. If I’ve pissed you off that badly, write me the damned ticket!
So off I go, yelling at various friends on the phone – and texting I’m sure, damn I’ve gotta get better about that – about what a dork he was.
Then, magically, I’m somehow in Lubbock. Jewel of the High Plains.
And it’s only been seven or eight hours. My back is broken, my right ass hurts, my head hurts, I’ve eaten enough aspirin to qualify me for a trip to the ER and a stomach pump.
And I’m cranky.
(I know, right? Hard to believe!)
Entirely ready to get out of the car, I find my Mom’s new house (and she’s sort of offended, I think, that I wasn’t bowled over. She and my aunt have done a ton of work and it’s great work, but it’s a house. Four walls and roof kind of thing. I don’t get too excited.)
Then we had a disagreement over Mexican food. I told her Mamarita’s, great food from back in the day.
“No,” she said, and named another place, a place she’d discovered and wanted me to try.
Aww-ight, let’s give it a snort.
It blew! I mean seriously blew. It was terrible. And I paid! I mean, come on, how’s that work? I don’t mind paying, not at all, but I don’t want it to suck.
We then spent the next little while driving around Lubbock with me playing tourist and rubbernecking. “Ooooh…. Aaaahhhh.” And arguing about the proper name of a highway. Was it the Marsha Sharp Highway…the deserving Texas Tech Women’s Basketball coach who won a national championship? Or was it the Brownfield highway, because it went to Brownfield and had been so named since Moses wandered down off the mountain?
We did not resolve that particular argument. But since she lives there and I don’t…I suspect it’ll remain the Marsha Sharp Highway. Better that than the Bobby Knight Highway (Texas Tech’s other coaching ‘great.’) Or maybe the Bobby Knight Chairway. hehehehe…get it?
And then? Oh, look, kiddies, our time is up.
Because there was simply so much to do and see in Lubbock, I’ll have to continue tomorrow. Really, I didn’t realize how loooooong I could write. Should’a seen that coming, I guess.
But be sure to come back because we have yet to get to the actual book tour reading, wherein Trey and Bryan build meat and cheese trays just like we did twenty damned years ago at Benaglio’s Deli.
Wherein Trey signs boobs.
And there are photos.
Hehehehe…come back tomorrow, boys and girls.