Saturday, August 30, 2008

ain't that America

Oh, what a strange, wonderful country we live in. I say this from a Fairfield Inn room in Amarillo, Texas, after a fairly decent mini-dinner and glass of wine at Olive Garden. I did NOT want to stay in Texas and had a reservation in Oklahoma City. But I had a sleepless night, probably still from altitude sickness, and I'm amazed that I got this far, about 340 miles, compared to the 500 I had intended which would keep me on schedule. But there is NOTHING between here and OK City, and that is 4 hours away. I lost an hour with the central time change and I decided to stay in Amarillo and try to make the time up in the next two days.

Now, Amarillo is hardly an interesting or beautiful city. I-40 runs right through the middle of it and if you want to get to something on the eastbound side, you need to go under the highway to get there from the westbound side. Olive Garden was crowded, since it's Saturday night, but I was able to order (appetizers only) food at the bar. There I met and chatted with Sunny, who has rather tepid dreadlocks (Sunny is a white girl,) a button that reads "One Love" (when asked about this, she pointed to her dreadlocks- Bob Marley fans take note) and an intention to get a PhD in "Positive Psychology." I asked her what that was and she explained that there's only one program, at UPenn, and it was meant to concentrate not on the dysfunction, but on the positive nature of things. That was before I saw the bill that had her name on it, and I said, a little incredulously, "Your name is Sunny?" Sunny also is a poet and told me very animatedly about the poetry slams and how she goes to Albuquerque for culture. Since I had just driven from there and was exhausted, I was surprised at this.

Amarillo has an iconic art piece, Cadillac Ranch. I had wanted to stop and take a pic, but I was distracted and noticed the exit without having enough room to get off the highway. Since I have just passed through the town called "Bushland," (I swear I'm not making that up) and the first car I noticed in the lot has a McCain sticker, I was surprised when I turned on the TV and the show that is on is called "Not Just Another Cable News Show," and is skewering all politicians, particularly W., playing the famous clip of him trying to dance on "Malaria Awareness Day," and the equally wonderful "Fool me once, shame on can't get fooled again" clip.

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