I drove through miles and miles of Oklahoma today, finally reaching Missouri. You want to see red state folks in their element? Pull into a truck stop on a Sunday. Is it rude to keep your cowboy hat on during lunch? I guess not in Oklahoma. The place was packed with families. A parade of moms with babies in carriers and an odd assortment of young and old grizzled cowboys. Why did I stop there, you might wonder? A very sweet old guy, at least in his 80's, suggested it. I had chatted with him outside another truck stop in Texas. He lived in Amarillo and was driving a brand new Prius. He was tickled with it- wanted to retrofit it somehow to plug it in so he'd never have to buy gas. He said he'd been an engineer and thought he could do it if he could get the parts. I said he could probably find the info on the internet. How life has changed. The car of the future, he said.
When you sit at the counter, you hear the wait staff complain to each other. There were some nasty women at the truck stop. One was telling another how when people don't get their check quick enough, they just leave money, and they never count on the tax, so she had to make it up herself (tips aren't even expected, I guess.) The other one said, "oh, I'd never pay it myself, I'd just change the amount on the check." An overweight blonde in a ponytail she was way too old to wear was particularly rude to me, but super friendly to some old coot who came in and ordered soup and a grilled cheese.
Can these people tell I'm from New York? And do they hate us that much? Here's a really weird thing that happened. I pulled into a rest area and was distracted by another Prius in the lot- thus running over a bunch of glass. Shit, I thought, and got on my hands and knees to make sure there wasn't a piece that could be smooshed into the tire. While there, a car pulled in that had a horse trailer behind it. Young-ish guy gets out with his son, motions to him to watch out for the glass, looks over at me, and spits on the ground. SPITS. What am I to make of this? Not one person spoke to me at any of my stops, except to say "excuse me" when opening the ladies room door and almost smacking me, just behind it.
As I have often said, all New Yorkers should have to make a trip cross-country. Big reality check. In my experience, past and present, Texans are rather friendly and helpful. Okies, other than those in Ok City, are useless.