9/11/2006

Joplin, MO to Amarillo, TX

In Amarillo,Texas after a mostly bland day. I didn’t do any site seeing today aside from what was outside of my window at 75mph…and then I got pulled over in Oklahoma City.

So there I am cruising through the city limits of OKC. It’s pretty hot outside, and of course it’s pretty boring. The only thing you can really do is smoke cigarettes, listen to music and smoke marijuana. In my messenger bag on the passenger seat I had an Altoids case with a tiny bit of marijuana in it and a glass pipe; one of those one-hitters that’s pretty much just a less sketchy looking crack pipe. That is left in the front little pocket of the messenger bag, usually zipped up when not in use. At this particular time, presumably because I just used it and well, marijuana makes people stupid and lazy I left the little pocket open. Out of the, erm, blue, flashing lights come up on the ass of my rental car with the New Jersey license plate. Three or four days into this trip and I am unshaven and dirty, and at this very moment high as a kite. This is as close an accurate description of the conversation with the policeman as I can recall. I think it’s pretty close.

License and registration…where you coming from?

Boston

Why do you have a New Jersey license plate?

It’s a rental

Where you heading?

Los Angeles

What’s in Los Angeles?

My father

Are you driving back?

No, I’m flying back

Do you have a plane ticket?

No

How are you flying back?

I am going to print the ticket at the airport kiosk

Where you coming from again?

Boston

You staying with your dad there?

Yes

In Boston?

Yes

I thought you said your dad was in Los Angeles

YES, I am staying with him in Los Angeles

 

(the policeman is leaning in my passenger side window…around this point I look down and notice my messenger bag flap is open and the pipe is clearly in view)

I’ll be right back, I’m going to check out your information

Okay

 

(I need to get the flap on my bag closed somehow while he is at the car so I lean over to shut the glove compartment door and nudge it with my elbow closed…phew?)

Well it looks like your stuff checks out

 

(oh yeah, in my suitcase is a much bigger bag of marijuana. Stuffed into the pocket of a pair of pants)

Okay, thank you sir

Oh, one more thing, do you mind if I look through your trunk?

Sure

 

(I open the trunk and then he tells me to step away from the car. He opens my suitcase and starts lifting things up, including the pants I had the bag in…puts everything back and doesn’t bother with the three smaller bags that could have easily been filled with hands or feet of my “victims”)

Well you’re all set buddy…so Red Sox fan eh? That Manny Ramirez, he’s a character huh? All that hair. I tell you, if he was on my team I’d make him cut it

Yeah, heh.

Well, just remember we do things a little slower down here in Oklahoma

After this I pretty much didn’t stop until I got here in Amarillo. I found this hotel “The Ritz” that was $39.95 a night. The billboard was promising, there was a chandelier pictured on it. Free HBO. All the good shit. I walk in this pretty big place and should have taken my initial feelings of uncertainty after noticing the sign wasn’t lit up. The grand lobby with chandeliers, and a creepy Shining looking ballroom made it seem okay if not a little odd. I pay my money and make my way to the room. I walk in and immediately notice these huge bugs that look like black cockroaches with wings on the curtain and leave the room. (I later learn these are called “Palmetto Bugs”) I tell the guy at the counter I’ve decided to drive through the night.

I find a Holiday Inn that is huge with a pool, courtyard, comfy chairs inside, big TV and all that good stuff for a little more money. No bugs. Aside from these pleasures it sounds like someone is moving a gigantic safe or a big dead horse body across the floor in the room above me. I’m not sure if this is a smoking room or not. It’s interesting smoking in this situation as it’s like you’re on a ski trip in high school and you’re breaking some kind of rule.

Initially I smoked a cigarette in the bathroom with the shower on so the steam would kill the smell. I then smoked by the little porch I have here and then realized it looks out upon a courtyard and someone might see me. Then I realized I was 36 years old and from Massachusetts and could give a shit less what will happen if they figure out I smoked in here tomorrow when I am already 292 miles away from here…and I paid cash.

I must say I am extremely glad I got to see a sunset here in Texas on the drive here. It’s obviously not as nice as a California sunset but it’s better than a Massachusetts one. The road here from Oklahoma City was so straight I forgot how to use my steering wheel for a minute at one point. With nothing in front of you, behind you, or on either side of you it’s impossible to even explain how huge the sky looks. I can’t imagine there is a camera with the ability to capture it how it really is. I took a couple pictures while driving and while at a rest area


Every guy I saw at a rest area, gas station, etc today looked like the kind of guy that would just punch you in the face after telling you how abortion stops a beating heart. That or they looked like the wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. Which I guess is the same kind of deal.

Car is at 2,071 miles now. Windshield and front grill of the car are dirtier than a landlord’s soul.

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