Thursday, November 29, 2007

Slinging Vitriol

I want to start this post with a vilification of the state of Colorado. After spending a fantastic three days in Provo, I set out with Phil, Stephen, Carolyn, and Aubrey Quebe, and Brittany Patterson to drive home to Texas. Like anyone else who has ever sat foot in the state, I have a moral objection to New Mexico. Granted, certain parts of the state are gorgeous. Angel Fire, Santa Fe, the entire northwest part of the state, they're all breathtaking and I have no issue with them. My objection to the state has four main components.

First - the entire eastern part of the state. You know those dates where all of dinner is spent hoping that the waiter will stop by in order to provide some semblance of conversation? Where your date's most scintillating topic of conversation is her marriage prep class; a class where they obviously teach her that the only requirement for marriage is that she have a pair of X chromosomes and a complete inability to offer a response consisting of more than two syllables? Eastern New Mexico is the geographic equivalent of those dates. I have actually tried to fall asleep while driving there because death would be preferable to traveling past another truck stop\porn shop\"authentic Indian crafts" store.

Second - driving on the reservations. Granted, I've only driven through these on weekends, and weekday nights, and weekday mornings and afternoons too. I've never driven through on Arbor Day though, so it would be inaccurate to say that you will always encounter drunk drivers in 1978 Ford pickups on the road. Every time I've driven through, however, I have almost been hit by no fewer than 35 drunk drivers. There are many experiences for which I don't mind tempting death...driving through New Mexico ain't one of them.

Third - doe-eyed little kids who try to sell me cheap trinkets, packs of gum, and "authentic" arrowheads while I'm trying to ingest enough grease-filled food at aforementioned truck stops to anesthetize myself to the soporific effects of the New Mexican scenery outside of my window. I feel like I'm in a third world's humiliating. I half-expect a bunch of starry-eyed European idealist non-profit employees, flush with cash from not having to spend more than .000000001 percent of their GDP on military or defense spending (don't worry, we'll keep defending your borders so y'all can keep up your 15% unemployment rates and 35 hour workweeks) to show up to these New Mexican restaurants and attempt to airlift these little kids back out of the region.

Fourth - tribal casinos. They all have names like "The Proud Indian", "Running Bear Casino", and "The Mighty Chippewa" because these sound better than "Truckers Losing Their Money", "Grandmothers Gambling Away Their Social Security", or "Using Indian Tribes as a Front for Rich White Lawyers Whose Ancestors Probably Took the Land From These Tribes".

For the reasons outlines above, I avoid driving through New Mexico when traveling between Utah and Texas. It's a little bit longer driving through Colorado, but it's much prettier. Therefore, Tuesday morning before setting out on what should have been a 14 hour drive with six people in a Suburban, I checked the weather report to see forecasts of clear skies through Colorado. I must have checked the map for the western fifteenth of the state, because as soon as we passed Grand Junction our speed dropped to 25 miles an hour, visibility dropped to 15 yards, and those numbers maintained their positions for the next 7 hours (197 miles!!) to Denver. The only way we were able to navigate was by reflectors on the side of the road, and the only way we maintained our sanity was by playing old-school Contra on Phil's laptop (a special shout-out to the first one to contact me with the code for 99 lives in that game). Our trip from Provo to Denver ended up taking as much time as our return trip all the way from Amarillo to Provo. After reading this post thus far, I realize that I only want to vilify Colorado's mercurial weather patterns, but that I also want to heap calumny upon New Mexico (already done) and for the inaccurate forecast (suck it,

There. Now that I have fully exorcised the opprobrium from my system, let's get on with it. Thanksgiving was fantastic. It started out with a 9 hour layover in New Jersey. I was initially upset about the length of the stop, but after I realized how close Newark was to NYC, my layover turned into a chance to let Kent Breard III buy me the best BBQ I have eaten outside of Texas. Kent alone was worth the layover, but I decided to avail myself of my presence in Manhattan to buy some fairly homo-suspicious scarves and eat (in addition to the BBQ) two slices of pizza, two hot dogs, one glass of papaya juice, a falafel sandwich, chicken kabobs, an italian sausage, a chocolate cupcake, cup of hot chocolate, oatmeal raisin cookie, and a box of strawberries. This was in 4 hours. I don't care to discuss the matter.

Upon landing in Provo I was reminded why I felt so detached in D.C. Driving past the Modest is Hottest billboards (don't you think they would at least try to find attractive girls for those ads?) from Salt Lake to Provo, I realized that Utah felt like home in a way that I never really expected. That feeling was accentuated by the comfortable and familial air that accompanied everything I did that weekend. The dinners out were fun, Steak Night was an unqualified success (much thanks to Noelle, Jake, my roommates, Rilee, Scott, Heidi, Emily...everyone who helped out, brought stuff, or just came bringing meat). I realized that much of the turmoil I feel over my career choices is exacerbated by the desire I have to stay in Utah, be near the people I have grown to care about, and feel like I'm somewhere where people care about me. After further consideration, I realized that I can only stretch and challenge myself when I have stepped away from everything familiar. I grow too attached and become too accustomed to the people, things, and activities that I enjoy, and I forget about testing myself. By constantly maintaining a foot in my comfort zone, I deny myself the chance to meet and learn from the challenges concomitant with life outside that zone. This realization gave me a new perspective on my time here, as I realize that, regardless of what I do or accomplish, my life has been enriched by the sheer fact that I'm here...that I left.

Anyway, as always, I let this post swell to behemoth size. The next one will be more manageable...and much sooner. I will comment on the suggestions y'all gave me for my life plans and probably rain down more bile on Europe...albeit with scholarly assistance.


Kent Breard III said...

First and foremost...


99 Lives passwords
Y4HC1B L5P212 34ZWF1 - Level 2 w/ 99 lives

WXJD1Z JHSJ1Q KKNCY1 - Level 3 w/ 99 lives

ZWJF1J MGSL1B GP3LQB - Level 4 w/ 99 lives

G3421N TDN51N C3BV2C - Level 5 w/ 99 lives

W3MJ1S J4VP1N YY24BD - Level 6 w/ 99 lives

Level Passwords
111111 TYLH1S 35MYH1 - Level 2 Normal Mode

11111N TYLH1Z FCS5H1 - Level 2 Novice Mode

11111H TYLH1X QTTH1B - Level 3 Normal Mode

111113 TYLH1W BHZXZ1 - Level 3 Novice Mode

11111J TYLH1Z MY1RSB - Level 4 Normal Mode

11111B TYLH1T XLGHSB - Level 4 Novice Mode

11111V TYLH13 2D21LC - Level 5 Normal Mode

11111M TYLH1V CFDJDD - Level 6 Normal Mode

Now on a more personal note, saying that you enjoyed your BBQ with me and then listing your meals after means nothing... the fact that you had one pound of pulled pork, a sweet potato, some of my catfish, some of my mac-n-cheese and corn bread in that BBQ sitting should be expressed. plus you were the best looking date I have been on in a while. you also got the attractive waitress to touch your upper inner thigh to prove to her that your jeans were so tight she would have no room to fit in them... also, for everyones imagination running wild, austin looked EXTRA GAY in the city, not his normal 80% homo look, he was pushing 97% on this particular day. Scarf, News boy cap to the side.... homo! not going to be president of our country looking like that buddy!

Tom said...

What the hell kind of passwords are those? Game Genie?

He means THE code.

The ORIGIONAL Konami code.

The code that has as much meaning for the modern gamer as Phi did for the greeks or as food does to me.

It is recorded in the annals of NES-dom thusly:

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A


All bow before its magnificence

Tom said...

umm.. I can't spell >.<

Tom said...

BTW, here's the link to the wikipedia article on THE CODE:

Anonymous said...

I agree you should post sooner next time.
I find it interesting that you first wanted to die in lieu of driving through New Mexico and were in your next comment affronted that you almost died in New Mexico.
I hope you eat more than that next time you go to New York, you looked a little skinny.
I think it would make life more interesting if you made every other post completly fictitious and we had to guess which was fact and which was fiction.
Just an idea.

jess said...

amen to the hideousness that is new mexico, to your skinny-ass self (eat damn it!), and to the weirdness in feeling that utah is kinda home.

Kent Breard III said...

tom, I have a code for you, its in my pants, down arrow key to find it.

Tom said...

OOOH! Special level, sweet!

emily davis said...

1. i find myself jotting down little notes about the parts of your blog i want to comment on because i don't want to forget in the hour it takes me to read it ;)

2. great story, but does this mean that you were in amarillo & didn't contact me? *making a serious face with lips pulled in, eyes tearing up like i'm officially offended* if this is, in fact, the case, mr. baird, i would like an explanation. or you can just write to me filling my head with bullshit flattery, that always works too ;)

3. i enjoyed reading about how going back to utah made you feel. and it reminded me of when you went to utah because it was such a major change from amarillo, a place to which you were accustomed. but you were able to move forward & utah became your new home with new friends & i know DC can eventually become that for you as well, should you stay there for a while :)

noelle said...

austin, i dont know what it is that your conclusions have come to. please tell me you will come home.... i'm austin deprived

Putin said...

I know by "scholarly assistance" you are alluding to me, Mr. Hyde. Sorry bud, I'm busy winning the war in Iraq. Haven't you noticed?

Philip said...


I told you we should have gone through New Mexico but wouldn't have it. "I can't stand those doe-eyed children selling Chicle", you said. You know, personally, I kind of Chicle.


Anonymous said...

It is so apparent that your Obama vote represents sour grapes over Mitt Romney not being the candidate.