Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Big D(eeeeez Nuts)

Well I guess I'm firmly planted in the Big D, although I'm still trying to gain traction in this 32,314,778 horse town. I've officially consolidated into one living space, taking early leave of my ultra-swank temporary corporate housing in favor of having at least one pair of matching socks in just one central location. It was hard to give up the car-wash showers and living room-to-kitchen monorail, but I'm a one-residence kinda guy, even if that residence is filled mostly with self-assembly Target furniture.

I think I'll like it here. And I'm not just saying that because I watched that "Optimism in the Face of Unbelievably Bad Situations" documentary 10 minutes ago and I'm all jazzed up on coffee and Adderall. There are things I've found that I'm definitely impressed with (the amount of plastic surgery per square mile is not one of them, but I'll get to that).

Here is one:

This is White Rock Lake, and while it's true that it doesn't always look quite this "nut in your running shorts" spectacular, it's actually a pretty good place to run. This is a good thing because I've got to have decent running circumstances or I go crazier than a taunted San Francisco Zoo tiger.

There are a few things, however, about the Big that I find a little unsettling, if not downright abrasive. They are as follows in no particular order:

Concrete/Roads/Interstates/Shopping Centers/Toll-Ways as far as the eye can see

Seriously, it's friggin' concrete jungle. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you or crazy. Either way you should push their face into the ground and run away. I've never seen so many Bed Bath & Beyonds in a 2 mile radius. I guess if I have some sort of bath-mat emergency I'll be all set as long as I can figure out which 3 toll roads connect to the highway that leads to US 35E-W-NS-Business-E. But if I miss it I can always make a left and catch Mockingbird S and loop around on the Dallas North Tollway and HOLY F I'M LOSING MY MIND!!!!

What could be worse? How about:

Blind, All-Encompassing Materialism

It's been said that there's more plastic surgery per square mile in Dallas than in L.A. I don't know if that's true or not, but I have noticed that the douche-bag factor here is extremely high for a state that is technically below the Mason-Dixon line. This city is all about what you're driving, what you're wearing, where you live, who you're banging, what the person you're banging is wearing and driving, and so forth. Personality is an afterthought and the concept of intellect seems to be avoided like the plague. Unless you don't drive a Mercedes E-Class that is, then it's obvious that you're just stupid.

Anyway, with all this obsession with appearances and what-not at least the people must be pretty fit and active, right?


Texas is One of the Fattest States in the Union

Tenth fattest in 2007 to be exact.

Nobody here really seems to care about fitness. Maybe it's because you can get 8 lbs of beef brisket for $0.35. Or maybe it's because there's plenty of room in everyone's Ford F-750 dually trucks to comfortably hold all the love handles and double chins you can squeeze in there and still fit comfortably into those over sized Texas parking spaces (this is true - these parking spaces are GIGANTIC!). And even if it doesn't fit, well hells-bells, just drive 3 blocks down the street to the next Target. I hear they have oatmeal cream pies on special and all the cashiers are Texas natives.

But at least everyone is friendly, right?:

Hi! Okay, never mind I guess..

So far I've waved and/or smiled at every runner I've passed (which, granted, is not that many). I've yet to even get an acknowledgment. I mean, I'm getting totally ghosted here. Maybe I've been spoiled with all that southern hospitality into thinking that people shouldn't give you the stink-eye just because you said hi to them out there on the street. Call me ol' fashioned I guess.

So, in summary, there are a few things in the Big that I've got to get used to and/or change. But, I like to consider myself somewhat of an adaptive and resilient creature and I'm sure I'll make Texas home. It's always tough when you're in a situation where everything around you is new and different. All your familiarity and comfort zones are stripped from you and you're forced to build new friendships, find new places, and just generally situate yourself again in a place that is much bigger and flatter than those quaint Dilworth streets that are quickly seeming like such a distant memory..

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Well my time in Charlotte has officially wound down to the last few Sweet Carolina moments. If my time in the QC was a roll of toilet paper I would officially be well into the frustrating little gluey pieces that stick to the roll to tell you that, A.) It's time to change the roll, B. )There's got to be a better place for the spare shit-tickets than all the way down the hall, and C.) You thought you were a gambling man but three shreds of Charmin to cover 4 fingers going into the black lagoon is a little too much risk. Think about it. Or don't, I really don't care either way.

It's funny when you reach a point in your life that is undeniably a turning point. I mean, there are always those times in your life that you can look back upon and say, "Hmm, that was a real turning point." But usually you didn't know at the time or you were too stupid or too busy watching Behind the Music to realize that you were undergoing a metamorphosis or a life changing experience. But sometimes there are those hard breaks that you know without a doubt will lead to major change, whether good or bad. These changes could be any one of number of things including but not limited too} (sorry, I lost use of my colon key for some reason) Losing all your physical belongings in one very stupid but totally ballsy spin of the roulette wheel; Being unwittingly swept into a world of snuff porn with a ring leader named PitSmack; Winning the lottery.

While my turning point did not find it's roots in anything this exciting, it is without a doubt staring me right in the face like an Ultimate Fighting champ, and I've either gotta start swinging or catch a flying knee to the chin followed by a merciless onslaught of taped knuckles to the face-hole region.

I'm moving to Dallas in exactly 2 days and it promises to be quite a shock to the system. I'm officially in the "What the fuck am I doing?" stage. Hopefully not to be followed by the "What the fuck have I done and what was I thinking?" stage. And I really, really hope not to be followed by the "How the shit did I get to be a lonely, middle aged, friendless gas station attendant" stage.

I guess maybe it's normal when you're moving on to take a look at everything that you have that maybe you've taken for granted, and that no doubt you will miss. I've made lot of friends here in Charlotte in the 3 and 1/2 years I've called this city my home. I've changed a lot as a person. I've grown and matured. I've become a runner, and that is a big part of who I am now and something that I'll always be.

I've also learned a lot of lessons. I've felt a lot of pain, and a lot of happiness, too. I've spent countless hours trying to know who and what I want to become, and I like to think I've gotten closer to some of these answers, although I also think I've learned that part of life is the constant reinvention of these questions based on who you actually have become, and what you have accomplished. I've learned that you can live like a king in a old dilapidated townhouse, and you can feel like a hopeless prisoner in a plush gated community. I've learned that there will always be people that want you to do or be one thing or another, and as long as you try to appease everyone you will always be in constant struggle between two forces. The only way around this friction is to do what YOU want to do, and not what anyone else wants you to do. I've also learned that this is much easier said than done. I've learned that it's best not to judge others, although it is always one's instinct to do so. I've leaned that good music is sometimes hard to find, but worth the digging. I've learned that one can survive the absence of TV, but you will be forced to be alone with your thoughts and this can be a scary thing. I've learned that good beer is worth the money, but cheap beer by the bucket with a group of close friends is really hard to beat. I've learned to stay close to your family and to remember where you come from. Trying to be someone you're not is like trying to keep Dick Cheney away from a "Shoot Your Friends in the Face" convention. Impossible.

I guess in summary I've made a pretty good run of Charlotte. She's been good to me, and I've been good to her (although sometimes she complained about the "love taps"). But I'm the type of guy that likes to move on before the rigamortis sets in. So, good or bad, I'm off to the Big D. I like to think it will be an exiting new chapter of my life, but who knows, it could really suck...