28 April 2009

Tex-Best Travel Center

April 28, 2009, 3:15 a.m. New Braunsfels. I have the little tables in this Tex-Best Travel Center all to myself. The U.P.S. guy just dropped in with some stuff. Speaking of stuff, I do not recommend Energy Trail Mix by Energy Club even though it is “The Smart Alternative” with “0g Trans Fat” and is “Guarantee Fresh” and you can “Power Up with” it. I am right next to the barrel of Slow Roasted Salted Cajun Peanuts, and there is a rack of cheap novelty tee shirts literally lying on my shoulders because I need to sit at this end table in order to reach a plug. My battery is charging, and Windows Defender is starting a scan right now.



I am getting a weak wifi signal from the closed Burger King next door. I wonder if I drove my truck over and parked right beside that closed Burger King, could I log on?

Earlier at about 9:30 p.m. I pulled off I-35 about 35 miles north of Austin into a rest stop. Semis were already gathering there for the night. I had gotten drowsy on the road. I fell asleep in the driver seat almost immediately and slept in that seat as if it were made for sleeping. I slept hard and woke up at about 1:15 a.m. completely refreshed. That huge rest stop was full of big, big trucks—Kenworths, Freightliners, and the other kind with the obscene sounding name that I cannot think of right now. My little pickup with the camper hitched to it occupied about one-fouth the length of one of those long pull-through parking spaces completely dwarfed by all those huge trucks parked side by side. Others were lined up on the entrance ramp. I pulled out.

Texas is one of the states that has “enjoyed tremendous growth” over the past few years. The drive from 35 miles north of Austin down to San Antonio is a little display of what this means. I-35 consists of six lanes for that entire distance. I was amazed. This stretch of I-35 goes through one big shopping center/strip mall/fast food/”fueling center”/auto dealership extravaganza. There were so many lights that it might as well have been daylight. And off in the distance I could see the lights of San Antonio reflected off the clouds. Of course it rained on me as I drove through Austin.

I am by no means the first guy to notice this in any number of American locations that have “enjoyed tremendous growth” or written about it for that matter, but that does not make me any less aghast at the spectacle of I-35 from north of Austin to San Antonio, Texas:

IHOP
Best Buy
Lowe's
Applebee's
Walmart
Burger King
Exxon
Chili's
Acura
Home Depot
Remax Realtors
Target
Starbuck's (A large number of the names of our national and international franchises are rendered in the possessive. What's the deal with that?)
Conoco
Olive Garden
Honda
Shell


All of the same old shit over and over and over again. I could have been driving through Pheonix, San Diego, Atlanta, or numberless other homogenous places. As it happened I was driving through central Texas, but you could not have proved it by the scenery.

Does our national well-being really depend on our selling massive quantities of this crap to each other? Is our ability or inability to finance the selling of all this worthless bullshit to each other the thing that has everyone worried to death now? Are men really shooting their families and then commiting suicide because they cannot make their boat payments? Does my little grandchildren's future happiness depend on how many rolls of carpet that Carpetland sells?

Moreover, we need to burn up massive amounts of energy to light up these establishments at 3:00 a.m. such that you could not see a Texas star in the sky even if you were of a mind to. And of course we need to fuel all those trucks that I saw, which are necessary to haul the “product.” To get some grasp of the amount of energy necessary one need only contemplate the fact that we lop off the tops of mountains and burn up those mountaintops in order to power all this.

Truly, homo sapiens have become an infestation of the planet. I do not see how anybody can argue any other proposition. Are pandemics one of the ways that the planet delouses itself so that it can take a breather for a couple of eons before the next infestation by some other creatures overloads the system?

Is Mexico like this? Apparently not because Mexicans are continually dying trying to cross the border illegally so that they, too, can participate in this dream.

And how will the North Carolina Furniture Store show up in the fossil record? Or will the North Carolina Furniture Store's brief existance even be revealed in the fossil record?

I am painfully aware that I am starting to sound like The Unibomber. Therefore, let me quickly add that I love my iPod and the beautiful blue Dell Laptop on which I am typing this. I am continually on the lookout for a Starbuck's because I have one of their cards now that allows me to log onto a high speed connection so that I can upload these bitch sessions to my blog. (What a wonderful discovery it was when I found out that all Burger Kings now have a wifi hot spot!)

And don't even talk to me about my own truck. Love me; love my truck. I sure as hell would hate to drive around Texas in one of those little, tiny Volkswagen Cabrias.

Most importantly of all, I am not hungry and neither are my grandchildren. . . . . . . .right now. Well, that is not quite right. They are always hungry, but they are not malnourished with little spindly arms and distended bellies. (You knew what I meant, damn it.)

If only I were still pretty, I would not give a fuck about the planet. Only homely people and Rick care about the planet, and Rick shops at Walmart. If only The Unibomber had been a bit more attractive physically, a lot fewer people would have gotten hurt.

“But what about Bono?” you ask. "Bono is pretty good looking." Very good question, and the answer is illustrative. Notice that Bono cares about people. Bono does not give a fuck about the planet at all. Bono wants to fight human disease in order to prevent the planet from delousing itself so that more homo sapiens can live out their alloted four score and ten and foul this place up so irretrievably that you will never, ever again be able to see a Texas star in the sky anywhere, even in west Texas and even if you were of a mind to, and who would be of a mind to anyway what with that beautiful star logo above the Sunoco fueling center across the street? I mean, what more do you need?

I have jumped off I-35 here to head east just a bit and find Canyon Lake. www.recreation.gov indicates that there are some wilderness campgrounds there run by the Corps of Engineers with electrical hookups and running water.

It's 5:20 a.m. The Tex-Best Travel Center at the Canyon Lake Exit is starting to get busy, and I need to fuel up. We will see if I can pull the truck right up next to that closed Burger King and log on.

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