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Wednesday, June 09, 2010  

Houston, Part II

I want to thank Ellie for advising me to spring for the GPS on our rental car, because as it turns out, Houston freeways are the stuff of nightmares. Literally, I have had recurring bad dreams about some of the stuff I saw on the way from the airport to Webster, way down on the other side of the city.

My driving nightmares generally have a couple of motifs. One is when I find myself trying to drive from the back seat and can't reach the brake (although for some inexplicable reason the gas is never a problem) and the other is vertiginously high freeway bridges that look like roller coasters on first approach. Now, the Kia Spectra I got was probably small enough that I could have driven it from the back. But I wouldn't have also been able to deal with some of the theme park-inspired highway architecture I found myself facing.

There was that bridge somewhere on either 59 or 45 that looked more like a giant harbor crane. There were any number of turns marked by a sign displaying the unnerving visual of a semitruck in the process of tipping over. There was the fact that two or three of the ten lanes seemed to be either merging or exiting or crossing each other at any given time. There was the time I crossed under no less than six other roadways, and wasn't even at the bottom of the tangle. And then there was the challenge of keeping up with midday traffic that seemed determined to be the first one there. Where? Anywhere.

All of this would have been panic-inducing, but with the GPS calling out directions in her calm, clear voice, it was merely alarming. Fortunately I was able to distract myself from the constant fear of death by racing the GPS's ETA. And I would have won, too, if our hotel had an address that actually existed. But I did get to the empty field where the computer map thought I was going in record time.

* * *

This wasn't such a great trip for novel candy, unfortunately. M. Edium and I hit Food Town to buy 2.5 meals' worth of groceries, and all the candy there was stuff I see at home. Except for the separate, Spanish-language candy, set off to one side. The only new things I tried were "Carlos V," a package of simple chocolate planks with epigrams stamped into the top that I'm sure I would have found very witty if I could read Spanish. And maybe you read Spanish, but I can't even transcribe what they said because they melted before I got online. I'm sure you would have busted a gut, though.

And then there was the horribly misnamed "Kranky," which, for being nothing but a small pouch of chocolate-covered corn flakes, made me a lot less Kranky than the Carlos V did. I offered to share those with M. Edium, but he declined, which was good because I didn't really mean it anyway. They made me the opposite of kranky.

And then I had some "Big Red" soda, which I've had before but have trouble finding up here. I love any soda that has so much sugar that you can almost taste the individual grains. And yet I felt healthy drinking it, because I got it in those little eight-ounce cans that soda comes in when you're in the hospital. They wouldn't do that if it weren't good for you, right?

posted by M. Giant 8:32 PM 0 comments


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