May 26, 2002

Waiting on Mr. Poole


Last year I commented once or twice about the smell of a biker after a long day in the saddle.  Tonya and I discovered something - and it was really amazing, if you shower after the ride, and then change into totally fresh clothes - you don't stink.   We crashed out in our hotel room Saturday night, and spent most of Sunday just waiting on Garrett.   It was hard to believe, but a quick (cool) shower later she and I were ready to head into Hammond to see what the town had to offer.

Instead of prolonging the moment, I will now tell you what Hammond had to offer:


One bookstore (80% Christian books)


One mall (70% closed up)


One movie theater (serious disrepair)


One car wash


Scary toothless "hip hop" white boys


Scary jailbait, cute, trashy white girls


Young black guys on racy motorcycles desperately trying to kill themselves (who could blame them, really?)


Old black guys driving very, very expensive luxury cars talking about how hard life is (It is just hard to swallow, hearing a guy drive a brand-new Land Rover with all the trim talking about how "things are just tough all over."  Yeah, tough for who?


Followed by a quaint little town with a ratio of four policemen for each block and . .


A decent alternative coffee shop with a very brave homosexual man working there - brave in that he is clearly homosexual in Hammond Louisiana, and brave in that he was at least mildly enamored with me.  I am no -phobe, but he didn't know that.

The Holiday Inn we stayed at was weird - very weird.  It looked like it was only at 30% capacity and that whole wings of the hotel were never used.  The bar was empty, the restaurant should have had a sign that said "NO FOOD, NO CUSTOMERS, NO SERVICE" - because that was the case.  The weirdest thing was it looked like it had been very nice at one point.  Spanish tile floor, columns, fountains, etc.  It was as if the town was slowly dying and the Holiday Inn was tracking the towns decline with every torn piece of carpet, every spiderweb or dirty window. 

The hot tub was green and farted - I kid you not, it farted.  It was next to the indoor pool, was about 40% full and had green moss in the water - and, as I mentioned before, it didn't have bubbles, it just farted - like an old man in a dirty tub of water.  BRRRRGLOOOOOOMMPH went the hot tub.  Wisely, we didn't put on the bathing suits and give it a try.

One more thing, the people down there creep the living hell out of me.  Without going into the level of detail that invites debate  - I will simply say that what I observed of "father/daughter" affection is more than a tad different in Louisiana than what I am comfortable with.

Ok, back to the trip.  One thing I have mentioned in the previous trip is the managing of money.  I don't believe in credit cards, I think they are a plot by the United Nations to spoil and weaken Americans while they secretly slip their army in through Canada and Mexico.  One day, while you sit in tears looking over your American Express or cuddling your newest electro-gadget that you can't really afford but 'had to have' because it looked so cool in the Sharper Image catalogue - they will strike.  Faster than you can say "No Interest Till Next Year" you will be looking down the muzzle of an AK-47 with some French Canuck on the other end - hearing the sounds of Muslim Extremists as they slap a Burka on your wife and take your children for re-education.  You worked hard for it, you deserve it. 

I on the other hand, don't do credit cards - if it weren't for Debit Visa I would have to carry cash everywhere I go.  The upside is tremendous - and the moral clarity is nice too.  The downside, however, is that if I don't manage money carefully I run the real risk of being completely broke and stuck in "DaughterF'er, Louisiana."  Above is a picture of me carefully counting how much money we spent and how much more we had.  Tonya bought me a phone for Christmas last year, and it had a calculator on it.  I nearly wore the numbers off that keypad adding and subtracting.

We spent Sunday toodling down to a kind of 'old town Hammond,' the one with four policeman per block.  We stopped and had coffee and 700 miles of highway came crashing down on Tonya.  This was the same place where the clearly gay coffee man was chatting me up.  Here is a picture of  Tonya, just wiped out.  We had slept a good sleep and had plenty of time to relax, I was glad we were there a day before Garrett - but I was ready to see him too.


Here is another shot from the coffee house.  This is the famous "Oh Crap" shot from when you realize that when you went to pick up the camera, you grabbed it by the shutter release.  Think of it as conceptual art - kind of like when you go into a museum and look at stuff that you just KNOW was produced by the sleep deprived, or the insane, or the retarded.  I call this piece - "Fatigue and Espresso," will the bidding start at $1,000 please?


One historical point of interest for this day in history.  A bridge on 1-40 collapsed.  I know this because it was all over the news and it was made more important by the fact that it collapsed about an hour and a half before Timmy got to it.  I was out washing the bugs off of the bikes when Tonya called me from the hotel.  I called Tim on his cell phone to make sure he was alright - he hadn't even heard of it.  Tim and Marliss were something like 60 miles away from it when I called, and at first I don't think he believed me.  After scanning the radio they finally found some info and were able to reroute.

Garrett arrived around 2pm, showered and we caught up on the last year's worth of news.  Here  Garrett and Tonya share a Pizza in the indoor plaza at the Holiday Inn.  Like I said, the place was obviously nice at one time.  Garrett had rode into Houston the previous night instead of riding directly from Austin to Hammond.  This shortened his ride time on Sunday considerably - though he was still pretty wiped out when he got in.


For the last story of this day I will tell you about Garrett and I riding in Hammond.  We decided to take the bikes out and toodle around for a bit.  Don't ask he how, or why, but Garrett got pulled over by two very cute under-age girls who wanted him to buy cigarettes for them.  Even more confusing, he brought them over to where I was (I had pulled over to the other side of the road) to discuss it with me.  As tempted as I was to be particularly e-vil, I settled on just buying the girls cigarettes and saying goodnight.  Just doing my part for both "big tobacco" and "population control."  If only I had thought to buy the girls condoms and ammunition I could have greatly reduced unwanted pregnancy and limited the number of abusive boyfriends in the girl's respective futures.

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