Without fail, on every drive from IAH to the west suburbs of Houston, I miss the same three exits and have to backtrack. Why can’t I simply remember that the signs for Beltway 8 and the I-10 are going to sneak up on me right after the onset of a comfortable highway hypnosis, and that there are no signs for Dairy Ashford or Eldridge Parkway when driving west on I-10? It is an inevitability that I see the Katy exits before my internal backseat driver comments, “Hey, ding ding, wake up! You’re five exits past the one you want.” Committing these snippets of Tex-arcana to memory would spare me an extra 45 minutes and $2.50 spent on the beautiful yet exceptionally lengthy stretches of road here.
Plane rides are great opportunities for meditation. Last evening, I thought of Hunter S. Thompson and how, three years after his death, I still cannot bring myself to read The Joke’s Over. The book sits in the case, conspicuous through its crisp jacket and uncracked spine. What a wuss. Who buys books not to read them? Yes, HST took his own crazy life in his own crazy style (or did he?) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Worse than his death is envisioning him at a ripe old age confined to a nursing home. Inconceivable. On top of it all, he was shot out of a giant potato cannon. We should be so lucky. So, why is his passing still so hard to stomach? It’s nothing but a case of not coming to terms with the fact that people aren’t givens.
Landed at 8pm. Got to the hotel room at 9:45pm. Crashed on the bed out of sheer exhaustion and called D. D infomed me that it was almost 10pm and that I hadn’t eaten dinner and was headed for a hypoglycemia attack. Oh yeah. Have I told you lately how much I love
the keeper of my brain my husband?
Ravenous, I arrived at the hotel restaurant 10 minutes before closing time. Now dig this: The waiter remembered me from almost five years ago and told me exactly where I was from, where I’d sat and what I ate. Amazing or creepy? Take your pick. While I waited for my meal, he walked up and asked how New Orleans is doing and somehow (somehow, she says) we got to talking about systemic corruption in New Orleans, his native country of Mexico and India. “It’s a way of life everywhere. Americans just know how to hide it better.” “New Orleans doesn’t,” I replied. Following this serious exchange, he told me a really bad joke about Jesus which I forgot immediately. It was that bad.
Rare tuna steak with sesame seeds and a delectable mango, pickled ginger and seaweed salad. Along with four glasses of water, I inhaled that meal. As I walked out of the restaurant, the nice waiter waved goodbye and said, “See you around some time. My name is Gonzo.”
Hunter Stockton Thompson July 18, 1937 February 20, 2005