Sunday, March 08, 2009

Back to Austin

I'm home. Not in some metaphorical or romantic sense. I am quite literally back in Austin, decamped to the sofa.

For those of you who are wondering: No, I have not seen Watchmen. No, I don't know when I'm going to see it. I've been a little busy, and I don't know when its going to happen. Maybe next weekend, but that's just a guess.

Lubbock was... interesting.

Look, I didn't see much of the town at all. What I will say: Texas Tech is a lovely campus. I was actually glad to see that the campus defied my expectations of being several squat, lowest contract bidder government issue buildings against a bleak landscape. Instead, its actually a very pretty campus of large brick buildings in the style of its Eastern counterparts.

Off campus, Lubbock is a low-slung town of about 200,000 people cutting out their part of the American Dream, I guess. Last night I hung out with longtime pal Heather, starting at Orlando's Italian, a family restaurant, where the portions were generous and the folks eating seemed as if perhaps they were a bit more immune to the passage of time than the folk of the big city.

Lubbock, being a dry county, serves liquor and beer in the restaurants, but you can't buy your own stuff at liquor stores or the grocery. So, of course, just across the county line, a five minute drive from Orlando's, sits a street filled with huge, flashing neon signs and warehouse-style liquor stores and drive-through liquor marts.

There's a culture and economy that's sprung out of the tradition of pretending that people don't drink or that Carrie Nation was a raging success. It basically boils down to the outskirts of many a town marking up liquor and encouraging people to drink and drive. And for there to be a scale model of a 70's-era Vegas in the Great Plains. But oddly free of "gentlemen's clubs". The only one I saw was about ten to fifteen minutes outside of Lubbock. You know, far enough out that your wife or church elder wasn't likely to spot you unless they're at "Playmates" themselves.

We also hit two fabulous Lubbock night spots, which I won't pretend are indicative of the actual Lubbock night scene. But "The Silver Bullet" and "Adolph's" share the same burnt-out building, the vision of whose creator is lost to time. But I suspect someone thought this was going to be an office park at some point in the distant past.

Lubbock has also not instituted the smoking ban in their bars, which I realized I've come to take for granted. So, yes, I had an awesome voice as if I'd been smoking half-a-pack myself. Which might have served me well had I gotten on the list at Adolph's to sing karaoke, tucked between locals warbling country songs with which I was utterly unfamiliar, and an awesomely bad cover of "Hotel California".

Woke up this morning and drove the 6 hours back.

I might add, I haven't checked e-mail since about 8:00 AM Friday, so I apologize if you really missed me. I detoured before dinner on Friday and picked up a Garmin Nuvi 255 at Target, which was selling the model I chose for quite a bit off MSRP.

After my near-disastrous drives on Tuesday and Thursday, I decided I need to relax a bit more when I'm driving, so the soothing voice of the Garmin Lady assisted me in the drive home, taking me on a great route I never would have picked myself by looking at the Rand McNally map I picked up near Ft. Worth (and which kept me from driving East by Northeast into Oklahoma by accident).

Anyhow, I'm home. I'm tired as heck. I'm going to bed.

1 comment:

Michael Corley said...

You wander into Oklahoma and we'll shoot you, durn shoot ya dead.

An interesting take on Lubbock. I've been so focused on Ophthamologist and Optomistrist offices during my visits that I've taken little time to think of the culture of the town. The campus is kind of purty.

One thing I'll say, it has a disproportionate amount of those annoying bumps when you drive into a business. Not the speed bump kind, the "road doesn't match the height of the parking lot" kind. I'm really suprised I haven't left my trasmission behind there.