So far, my daughter isn't impressed with Texas. Something to do with the large insect population and the propensity of Texans to mold everything into the shape of the state.
I, too, was distressed by these very facts during my year-long tenure in the Lonestar State in the early '90s.
Pre-Texas, I'd never seen a roach--at least not one of hearty Texas stock. Real Texan roaches are large enough to sport ten gallon hats and handlebar moustaches. Disturbing as it was to see them congregating in parking lots and institutional facilities, I took a small measure of comfort in the fact that my apartment was too clean to be of interest to such vermin.
The look of disgust on my daughter's face as we weave our way around carcasses strewn across parking lots and foyers evoked fond memories of the first time I was forced to engage one of thir number in a combat. During a routine washing of the dinner dishes, I lifted a hefty iron skillet and discovered a specimen of Guinness Book proportions. I threw the skillet violently in the beast's general direction and bolted for the couch where I screamed until I was drenched in sweat.
I missed. Newly married, my husband wasn't able to quickly assess his duties in the situation--comfort me or stalk the intruder? He choked, and the roach walked.
I wouldn’t stay alone in the apartment—for a week. This meant I had to go to my day job as well as Brad’s night job with the eleven o’clock news team. It was a tough schedule to keep, and I eventually gave it up out of sheer exhaustion.
Although Allison hasn't screamed or broken a sweat, she treads warily and walks about with her forehead creased in worry.
Her disillusionment with Texas-shaped objects stems from a nasty breakfast incident.
We've stayed in our fair share of Best Westerns of late, and we pretty much know the Continental breakfast drill. Little pre-measured cups of waffle batter are lined up by a self-service waffle iron, and in other states, folks tend to do a pretty good job taking turns. Everyone gets a waffle. Everyone is happy.
In Amarillo this morning, I approached the waffle station only to have a hotel worker position herself ominously between me and the waffle iron.
Figuring we were dealing with a new format, I grabbed a plate and stood in front of her as though in line. She proceeded to ignore me, while calling out warm greetings to each new patron that came though the door.
I eventually sat down at a table a foot or two from her station, waiting until she stopped doling out little Texas shaped waffles and greetings to everyone else in the room.
Figuring it had all been a misunderstanding, I grabbed my plate and stood before the woman now known as the Waffle Nazi. Once more she completely ignored me as she handed a steaming plate to another new arrival.
Finally, she told me that I could be 6th on a waffle-waiting list.
For Seinfeld fans, let me summerize the story by simply saying the plot here changed from the Soup Nazi episode to the Chinese Restaurant script--in other words, I never moved up in status. Although theoritically, with each golden, Texas-molded waffle the Nazi dispensed, I should have been closer to breakfast--but alas, there was always another more deserving than I.
My daugher watched this unfold in disbelief--half because of the absurdity of the situation, and half because she couldn't get over the fact that anyone would serve waffles in the shape of their state.
This being a driving day, we all had plenty of opportunity to see the shape of Texas depicted on buildings, banners and billboards--some promoting lawn mower racing events or adversiting establishments such as the "It'll Do" Motel.
Fortunately, a freak Texas storm suddenly brewed on the horizon, immediatly improving my daughter's opinion of the state, and battering several layers of bugs and dirt from our filthy van.
The day concluded with a multi-hour hotel search, as we're told the Baptists have decended on the region for their national convention. Just as I began to fear we'd have to double back several hours to the "It'll Do", we found a room at a little Super 8. Although the accomodations are modest, so far we've seen nothing either state shaped or on 6 legs.
Things are looking up.