Environmental science, traveling, and the sociology of the unraveling American dream.


If you're looking for more about me, I'm pretty much hanging out over at my livejournal these days. I use this account for commenting on other people's blogs.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Travails in Texas

I have just brought my woolly-headed Massachusetts liberal self back from Texas, where the skies are open and the developers roam free. It was a good trip, made rather entertaining and more than a little bit frightening by the election fervor -- after all, if any place can be said to be the exact opposite of Massachusetts... Also, the highways were large and open and scared me a bit. We're frightening in Boston, but there's never a sense that you'll be lost for the next million years or so. In Boston I find it's more that you're three blocks from your destination but will never actually find a place to park.

I was very bad about updating from Texas because I was ill with a stomach flu. I will say this: at least being on an airplane gives you an acceptable reason to throw up in public.
In no particular order, observations:

The scary church: A church I passed had a billboard out saying "How To Vote. Thursday, 8-9 PM." I hope they mean telling you how to go about it, not who to vote for. They do, right? Right?

One of the lunches I ate was at a Thai place, where they were very nice and inexplicably brought me deep-fat-fried Thai shrimp sandwiches instead of what I had ordered. (On flu stomach, when I was looking for chicken soup: ooogh. I'm sure they would have been excellent otherwise.) I was seated across the restaurant from a Bush supporter (but could nonetheless hear every word she was saying). Mainly, the woman was explaining why Kerry is evil and Bush will save America (what, like four years wasn't enough for the magnificence she attributed to him?) Among her arguments was one that went something like this: If Bush wins, the terrorists won't attack, because they know he'll be upset about it. But if Kerry wins, the terrorists will have to attack again, because they won't know what he'll do to respond. *waits for response from readers* Yeah, that's what I said. Right. The terrorists are aghast because they know that if they do something Bush is going to, what, get upset? Keep reading to schoolchildren? Because nobody else in the world would be capable of these things? I spent most of the lunch telling myself how pointless it would be to go over there and explain, well, anything.

There were some people with Kerry signs in their yards or on their cars. One of them, a good solid Liberal, had two Kerry bumper stickers. I gave him a thumbs up when my car was stopped next to his at the light -- you know, nice and friendly, solid support to show him he wasn't alone. He gave me a strange look and studiously looked at the light until it turned. Poor guy probably thought I was flipping him off. I bet he's gotten used to it.

I'm getting frustrated by the vilification of Massachusetts, though, and to be fair I'll point out that these are the extremes I'm picking out of the Texas experience, and by no means represent the state as a whole. (After all, we all know Bush's hometown paper isn't endorsing him.) Bush seems to think Massachusetts is some colony of [his version of] France, only rather more socialist in bent. Or in other words, I agree with Slate.