Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Traveling through Bible Country

Traveling across Northern New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma is generally not an inspiring experience, in spite of the many opportunities for Biblical inspiration and 24 hour evangelical preaching. There are the Spanish speaking stations, the Bible thumping stations, the Country music (using the term, music, loosely) stations and, very occasionally and for brief periods of time, the Public Radio glimpses. Five minutes maximum before static takes over that radio band. There were capsule insights into the news, including the good news that Arlen Specter has joined the majority party.

The normally rather nondescript countryside in this area of my drive was made more so by a long period of fog. As the sign for "Gray County" came into sight, I thought, "Oh, now I understand."

There is also a rather odd expectation along this part of Texas (and possibly throughout the state, but I wouldn't know that for sure) that all people want to do when they stop to "rest" is to picnic or just park. Absent the notorious use of adult diapers, the best thing you can have as you drive across this area is good bladder control. And when the one and only full "rest" stop arrived, I almost missed the only sign just before the turn off.

I had an interesting experience at a Chevron station outside of Oklahoma City. Stopped to fill the tank and found it was a pump it yourself, without the automated card reader. The reading started with a 2 cent charge on it, then filled at a total charge of $20.95. The price was also about 20 cents more than it should be, and I'd almost decided to drive on - a decision which in retrospect I should have followed.

I went inside to pay and was told I owed $20.99, as the man handed me back a penny. I wish to make it clear that I do not care that much about the few cents here and should have just walked away, but I called his attention to the discrepancy, saying, "The pump said $20.95, and it had 2 cents on it before I started," at which he reached into this till, took out a dime and pushed it on me, saying, "Here's a dime. Now get the hell out of here." I left the dime on the counter and walked away wondering, "Is this little game worth something to him, or was it just a bad day at the shop?" Next station I passed posted its gas at 20 cents less than I paid there. I'm still puzzled by it all.

So I am here in Oklahoma City relaxing with my cousin and her husband, while my circus act of Boston terriers plays havoc with their peaceful life. Tomorrow I go to Des Moines, and on Friday I'll be home. It is raining here and everything is very green and lush. I shall soon see the green, green grass of home, and by next trip, I think I shall have installed a satellite radio in the car.

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