Monday, November 24, 2003

Juice `n' the Wife's Perilous Journey

Despite the fact that we were driving a recently ailing vehicle... and despite the fact that we very nearly hydroplaned into other vehicles during the rainstorms that initially showered us on our journey.... and despite the fact that we narrowly avoided being killed by several five foot long, six inch thick wooden beams that hurled at our car off of a tractor trailer flatbed whose driver neglected to tie them down properly... and despite nearly being killed yet again by a couple of the usual unbelievablely reckless assholes driving in Tuscaloosa, AL... we managed to make it all the way to my home town of Starkville, MS, in one piece.

This was actually a pretty typical journey, all things considered. Especially the part about assholes in Tuscaloosa. Don't get me wrong, I love the town and spent quite a bit of quality formative time there in my childhood, but the place is full of assholes who drive entirely too fast. I've never been through there without being nearly side-swiped by someone driving, quite literally, I assure you, 90 mph in a 60 zone. Well, Tuscaloosa or Birmingham. I think they have some kind of auto-asshole exchange program going on. Either that, or assholes commute from one to the other and have to drive really fast to make up time. Come to think of it, Mobile is pretty full of assholes too. In fact, I once spent a terrifying, white-knuckled 15 minutes in the back seat of a car being driven 90 mph through the streets of Mobile while my cousin's then fiancee sat in the front seat playing with a revolver. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt at the time, but my cousin's then fiancee has since proven himself an enormous asshole. Whatever the case, there are a WHOLE buncha assholes in Alabama who truly need the healing power of jail-time, a body-cast or both.

So now I'm home, back in my old stomping grounds of Stark-patch, (or StarkVegas, depending on your preference). This is where I grew up and lived from ages 5 to 25 and where I had actually intended to stay, until I took a job in radio in Tupelo, MS, moved there, met the woman who would become my wife, and moved away to North Carolina and now to West Virginia. Seems like only yesterday that I actually lived here, in this very house, or in the house I shared with friends in college across town (DaCrib).

Even after I moved away, I always intended to return here, perhaps as leader of a glorious revolution that would overthrow the evil general manager of the radio station I worked for here, taking his job as my own and living out my days ruling with a benevolent but iron fist. I no longer entertain such notions. For one thing, Mississippi is %#@!ing hot 8 to 9 months out of the year. West Virginia is only hot for 2 months out of the year, and even then it's not Mississippi hot. For another thing, West Virginia is a lot prettier than Mississippi. Sure, both states have just about the same level of poverty, low literacy, domestic violence, inbreeding and congressmen with controversial views on racial issues, but at least West Virginia has glorious lush mountains to help ease the pain. Mississippi has mostly humidity, heat, dirt, pine trees and the comforting knowledge that at least it ain't Alabama.

Starkville's an okay place, though. It's a college town, so it tends to cater to a more worldly crowd than most small towns in the state. It's not everyone's idea of shangri-la, particularly folks from more urban areas who are used to being able to, what they call, "go out" and "have a good time." Or people who are used to being able to buy beer on Sunday, let alone cold beer AT ALL. But I think it has a lot to offer and has grown tremendously over the past 20 years. Its where I grew up and where I've made most of my longest-lasting friendships.

Most, though not all, of those friends have been scattered to the winds. Unfortunately, we're only going to be in town for a few hours tomorrow before having to drive to Jackson to pick up my sister at the airport, on our way to Mamaw's.

Still don't know what to think about all that.

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.