Well here I am again on the road albeit this time in a far less exotic place, Jackson, Mississippi. My first time in the Magnolia State, assuming of course that this is actually the Magnolia State. Adding to today’s short list of firsts is this blog, done for the first time on my WiFi connected iTouch. I have to say, the pain I am developing in the back of my right wrist from typing 1 letter at a time may very well be the last time for this first, since it a true pain to get it done like this. Heck, even two thumb typing with my Blackberry beats this, as bad as that is. But I will perservere for the moment, at least until I can stand the muscle burn no more.
The trip over was long on tedium and short on eventful tales and thankfully duration. The most interesting events were the guys on my rows whom were righteously in the wrong seats. I actually get tired of people defending their inability to read their tickets, but these two rolled over so easily that they hardly merit a mention. Houston airport was interesting in its design and busyness as well as the little train between terminals that brought to mind a frantic night in Frankfurt not so long ago. Arcing up and away from Bush Intercontinental Airport, I could see the curve of the Gulf, reminding me that it was only weeks ago when I was staring at a similar curve along the fringes of Hudson Bay. What a difference a few thousand miles makes.
Arriving in Jackson we deplaned and grabbed our rental car, a new Altima whose technological advancement would come into play shortly. A misstep on exiting led to a two lane across rush hour traffic u-turn to get re-directed. Ironically, I was victimized by a traffic rotary, far from Ireland where they try to mislead me with enthusiastic frequency. Back on track we found ourselves in a traffic deadlock that the radio had kindly warned us about. Too bad we had no point of reference for the location of the problem. But, we got lucky as our exit came up quicky and the road to our hotel was clear.
Arriving at the inn, it occurred to me that I would be well served to understand how to start the car as I was about to turn it off. Like my car at home, this one was equipped with one of those “start” buttons, a Formula 1 inspired affectation that car designers seem to think draws race-minded consumers. Unlike my car though, the “pod” that doubles as a key did not have a place in the steering column to hang out while in use. This pod just layed there in the cup holder, disinterested and inert.
Brave guy that I am, I forged ahead impetuously shutting the car off and waiting a few seconds. Then I pushed the start button. The radio came on the and car just sat there impatiently beeping, as though imploring me to just do something. I tried it again. Nothing. My lovely wife suggested I call the rental car guy, as though there was any chance of that happening. I pushed the button again, this time holding it in, figuring that was what the infernal beeping was suggesting. Nope, just the radio reminding me that I was a failure in this age of technology. Just as raw panic was putting a steel vice grip on my ability to reason, I remembered the missing link – the brake – my car won’t start unless you have your foot firmly planted on the pedal. So I pushed it in, depressed the button and the car came to life, another triumph of Rational Man over technology.
Before leaving for dinner, I had plotted a route to a nearby On the Border, our favorite Tex-Mex chain. We used to have one down the road and we ate there once a week. Sort of a blasphemy given that we live at the center of Southwestern/Mexican inspired cuisine but the food was always just different enough to make it interesting. Needless to say, we were sorry when it was consumed by a local chain and so now we always try to eat at one when they are nearby.
Emily, my trusty Nuvi assistant pretty much got us there, requiring only a bit of cross-country improvisation. We ordered our traditional favorite and settled in. The food arrived and in the course of chit-chatting with the server, we found out that the restaurant was scheduled to close permanently in 6 days time. Another case of timely serendipity given our presence in Mississippi, on that particular day.
And so that’s it, just a special little Valentine’s Day, hanging out on the Holiday Inn in the middle of the piney woods southeastern flood plains, watching HBO and developing a cumulative stress disorder taping out a blog one keystroke at a time.
Tomorrow -Indian Mounds!