Guess who's back? Back again?! 3,000 miles, a new coast, a 48 hour computer document transfer (what year is this?), and no worse for the wear. Well just consider the 15 pounds of booze and southern food an occupational hazard. Anyway, what kind of observationalist would I be if I ignored the intricacies of this fair nation of ours. Trust me, you drive coast to coast you learn a lot about the regions you were blessed not to be raised in. For instance, a lot of them are about a century and a half behind. So with no further ado….
It is no secret that I have always harbored a disdain for West Virginia. this is based on nothing other than their "University", if you choose to call it that. I choose to consider it a 4 year day care center for the intellectually handicapped, with a couple exceptional athletes mixed in, but that's neither here nor there. I have always hated their athletic programs, and since that's really all they offer, besides incesstual tendencies and bad dental work, I have always hoped for the worst for the entire state. If I could have attached a flamethrower to the back of my car and trail blazed the entire state out of it's misery I would have done so in a heartbeat. With that said, I think It's time to cut West Virginia some slack…
You know how you meet some one that is completely void of any redeeming qualities whatsoever, the proverbial wet blanket, if you will? Then you wonder how they turned out so poorly…until you meet their parents. That's exactly what West Virginia is. The spawn of asexual reproduction from the worst father state in the history of regional formation. You ever wonder why West Virginia is one of the biggest party schools in America? It's because Virginia is the parent that shadows their child from all of life's vices. Gives them an 8PM curfew and teaches them that alcohol is basically the Devil's piss. Then they graduate and eventually turn into proud Mountaineer alumni. No smarter, just 5 years older, 80 pounds heavier, a meth addiction, and about 8 more relatives on the bedpost.
No joke. I sat in a Shoney's in Virginia, next to a 13-14 year old boy, that was on a first date with a girl…..and 3 other of her females relatives. I swear I was in the 1970's. It was almost like this girl's female bloodline was trying to throw her into an arranged marriage before she even became a woman. It's 2015. 13 is the new 18. In any relevant area of society teenagers are probably at least getting anal before they come within a thousand yards of meeting the parents. Due to the statistics (1 for 1) I can only imagine this is commonplace in Virginia. There is just no chance I was lucky enough to be next to the only teenager in Virginia that doesn't know what SnapChat is. Something tells me, the kid asked for the first LG camera phone thats takes 1.5 pixel pictures for his birthday. Kids these days are taking HD pictures of their genitalia and this kid is running the estrogen guantlet before he even sees her mid drift. In 20 years the better part of the nation will be living like the Jetson's and Virginia will still be trying to memorize their 30 digit WiFi password.
I truly believe that if someone offered me the winning powerball ticket, under the pretense that I had to live the rest of my life in Virginia, I would instantly light that ticket on fire. Then I would piss on that ticket. Let it dry. Then light it on fire again just out of principal. Give me an old refrigerator box in an alley in Hoboken, New Jersey over a mansion in the middle of Virginia 11 times out of 10.
I was actually pretty excited to visit Nashville. A city that prides itself on it's food, booze, and music is right in my wheel house. Saturday night was fantastic. Hit the main drag, did some bar hopping, drank some moonshine like it wasn't nothin'. Pretty cool city. The combination of alcoholism and country music is a home run every time. Give me a Kenny Chesney CD and I will turn a sober evening into a suicide mission. Give me some moonshine and I'll throw on some cowboy boots and start overusing 'y'all'. It's really quite the phenomenon. Adding booze and country music is like adding Guinness and Jameson in the alcoholic milkshake of life. One just makes the other so much better, and they both end up in a literal and metaphorical car bomb of sorts.
However, I would be remissed to mention the lack of night life on a Sunday night. Simple can't have a strip of bars that are mostly closed on a Sunday evening, especially after a huge music concert is letting out. Grow up Nashville. Weekends don't end until you hate yourself on Monday morning. Get with the times. I know it's a little religious down there, but even God relaxed on the 7th day. So what if my idea of resting is throwing back a dozen beers and listening to country music. That's what your city should hang it's hat on.
I spent about 35 minutes total in the city of Memphis and it is still the most confusing 35 minutes of the trip. Stopped for some quick BBQ on the way through to New Orleans. BBQ, A++. The short bus that had "SHAWTY" spray painted on the front and back of it? Outstanding imagery. The city as a whole (AKA the 3 mile stretch I saw of it)? Night and day. You know when rappers try to exensuate the poverty in which they were raised. The first mile off the highway looked like a low budget Paul Wall video. I swear I heard Ludacris' "Growing Pains" playing in the background. We passed about 14 businesses en route to the first BBQ joint we attempted to stop at. Let's just say the only business that was open, at Noon on a Monday, was the kind of business that doesn't require real estate. I'm not one to get flustered in unfamiliar territory, but there was no way I was stopping my car to check Yelp for a BBQ place that was actually open. Pretty sure I had sole ownership of the only car on the street that wasn't on cinderblocks.
Not totally surprising that Memphis isn't the best area, I kind of expected such. Until I turned the corner that is. I'm not talking about a line in the sand that separates white collar and blue. I'm talking about it being a hop, skip, and a jump from food stamps to Maseratis. It's almost like there was some electrical fence that separated the impoverished from the affluent. No joke, If Mr. Drummond lived in Memphis he would have far more than two adopted children. Probably be showing up at his door daily. You can literally throw a rock from America's version of a 3rd world country and hit a guy that is watering his money tree. Quite the interesting phenomenon.
You know how sometimes you date a girl and think your madly in love with her until a prettier, funnier girl comes along and casts her in an unforgiving light? That's what New Orleans did to Nashville. I feel like I would hold Nashville in much higher regard if it wasn't immediately followed by New Orleans. Only once, amongst the myriad of drink stops made, were we told that the bar was closed in New Orleans. It was a jazz club at like 2AM on a Wednesday. I almost told the owner to pack up his shit and move the bar to Nashville.
Every time I go to New Orleans I end up sitting in the sun, listening to live music, eating incredible food and sipping a beer I just carried out of the bar. It's at those moments I wonder "why the fuck don't I live here?". It doesn't take long to realize that it would take mere weeks to become a complete degenerate living in NOLA. It's not a surprise that the population of the French Quarter is only 5,000. Probably matches the same number of people that drink their liver into an untimely death per year. I need the comforting restraints of the bar to keep me from becoming a full blown alcoholic. I can't be trusted with the ability to roam the streets at any particular time, of any particular day, with a beer. How often do you say to yourself "I could really use a beer"? Imagine if you could just snag a road soda on the way to work, or crush a Hurricane while on lunch break. You know what time of day is great for a Hurricane? Every time of day. That's the problem with New Orleans. It's fatal flaw is that you can have whatever you want whenever you want, and I can't bear the responsibility of my own decision making.
Texas can broken up into three distinct land models. First you have the cities, no complaints there. Honestly, I think the state would make more sense if they built 30 foot concrete walls around Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, because the rest of the state is eerie to say the least. In between cities you have mile long stripes of town that would make great scenery for filming a horror movie. I could have sworn we passed the area where they filmed 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' until we passed it again 5 minutes later. Except, like Jay-Z said, this ain't a movie dog! In between the stripes of town you have what can only be described as the burial ground for the thousands of people that go missing on a daily basis. They don't even put up 'Missing' signs in Texas, because everyone knows where to find dead bodies. They also know the vast wasteland between cities is too much ground to cover. You go missing in Texas, you go missing forever. Those be the rules, y'all.
I know 50 is a nice round number, but what is the resale value on New Mexico? Think we can trade that shit back to Mexico with a state to be named later for a couple bottles of Tequila and a landscaper to be named later? I think that is the best option. You know when people say that an ugly girl has a great personality to make up for her misfortune in the aesthetic department? People do the opposite with land masses. If a state has nothing to offer from an entertainment standpoint, they say it is beautiful. I'm not saying that New Mexico doesn't have some beautiful areas, but that doesn't make up for it's lack of personality.
Given the arbitrary nature of state borders, I can't, in good conscience, consider it a coincidence that the temperature dropped 30 degrees and a thick fog covered the the road moments after crossing the state line. New Mexico is the land of the soulless. That's really the only explanation. Don't give me some geographical explanation. New Mexico is the Devil's playground. What's the population there anyway? 150? I think I saw 10 people statewide.
Look at a list of these cities and tell which one doesn't fit....Nashville, New Orleans, Dallas, Albuquerque. Exactly. Albuquerque doesn't even sound like a place that you would want to be. It's the American version of Uzbekistan, the shit doesn't even sound entertaining.
If you have never been skydiving, you should go now. Actually, fuck that. Not now, but RIGHT NOW. Strap a stranger on your back and dive face first out of a plane. Guarantee you it will be the best $200 you have ever spent. Thank me later.
Didn't spend too much time on the strip, but that's what happens when you go from Nashville to New Orleans to Las Vegas. Even the savviest of livers need a water break. Plus, you know the deal. What happens in Vegas....probably gets made into a fictional movie with two crappy sequels.
Finally home, or something like it. I should probably find a place to live before we go as far as using that dreaded 4 letter word. However, I think I would rather be homeless in California than be in an actual home in New Jersey. Certainly ain't freezing to death at 60 degrees overnight. Even so, homeless never looked so good.