Travelling east to west, the landscape of Texas gradually evolves from that of the Deep South into the desert Southwest, going from piney woods to semi-forests of oak and cross timbers, into rolling plains and prairie, then finally to desert in the Big Bend. Texas is the Lone Star State. I’m not quite sure what this means but it is written up everywhere. The State motto is “friendship”. Indeed, I have encountered many friends here. I have encountered seven friendly little rapes, sixteen friendlier than friendly truckies (that is how I get about, pulling tricks for food & speed, etc.), and a very friendly bull, veal, salmon, cod, chicken & wood pigeon sandwich. That is, three types of meat (if fish is a meat?). It is called the Noah’s Ark Bar-B-Q presumably because you are eating two of each animal. I’m not sure why you would do that. But as I said, it was friendly, all those animals all so cute and dead together.
In Texas walking down the street you get carrion birds circling overhead the whole way (ie. prairie chickens and wood pigeons). I take my respite in the nearest saloon. In Texas, ye olde fans click slowly overhead. If they upgraded to air con it would destroy the Texas ambience, you wouldn’t get to drink so much Coca Cola at ever-so-slightly less than room temperature (93 degrees F). There is a man in shirtsleeves on an upright piano, an ex con on harmonica, five or six Born Again Christians with tambourines, etc., and whores of the New Orleans variety in black stockings, long drawers and corsets smoking over the banister (tho I suspect this is a bit like the Texas version of Disneyland).
The only thing well air-conned in Texas is the supermarket, which reaches Arctic temperatures. The air con unit is made by NASA and so are the sliding doors and Coke machines. People bring weatherproof & lumberjack jackets in the boots of their hummers to wear to the supermarket. Inside the supermarket (or “store”) they are wearing these jackets with fur-lined hoods and also wearing sunglasses. Baked beans come in 1kg variety tins. By variety I mean types of different flavours. Down Under in Oz we have baked beans and cheese, baked beans and tomato, baked beans and ham and barbecue flavour, I think; in Texas they have added venison, rattlesnake and carrion flavours; baked beans and chocolate chips/peanuts, and baked beans, bourbon and Lucky Charms. The supermarket (or “store”) shelves are arranged alphabetically so baked beans are next to buckshot which is next to buckwheat. Don’t forget this, the tins can look quite similar.
As a segue to a cliche, everything is bigger in Texas. This is true. NASA has calculated that everything in Texas is bigger than anything anywhere else in the world at a ratio of 7:1. I shall not dwell more on it. I think, however, NASA has something to do with it. They like to feel needed so they are warping perspective with spacey laser beams, in between re-inventing icecream. There are a lot of, or, a few million mutants living in the Texas prairies, living in the dust bowl and listening to Brother Justin preach on the wireless. They only have wireless and not TV because they are mutants and don’t like to look at each other, or any human faces, even to get the weather report, innocuous as that may be.
RE: weather. It is either arid, dry, parched or stark. I learned these words in Year 7 English, they all mean the same thing. A hard bastard Texas sun. Or, alternatively, and on the other hand, there will be hurricanes. There is no middle ground in Texas. In fact, once I was going along the highway with Mac and on one side of the highway there was a hurricane and on the other side, the sun was shining. Highways in Texas are very wide. You get the appropriate width of any city street if a horse and cart can do a U-turn in it. There are 79, 535 miles (127, 999 km) of public highway in Texas. God Bless. You couldn’t go all Brunswick-Fitzroy and peddle your Bianchi across Texas. Other than the highway and Mac, Jack, Budd and Chip, I have been taking the train everywhere. Today I am on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway. I am having pretzels in the dining cart. Hard bastard Texas pretzels, don’t get me wrong. And hard bastard JD and Coca Cola in a glass with a straw and icecubes engineered by NASA.
All this is a prelude, of course. Some of you, I imagine, didn’t even know I was in Texas. Or are wondering what the hell I am doing here. Tomorrow: Why I am in Texas, and the Texas Sartorialist, with an eye towards Texan millinery.