I started out yesterday by finding out that I am the only person in the history of the JET program to have his applcation lost. I proved through UPS tracking receipts that I had gotten my application in on time, so they’re letting me resubmit for a last-minute consideration. Here’s hoping.
So directly after that bit of fortune comes my way, I get distracted and accidentally get back on the freeway going the wrong way. No worries, I think, I will just pull over at the next stop and turn around. Well, you forget, Jason, that this is Oklahoma. Let me tell you about Oklahoma, and specifically, the I-44 freeway. Every inch of it is a toll road. You have to pay to get off the toll road, and to get on. Even just to get gas, or use the bathroom. There are no rest stops. Every town is around 30 miles apart. So let me encapsulate my toll adventures:
– Paid $3.50 upon entering Oklahoma
– Paid $0.75 when exiting at Vinita
– Paid $1.25 when leaving Vinita
– Paid $3.50 at second toll booth outside of Tulsa
– Got JET news, turned around accidentally, paid $3.50 at same toll booth again.
– Entered small town 20 minutes away (Barstow?) for U-turn, paid $0.75.
– Left small town, paid $1.25
– Paid $3.50 at Tulsa toll booth once more
Grand total: $18
In conclusion: fuck the Oklahoma transit authority.
Seriously, Oklahoma is a very strange state. I was amused to note that one of the biggest buildings in Tulsa was for the Freemasons. How did I know? Because they plastered the side of the building with their logo, and put it right next to the freeway. I think they missed out on the whole “secret” part of “secret society”. Perhaps they did not get the memo.
An amusing three Oklahoma billboards right next to each other: one for a baptist school for girls; one for pregnancy help; one for microsurgical vasectomy reversal. I think that says more than I ever could about this state.
I have been trying to figure out which state is the most pious, and been having some trouble with it. While Kansas and Missouri seem tied for sheer number of pro-Jesus billboards, Texas does has the biggest cross in the western hemisphere (it really is very big), and Oklahoma, apart from the standard billboards and trucker chapels (held in big rigs), had its own nauseating little faith proclamation: you know those illegal window stickers of Calvin pissing on something, like the Ford logo? Well, I found one where he’s kneeling and praying to a cross. I nearly keyed the truck it was on.
Texas I found to be utterly terrifying. Like Oklahoma, Kansas, and so many other states, physically it is a vast expanse of brush and nothingness. However, their pride in this complete lack of anything is unfathomable. Consider that the first rest stop I came to was built like a museum. In the shape of the state of Texas. They actually have street signs saying “DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: $100 littering fine.” All mentions of the state’s name are prefaced by the phrase “The great state of”. Needless to say, a lot of Bush/Cheney stickers around here. Scary.
I stopped in Amarillo, Texas for dinner. My friend Tanya is from there, and her mom runs a restaurant there, so I got free food, and met her mom. She was about what I expected — a short, sweet, thickly accented thai woman. She loaded me up with free food which I am sure has gone bad by now, since it was all various forms of meat, and I have no fridge.
I made it to Albuqurque, where, after driving 750 miles, I was about falling asleep. It was raining, the roads were winding and windy, and God basically dictated I stop. Stayed in a handicapped-accessible room, where the bathroom had no door. That was a little weird, but… oh well.
I don’t think this day had much of a theme to it. I’m nervous about getting back to LA, my work situation, and whatnot. But JET possibilities are exciting. Oh well, here goes nothing. Another 800 miles to go, should be in LA late tonight. Ganbarimasu!
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