If you live in Chandler, Oklahoma, I hate you. I hate your mom. Your dad. Your brother. Your whore of a sister. And your pets. Fuck your pets.
This is about our cross country trip, so if you’re looking for snarky movie chat, look elsewhere. I might dip a reference or two in, but the meat of this sucker is the drive. The road. The long, winding stretch of asshole that is middle America.
So we journeyed. And as the tar unfurled before us like the black tongue of some diseased giant, the trek tested us. This was not my first rodeo, not by a long shot. It was, however, the most difficult. First, the dog. Let me talk about this guy for a minute. We packed my dad’s truck, a Honda Beast that looks a bit like something out of Escape from New York, except maybe too new. It has those strange futuristic details, like the oversized pseudo-sleek handle grips on the doors and the center console with enough hidden features that it would work incredibly well if we needed to stash a horde of cocaine. However, it has little usable space when it comes to boxes. Especially when a dog crate large enough for a St. Bernard, or the 100 lb. German Shepherd that it is home to fills half of the bed. And so it went, an overpacked back seat and a bed filled with dog. Until the temperature in Texas and Oklahoma hit 100 degrees. Cue the traffic jam and my liberal asshole self is sitting there, looking at my girlfriend, who also has that liberal asshole conscience working overtime, and BAM, next thing you know, we’re stopped in Chandler.
We pull in, looking for the gas station advertised on the roadside signs to no avail. Instead, we’re led to a world forgotten by time. The ancient town we stumbled into held a postcard from the 1950’s, which I would have believed true save for the local theater marquee advertising Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of What the Fuck Is This Shit (in case you wanted to know what I thought of this summer’s “blockbuster”). After several minutes and at least three U-ee’s, we come to a tiny section of updated land, revealing a Sonic and a single gas station. So we stop. I order a limeade and some tater tots that taste like castor oil, a phenomenon my girlfriend Becca informs me is “just the Sonic flavor.” She walks the hulking, panting, oversized dog around while I reorganize the truck bed and backseat, making room for said hulk to join us in the cab. In 100 degree heat. After sitting in an hour and a half traffic jam. First mistake.
Room is made, we get Jake in the backseat and move along to get $75 worth of fucking gas. We pull in, notice that the dog is out of water and I run inside for a doggy thirst quencher. As I’m inside and Becca works the gas pump, the dog has managed to jump into the front seat, attempting to steal the crude oil tots. I’m all for letting him steal that revolting meal, but since they’re the only “edible” substance from that God-forsaken “restaurant,” I fight to keep them in my possession. While making a leap for the potato petrol, Jake has managed to unload a sheath of hair that could replace the entirety of Bret Michael’s scalp all over the front two seats.
The hair is cleaned up and we prepare for departure. Jake whines like there’s a rabbit outside of the car and to add insult to injury, he stinks. Wet, hairy and panting that stinking, hot breath all over us. And I’m sure my stench is not much better, since I’m wearing a recent thrift store t-shirt find, which comes complete with that armpit stink that can only come from someone else’s repeated wear.
Trying somehow to stop my nerves and cool my sweaty, sticky, reeking self, I reach down for my limeade to take a sip when Becca eyes the puddle in the cupholder. It seems the syrupy refreshment has emptied its contents in the plastic holster, which, of course, pleases me to no end. This is when I punch shit. Starting with the steering wheel. And the ceiling. Then Becca.
That’s a joke. But if it wasn’t, that would have been an awesome turn, right? All of a sudden, I turn into the abusive boyfriend. You’d be like, “Holy shit! That story started out so innocent and then the dude knocked her teeth out!” Maybe my readership would improve if I got all Ike Turner on someone. We’ll have to test this theory later, maybe on my little brother, Timmy.
Back to the story. I punched some crap, nothing animate, then parked the truck. Becca is getting out of the car to buy some paper towels when this little old lady pulls in the spot in front of us. And I kid you not, she pulls in, slow as can be, and nearly clips the front of the truck. Inches. Centimeters, even. The length of two days stubble.
She gets out the car, walks over to my driver’s side window and knocks. I pretend not to see her. She knocks again. I decide to open the window, even though my instinct is to run her down.
“I bet you didn’t think an old lady could park that close without hitting you.”
Feigned laughs. Becca is stupefied. She runs inside for the towels, attempting to flee this mindfuck of a town before it gets worse. Flee. As fast as we can, struggling to escape the Midwest, cause if this is God’s country, we don’t belong here.
And flee we do. Run like hell. Speeding down the endless black, gray, largely cracked and worn pavement. Until day two. Which is a whole other story.
But to really put the icing on this cake, the visit to Chandler cost us two dollars, because this wonderful, enriching stop required an exit from the turnpike. And as soon as we got back on that dreaded stretch of road, there it was, a free rest stop, complete with a gas station and fast food joint. Balls.
The moral of this story is, don’t stop in Chandler, Oklahoma. Unless you live there. And if that’s the case, what the fuck are you thinking?
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