>I’m in the midst of my first work trip of the year, in soon-to-be-frigid Parsons, KS. You may ask, “Where the hell is that?” It’s literally the middle of nowhere. When I was looking at flight options, I could have flown into St. Louis and then driven 2.5 hours, or I could have flown into Wichita and driven 2.5 hours. I chose to fly into Tulsa, OK, because it only necessitated a 2-hour drive, plus it was a city/airport I’d never been to before. At least I don’t think I’ve been there before. The beauty of it all is that the 2-hour drive came on the end of a long, much-delayed day of flying. Curse you, Minneapolis! Curse you! Anyway, here are some stunning shots of Parsons:
It has been a weird trip. Things that should have gone smooth at the customer site were full of little glitches; not anything I did, just device failures, hardware problems, little shit like that. If all had gone well, I’d be back on a plane headed home right now. The lady I’m working with said they always have those kinds of problems, and asked if I had any ideas why that is. I said maybe their building is built on an old Indian burial ground or something. She gave me an odd look, and said, “I thought your answer would be a little more technical.” I told her I’m not a very technical guy. I did get rung up pretty good by one of their manufacturing guys though in a big meeting I had to preside over. We were talking about some kind of problem, and I was relating a story about when it first happened and I couldn’t figure it out; it had me pulling my hair out. One of the wiseasses said, “It appears to have grown back okay, though.” That got a good laugh at my expense. I can take it, though. Especially since the guy who said it is all but bald. Who is laughing now, eh, wiseguy?
I had lunch at this fine establishment today:
Lerch’s Bar and Grill. The bar was crowded with old dudes griping about lack of work, the various bailouts, and the Kansas City Chiefs. All while drinking light beer and smoking like they wanted to die of cancer tomorrow. A table behind me had a “special” person in their midst that moaned and groaned loudly the entire time like an extra in a zombie film. Maybe that sounds mean, but that is what it reminded me of. The place advertises its “Ultimate Lerch Burger.” It is 3# of meat, something like 8 pieces of cheese, 8 slices of bacon, and comes with a pound of french fries and a “Lerch Mug” which is just one of those plastic beer pitchers. If you can choke down the entire meal in 45 minutes or less, it is free. Otherwise you pay $29.99. No, I didn’t make the attempt.
I intend to get up early, get a little work done, then head to Tulsa to catch my flight. I plan to take a few more photos too. There is supposedly a big cemetery right across the highway from the swank Best Western I’m inhabiting; that would be out beyond here somewhere:
I guess there are 375 Civil War vets buried out there. Seeing as how I recently read Confederates in the Attic, I’m pretty fired up about that. The IT guy where I’m working literally looks like he belongs in a reenactment group. He has the crooked teeth, the beard, and that kind of shell-shocked stare that would be right at home along side a muddy trail, bloating. I kid you not.
I’m also eager to see the countryside between here and Tulsa. Having just read American Buffalo, I’ll be imagining it teeming with the mighty bison. I’m really, really pissed that I missed Rinella at Fact & Fiction just last night. I saw him at the Festival of the Book about 3 years ago, and we talked then about this bison book he was writing. It’s bullshit that it is finally out and I wasn’t around to catch the reading.
Goddamn, I wish I could get paid to just drive around and look at stuff. I’d even write about it. Speaking of which, I have a huge project I’m working on that I best put off procrastinating and get to work on. I tried faking my own death a little while ago, but that didn’t really help me avoid my writerly responsibilities.