Of all the cities I’ll miss visiting when my drumming days are through, I’ll miss Houston Texas the least. I mean this, of course, in the “best possible way.” Here was tonight’s situation… I was in Houston, I was hungry, and it was 11:30 pm. Discuss.
It doesn’t seem like such a desperate set of circumstances, but we have very little mobility on the road. Our bus is always anchored where it is, I wouldn’t know how to drive it if I were even allowed to, and we can rarely get Michael to pull over at Wattaburger or anywhere else when we leave at two in the morning for the next town.
The Hickory Hollow BBQ place where we ate lunch was closed, so I went into a bar called Cosmos Cafe and asked if they were still serving food. They weren’t. I asked where I might find something to eat in the neighborhood and learned there was a Jack In The Box up Washington Street a ways. Is it within walking distance? This question stumped them. Who would ever walk somewhere in Houston?
I would. I walked a goddam mile and a half with my shirt stuck to my back and sweat rolling off my forehead until I found the Jack In The Box, and when I got there the door was locked. They closed at 11, so my only hope was the 24 hour drive thru. But I wasn’t in a car. And so I did the thing that many of us have done at some point in our lives… I pretended I was a car. I inched my way along the drive-thru line between two pick-up trucks until I got to the menu.
I decided I would have two Jumbo Jacks and two chicken sandwiches. I was “hungry” and I’d just walked a long way in the humidity. I said hello to the speaker and the speaker said nothing to me. What the fuck? I kicked it, because that oughtta get their attention.
Sensing that the pick-up truck with the gun rack behind me was growing impatient, I decided to continue up the line to the window to actually talk to a human. A few minutes later I got there and a woman with a Jack In The Box hat and headset rolled her eyes at me and said “sorry, no walk-ups.” Wait a minute. Walk-ups? There’s a fucking name for people like me? This pretending-you’re-a-car phenomenon has a name!? I tried to make this woman understand… I’d walked for a half an hour past barbwire-enclosed car dealerships with doberman pinchers barking at me the whole way, just to come to this very Jack In The Box so I could spend my four dollars on four meat and mayonnaise sandwiches. My money’s no good here just because I’m on foot!?
She closed the window on me. I fucking loved when she did that. I had no choice but to plead with the cars in line behind me to let me tack on a few sandwiches to their orders. I was determined. But no one even rolled down their window for me. In fact some of them rolled their windows up as I approached. Even after I showed them my money and everything. They must have thought I was nuts. True, I was sweaty, angry, and my shirt was missing a few buttons so I may have been showing some nipple. But come on Houston. Have a heart.
I spent the long walk back to the bus wondering what I would do if I were in a car and a walk-upper approached me. I know what I’d do now.
Back on the bus I found some bread and cheese and a George Foreman grill to make me happy.