It’s Going To Get Ugly This Year I Can Tell Already

Posted: March 16, 2012 in The Roper Files

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Ever since I was in a near-fatal accident back in 1988, I’ve hated driving.The drone of the motor combined with watching the white stripes of the roadway disappearing into the front end of the car; it’s like watching Pac Man eating dots. It only takes a few minutes of this to lull me into the beginnings of an involuntary slumber.

We checked out of the bed-and-breakfast at 11am sharp; I had made a point of filling up a large cup of coffee to the brim with a strong coffee. Yet within two hours of driving I was going stir-crazy behind the wheel of our rented Nissan Sentra as we sped down the back roads of the south Texas hill country.

The Talking Heads CD in the dash player gave me a false sense of familiarity; I had no idea where we really were. We sped past one plot of land full of dead mesquite trees ringed with a barb-wire fence after another. What sort of farms and ranches were these? I could see no horses, cattle or anything growing on any of them. How did these people really earn a living? Despite the long slow Number One I took before leaving the bed and breakfast, my bladder was in pain. I needed to stop the car. I needed to get out and stretch my legs. But thanks to my now-empty coffee cup, I needed to relieve myself.  A small nondescript town came into view; a sign said it was Blanco Texas.

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The town had one four-lane highway crossing the one we entered on and the other highway seemed to also serve as the town’s Main Drag. Since it was Sunday almost everything was closed. Coming to a stop sign I looked to the right; a long highway stretched to the horizon. Looking to the left I spotted a Shell gas station and turned hoping they had a restroom I could use. We drove past buildings that looked as if they dated back beyond the 1930s Depression: a stone courthouse building, an empty movie theater with plywood over the doors etc. I pulled up to the door of the Shell station and bolted inside.

After using their restroom, I asked the  clerk behind the counter where the best place in town for lunch was. She gave me directions to the Uptown Cafe; I thanked her and walked back out to the car. I backed out of the Shell and doubled back up the highway and found the cafe in the same block as the abandoned theater. The only parking spaces I could see were in front of the courthouse; I pulled the car into a space next to a white Cadillac. I was getting out when I looked over and noticed the sign in the the Cadillac’s rear side window.

OBAMA ISN’T A PIECE OF SHIT; HE’S THE WHOLE TURD” the black letters on white print-out paper said. (Hyuk !) It took me a few seconds to realize this was someone’s lame attempt at “humor” They had a twin sign on the opposite window on the other side of the Caddy. My girlfriend was aghast and took a photo of it. “Yeah some of us felt the same way about Bush and Cheney for eight years” I thought to myself, locked the door and shrugged it off. Welcome to Mayberry, Texas. We crossed the highway and walked up the sidewalk to the Uptown Cafe.

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We entered the restaurant and I must admit it wasn’t quite what I was expecting to see. The walls were covered with wood paneling and the staff all had white shirts and ties on. In other words it was a little fancier than the rough exterior of the building would lead you to believe. The girl at the front register told us there would be a ten minute wait despite the fact I could see empty tables through the door. A few minutes later a server appeared and asked us to Walk This Way. She led us to a table in a rear room that had bars on the windows. What kind of place was this?

We were handed menus and the server disappeared. I looked around at the other diners; some were dressed in their Sunday Go To Meeting clothes; others looked as if they were going hunting. We were dressed in jeans and I was wearing a newly-purchased Lewis Black For President t-shirt. No doubt about it; this was Deliverance Country; Easy Rider Redux.

The server re-appeared, we ordered and waited for our food. Unbeknownst to me my girlfriend told me that the large party of people seated behind me were nudging each other and pointing at my shirt. She made eye contact with them just to let them know she saw what they were doing. None of said anything out loud which was probably for the best. She was pretty sure these had to be the owners of the Cadillac parked next to us.

She said something out loud to the effect of wanting to leave a note on the windshield telling the owner of the Caddy how rude and offensive she found that sign. “I’ve got car keys; I could give them a key job” I told her. “I’ve got a knife; I could slash their tires but I’m NOT going to do it” She made a face.

Besides in a town like this that could be the sheriff’s or the Mayor’s personal car. Blow it off; forget about it.”

We ate quickly and left. When we got back to our parking place the Cadillac was gone and I was glad it wasn’t there. Shades of BLAZING SADDLES; it’s been four years. There’s a black man in the White House; deal with it, you yokels.

We got in, backed out and I put in a Hank Williams CD in commemoration of our having dodged the bullet of a confrontation with rednecks. I hoped to myself they went home and did a search for Lewis Black on YouTube and got a suitable ear-full. We zoomed down the highway full of food and lulled by the gentle yodeling of Ole Hank while I made a mental note to vote Obama in November just to spite those hicks…

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