Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 12: Ridin' along in my Automobile

(listen to today's theme)
That morning I woke up in a sticky stove, much like in that introduction to Apocalypse Now, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling and cursing the humidity in the air. I stepped out of my aluminum submarine, and knocked on Panzzer's door, who quickly got ready to check the forum in the local library, a neat little space in a government building surrounded by what we call the Martha Stuart People, the crowds who idolize the Toyota Prius and shop at Banana Republic. My goodness, I am getting more and more judgmental by the day!

The rest of the day we spent in a couple junkyards looking for a front set of the much coveted W123 Euro bumpers, distinctive for not protruding boldly out of the car as the US DOT wants. After scavenging a few very good parts into a complete set ($54!), we headed for Taco Bueno, a fast food taqueria in the lines of Taco Bell but without feeling grossed out by their tortilla crud. Pretty okay, and very well priced (89c each!).

I put my European bumper, right how it should have looked like in the first place, and stared proudly and the shaved lips of Newport. Chic. We headed back to the library, and, after scrambling with eBay's new listing layout for a few parts here and there, we said goodbye. Dear Panzzer, thank you for showing me all those gems, and getting me in the way for more. And for taking my preconceptions about Taco Bueno by having me try it for the very first time.

All proud of my new looks, I pull into a gas station, refuel and check the oil. I crank the car, and, after a couple very slow turns, the car does not start. The battery, most likely. Darn. I ask every single person in the gas station for a set of jumper cables (I must have misplaced mine while working on the hatch a few months ago), and, after five or six failed attempts, a very courteous young man took me to Lowe's in his Silverado for a set. To this anonymous sir I will be eternally thankful.

All roads lead to Rhome. To their Exxon station, exactly, where I met Jody (doublejody), a true Texan gentleman who not only invited me to a true midnight Texan dish, Whataburger –with elements of his own nostalgia about how he worked for the chain in his teens–; but also ushered me to an authentic Texan ranch used for horse training, where I stayed in one of their bunkhouse rooms, a true, air-conditioned delight.

Before going to bed I spent a good ten minutes scratching myself, especially my ankles, on which the local mosquitoes had had a feast.

This is the library from which I wrote earlier. A very, very neat space.

These people hold music sessions to encourage the kids to read. How cool!

My room lamp. This will be me in a few days, right on Monument Valley.

Whataburger, a dinner worthy of a King.

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