Texas is big…and different. My mind drifts back to Eddie Murphy’s Delirious bit when he was about to venture into Texas for the first time.
“Don’t go to Texas, man. They’ll fuck you up.”
Now Mr. Murphy may have been referring to something else, but this statement rings true for me in terms of the gigantic, enormous, monstrosities that are the cars in this state.
Everyone drives. One person per car as far as I can see. Lanes upon lanes, highways, frontage roads next to the highways…and then my jaw drops.
“What’s that up ahead? Is that a series of buildings? Whoa, are those space-ways? Holy shit, turn back, turn back!”
Ten different highways come together at a meeting point and they all cross over each other in a reasonably tight puzzle that kind of looks like a roller-coaster, but more scary. Some of the highways are 20 stories high and when driving on the ramps it feels like you are flying. And this is all from the passenger seat, mind you. I’m taking my time before I take on these behemoths.
Speaking of behemoths, the classic 4WD is like a newborn baby compared to the pick-up trucks I see on an hourly basis. They don’t call ‘em trucks for nada. It’s ridiculous to think why anyone would need such an eye-sore for the daily trek to work, the shops or the firing range. Back in Australia, we called them “utes.” But these things are about five times as big as the old Holden and I ain’t even lying.
So what does one do when you’re in a truck? Well it’s about three metres down, so forget about stepping out to do your errands.
Welcome to the land of “drive-thru.” Growing up in little ole Perth, the only thing that was drive-thru was the drive-in cinema. Even in recent times, fast food is all I knew about drive-thru. Here we have drive-thru pharmacies, drive-thru restaurants, drive-in restaurants, drive-thru banking, drive-thru cleaners and probably a few more I haven’t discovered yet. And if you want something a little more substantial than just a fast-food burger, most of the major restaurant chains have dedicated “to-go” counters where you can essentially drive up, hop out and grab your dinner.
I have to say, I’m not complaining about this new-found convenience. Parking can be a nightmare, especially in lots that haven’t adapted to the fact that the compact car is something of a rarity down here. But I do miss walking a little bit. It’s impossible to walk anywhere here. Even if something is just on the other side of an outdoor shopping centre, you have to transform into Frogger just to make it across the parking lot alive. And the heat is getting intense. To be certain, one thing you don’t want to do when you’re driving through everything is run out of gas…
What do you think about America’s conveniences?