I have just finished a whirlwind tour of the Third Coast from the Texas Riviera where surf culture meets turf culture…. meets refineries and Mad Cow…. to the schmere of Florida we send our lesser affluent members of the middle class to grow tan and die basking in the sunshine coast warmth their only responsibility in the day to see how many manatees they can run over with their motorboats or those fan boat thingys that are super loud. It occurred to me as I sat in an ale house of some ill repute, if one gets repute from Yelp, that indeed I need explore my images in greater detail, and to meditate on their potential meaning and… perhaps allow others to join me on a short tour of Roadside America on the Third Coast I call Texorida.
With hats off to Worst of Perth, we start our trip in a small town in Texorida. It could be any town build along a strip of highway with a jumble of churches, junk yards, abandoned gas stations, and rape-y skateparks because these fun times… are in the Twilight Zone. Here at the Fun Times we must be having fun. But… do you want breakfast? The statement seems at first playful then you see its sinister nature in that it is declarative. You will have breakfast. This is not a choice. Because you can always skate with a belly pregnant with deep fried waffles, buttery logs of pig meat shaped like the turds they actually are, and plenty of Sunny-D to wash it all down. Skating in Mr. Wilson’s windowless storage unit… he told us kids to call him Redd… is optional. But he always had us kids stick a rag in our mouths. He told us it was to keep breakfast down. And to muffle the screams.
Next on our journey is Shark Village. A place where by law, the entrance of every building must be a shark. Entry into a building is a ritualized process where by you do not just walk in, enter via a door, but you cross a threshold, a sacred boundary that delineates the space that is the sacred Shark with that profane space outside in the world that is Not Shark. As Shark Space, that is Sharkspace, represents the experience of all that a shark eats, and sharks eat mostly trash, you become engaged in the ritual of looking over crap you don’t need like yet another teeshirt that cleverly hides the word “fuck” by replacing it with “duck,” “buck,” “struck,” “pluck” or shot glasses that clearly were made elsewhere and for another market and by people who never saw sunlight, laughed, and indeed had dug too deep into the earth in their lust for wealth. In turn, you also become that thing in the sacred space, the object or participant, the material of this sacred drama as you and those items connect and bond. As the shark swallows whatever is in the ocean, and you have entered fully into Sharkspace, you too now are one with the other pieces of shit for sale.
When traveling, what is sweeter than candy? Unless it is a tin hut crowded on the yard by the provider’s other belongings. Is this a lesson for some of the property owners off spring, a lemon-aid stand writ large, an object lesson in capitalism? Or is this the cruel prank of some local kids who also tagged the owner’s dog house with “Free Beer” and his van with “We’re here for your daughters.”
There is a lot of growth and movement in Texorida. We know that the 2008 protocollapse hit the area hard and gave everyone a taste of the Real Collapse(tm) that really took those curb cuts in speculated property in order to sell them as “prepared building sites” and…. uh… kicked it to the curb. It also left a lot of property half-build, semi-erect, or just FUBAR enough to be sold by owner. The Chinese character for danger and opportunity are…. different. They are not the same. At all. No matter what some business bloggers says. But the Chinese restaurant on Farm to Market Road #345000 believed it was a good opportunity to move to better digs over on Highway Overpass Lane Court Trail Place Drive Path Circle Way to take advantage of cheaper rent. One has to wonder if their new establishment is also painted Home Depot Oops paint beige or if this was a final amendment in their lease, “must leave broom clean and painted the colour off an extracted tumor.” Oh yeah. And everything next door is under 10 bucks. In case you were wondering.
The Hudson Valley has its Dutch stone houses some still stately as in the days of old Kauterskill while others are ghostly shells standing in forgotten wooded areas and glens. New England has its stone walls, some far up on forested mountains a testament to the yeoman farmers and the march of time and the clutches of the elder trees. The coast of Newfound Land has its ghost settlements, fisherman communities now abandoned by time and the hard life those Gallic families led. Texorida has the Ramble Inn. If walls could talk I wonder what the tales they could tell. An incident? Breaded ice cream or butter or a Milky Way dropped into duck fat exploded and destroyed the station? One too many pyrotechnics on Tobby’s 21st birthday party? Or is this indeed the leavings of an older civilization, the Others who settled on this island long ago and maintained not just one, but several Ramble Inns about all of which, shrouded in mystery, are in a similar state of ruin. One thing is certain. This one is for sale or lease by owner.
Driving about Texorida on a lazy weekend, the warm air and certain slant of the sun this time of year, some greenery but much about is tan and dry can make a driver prone to drift off into a reverie or to dwell on small tasks in great detail but not in a fulsome way. Of dreams the only thing is certain, if you come from this Dream Center, you need to consult your closest cleric, shaman, or quickly take a fistful of LSD and wander into the desert. This Dream Center is indeed a wonder. As an objective viewer, an outsider to Texorida, this blogger can only wonder what one would find inside the Dream Center. Your personal dreams, hopes, and secret desires? Huge animals copulating and feeding as coco fountains of three colours and flavours coat whatever you dip into them with muddy sugar…. wait… that’s Golden Corral. Or a collection of 1980s office furniture complete with corporate art of the same vintage, a high tech laboratory of Men In Black, or total otherworldly Beadle Juice mayhem? Methinketh methoughteth that inside this box of night, hides your richest and most wonderful dreams, as long as those dreams have shoulder pads, fax a lot of documents, and boxes of copy paper but no clever banter and talking to the camera.
If after you have not died a little inside after your visit to the dream center, you may want to relax with a little diversion that will take your mind off the short meaningless duration of life and how most of use die just a little each day in an endless wasteland of consumption.
And then you came here.