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Monday, January 10, 2005Running to Stand Still
Over the holidays I made the long trek back to Texas to visit family for the holidays. Well, actually I flew, so it wasn't so bad. I had a great time, I got to see my new nephew for the first time and I got to see my niece who is always too "big for her britches." She has a pink room, a pony, a closet full of shoes, and penchant for cheap plastic jewelry. Some poor boy who is happily playing with his toys right now is in for some trouble some day!
I also got to hang out with my mom for a few days, which is always fun. We argue and fight sometimes, but that's just how we say "I love you!" Well, one day my mom and I are driving out to this very eclectic restaurant in Conroe, TX... wait, let me first set the scene properly...
I grew up in the Piney woods of east Texas in a little town called Conroe. I remember back when we barely had a Wal-Mart and Black-eyed Pea was the "fancy" restaurant in town. Well, over the years Wal-Mart matured into Super Wal-Mart, his brother Sam's showed up, brought his unruly friends Target, Best Buy, Lowe's, and they got drunk and kicked K-mart's ass out of town. There is a lake they are proud to call "Houston's playground," (well, that was always there, but the name is new) and imagine if you will a stretch of highway covered in car dealerships as far as the eye can see, and fancy restaurants, we've got a few now. Which is where this story really begins!
My mom and I decided to go to lunch at this restaurant called Westland Oil. It originally started out as an Oil company, run by an eccentric Chinese immigrant. By eccentric I mean his mother was a dame of Chiang Kai-shek, he came to Texas already wealthy, started an oil company, and proceeded to built a lavish office building in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by pagodas that were actually disguised ammo dumps. He surrounded the "office" with artillery and made employees eat every lunch in the company cafeteria. Only employees were allowed on the property, and I'm sure that was only after a security check that would make the FBI proud. Said crazy man has since left this building in saner hands and said cafeteria has now been turned into a fantastic restaurant with bar located conveniently near. I would tell you how the food was, but they are closed on Mondays so we had to settle with walking around the highly secure lobby area and viewing the pagodas from a far. My entire life I lived about 10 minutes away from a crazy man with guns, Texas' own little Howard Hughes. And for some reason I felt the need to get out in the world...
Of course the interesting part of the story was on the drive out to this place my mother, your average everyday mom, turns to me and says, "Oh, there's where we dropped that hooker off that time." She then turns to the sound of my jaw hitting the floor and asks, "Did I not tell you about the time I picked up that hooker?" After I woke back up she told me the whole story. All completely innocent once you hear it. My mom and one of her friends were out at a club and as they were leaving they noticed a man and a woman in a fight in the parking lot. The man gets upset, jumps in his car (actually it was probably a truck) and takes off. My mom and her friend are both having flashbacks of angry ex'es and decide to give this poor girl a ride home. On the ride it is discovered that the lady works at the school and they ask her what grade she teaches. She states "I'm no teacher I work in the cafeteria, and I'm a prostitute on the side!" Well, my mom is freaking out now, she's afraid they're gonna get pulled over and she's gonna get arrested for giving a poor whore a ride. Turn's out the lady lives with her son, who just got out of jail. Well, she is hastily dropped off at her "manufactured home" (I think it was only a single wide) and my mom and her friend high tailed it out of there.
Now my mom is very innocent in her ways. She can be very smart and witty, but I'm often amazed at how little she's knows about the wide world. This is the same woman who wanted to grab the seat next to the crazy stinking bum on the F-train when she came out to visit. Not that I have anything against crazy stinking bum's but this one was punching the air and cursing, and personally, I prefer a little distance. So maybe most people would've recognized up front that this was a lady of the oldest profession, they were giving a ride to, but my Mom just thought she was doing a good deed for another woman.
So I've gone out in the world to find interesting and exciting stories, only to find that some of the best are still back home! Oh Conroe, how you have grown! [solitary tear slides down cheek]
"And so she woke up, woke up from where she was, lying still, Said I gotta do something about where we're going." U2 Running to Stand Still, for some reason this story made me think of this song.