Friday, May 29, 2009

Good Will Exiting

I just drove through Salt Lake City recently and whatever moron was put in charge of writing the exit signs should have six of their wives taken away. Every sign looks like the math equation that Matt Damon solved in Good Will Hunting.  This is sort of what you have to decipher as you're traveling 70 mph.

Exit 258-B
ISB25S     SW East 203 21st 2000/45 3 miles
ISBA/3    20443   IA200/BB345W 2.5 miles
HWY229  1002/2003 1/2 E 4   miles

Is anyone out there from Salt Lake.  Can you explain this to me? Is it like those old cities where they made the streets like a maze to confuse invaders? Are they just smarter then me in Salt Lake? 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

They Want To Pump You Up

A little tip if you're traveling by car to Oregon. Don't try to pump your own gas. It's against the law. No shit. The first time I drove up there I got out of my car and started pumping like I always do and all I heard was, "Sir, stop right there. Put your hands up. And step away from the pump." They really get freaked about it. Which can be scary because most of the people who are qualified to pump your gas in Oregon are crack addicts or survivalists who have left the compound and come down off the mountain to make a little money so they can buy more bullets and Spam. It's a pretty wacky system but I've mostly gotten used to it.  The only problem now is when I leave Oregon and have to pump my own gas.  More than a few times I've forgotten to take the hose out of my tank and have driven away.  Not a pretty sight. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

They Loved Me In Burns

'Getting a laugh'  in a foreign country has always been a great challenge for me. And, until recently, making that tuk tuk driver in Bangkok spit water through his nose has been my greatest achievement. In many ways, Oregon is like a foreign country, especially when you get into the eastern part and towns like Burns. Known mostly for its onions and manure, Burns is populated by what I consider a 'tough audience' for my brand of humor. Cowboys, ranchers, cow inseminators. (Thanks Rich) But as those posters say in card stores, 'Face your fears and watch them disappear.' So I did. We had just pulled into a Sinclair gas station.  It was early Sunday so there wasn't a lot of action in town and several of the local boys had gathered at the gas station to talk crop reports and maybe hope for a city boy to stop by that they could throw in back and beat on the kidneys with sticks for awhile. Enter me. As I pushed through the door and stepped up to the register I picked up on some of their conversation. Apparently, one of them had seen something on the tv about traffic and commutes in Los Angeles.  He said, "I heard that there are people in Los Angeles with a three to four hour commute to work." My heart started to beat a little faster as I knew right where to go. I turned to the group and said, "I just moved here from Los Angeles and that was about how long my commute to work was."  Wait for it Mark. Wait for it.  Now.  "And I only lived 10 miles away." Huge laughs.  As I walked out the door to thunderous applause and laughter I could only think to turn and say,  "Thank you. Thank you. I'll be here all week. Have a great time and be sure to tip your waitress."  Crickets.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wheel Men Don't Eat Quiche.

I started to notice it as soon as we moved to Oregon. I'd be at the store, or in traffic, or getting gas. I'd turn and catch men - and sometimes women- looking my way and snickering. Usually they'd turn away quickly and go about their business. After this had happened a few times, I realized they weren't looking at me but something slightly lower. No not that. They were looking at my tires. How odd I thought to myself.  What could be wrong with my tires. When I was at home in the privacy of my carport I examined my tires but couldn't find anything out of the ordinary. I went through my tire checklist and everything seemed normal. Round, check. Little nozzle, check. Then one day I got a flat and when I went to the Les Schwab Tire Center the tire guy told me that I might want to consider a 6-ply tire for my Jeep instead of the 4-ply pussy wheels I presently had. So that was it. I was 2 ply shy of being a real man. Of course. No wonder women weren't throwing themselves at me like bugs to a windshield. I signed up immediately for a brand new set of Federal 6-ply light truck utility tires. I could hardly wait to try these bad boys out so the day I picked up the Jeep, Melanie and I headed out for a tour of the dirt roads. We drove for hours then headed down a particularly steep, rocky and treacherous piece of road until we came to the river crossing at Alder Creek. It was gorgeous. A pristine place only accessible to brave men and rugged machines equipped with 6-ply tires. On the other side of the river, men just like me had gathered with their bitches and beer to party.  The music of Charlie Daniels drifted across the river along with the sweet scent of marijuana. I drove home with the feeling that I was finally being accepted in this rugged new world. Which is why is was so disturbing when, two days later, I was filling up and, once again, I turned and caught someone snickering. "What, what is it?" I screamed. "What are you laughing at? These are 6-ply tires."  "Yeah," he replied.  "But they're from Korea."