22 July 2008

st. louis research adventure, part I

Greetings from the "Gateway City"! (I had to look that up). What is it the Gateway to? Well I'm about to tell you. Getting to the airport was the easiest ever, thanks to the recently opened TRAX extension to the Central Station transit hub. I got to visit with an old friend I ran into at the airport and the flight was amazingly easy. Architecturally, I think Lambert International Airport is probably the most anticlimactic airport ever-- I really hardly even noticed I was there, and really, could've been anywhere-- it was the most anonymous place. Anyways, I got right into a cab and gave the cabbie one of my ovaries to pay the fare. My hotel sits exactly parallel to some freeway on an intersection that includes a large Shell station, a Hardee's and a shop called "Dirt Cheap Cigarettes." Lots of options for dinner, eh?

So first I try the Hardee's. There are dudes merrily leering at me from their cars in the drivethrough, so it appears open. Door one, locked. Door two, locked. After watching me struggle and quizzically looking at the hours and the people working inside, the Hardee's employee on her smoke break decided to inform me that "the inside is closed." WHY DON'T YOU PUT A SIGN UP, ASSHOLES?! Excuse me. That's not what I said to her. The absurdity of the situation elicited nothing a baffled look on my face because there are just NO WORDS to describe how absurd the situation was and this girl did not see it and I didn't want to explain it to her because the natural manner in which she told me the inside was closed suggested that it was somehow a normative occurance.

Next I decide that maybe I will be blessed by supporting a local business, and appearing as a git'n'split of sorts, I decided to give Dirt Cheap Cigarettes a shot. So I go in and I CAN'T FIND THE FOOD but let me tell you, I can find the the tobacco because this really is a fucking smoke shop! I did find something to eat in their nearly hidden food section-- and they had no tabloids, Mom, honestly-- or booze, sheesh-- but man, the intoxicating smell of the place made me consider taking up the habit! Then I realized that I probably had a contact high or something because the place was full of every kind of tobacco product ever made, and decided against it. So St. Louis-- the Gateway to Smoking! Ok that didn't come out how I thought it did, but it was all very dramatic at the time.

I emerged into the humid night thinking I might check out my options at the Shell station, but instantly wilted in the humidity. My hair was suddenly limp, my skin seemed suddenly greasy, and I had just lost my entire will to live. I returned to my hotel room to eat my tuna "lunch-to-go" and all the White Cheddar Cheez-Its I could handle, wondering tomorrow's trip to the archive might yield.

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