Phoenix was a desolate, post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s the kind of city where they can never set a zombie film, because how could the audience tell, you know?
Scottsville, at least, had some personality. But what we saw of that personality was tacky and gaudy and just a shade exploitative.
New Mexico was stunningly beautiful. Albuquerque was kind of funky and eclectic, at least in the neighborhood we visited, which was near the university. Also, the fact that we were dining with Lyle and his partner Scott, and our companions were so charming, may have distracted us a bit.
I remember little of Texas, other than that the clerk at Stuckey’s was blisteringly hot.
Oklahoma was like something out of Mad Max, only with obese Puritans. I mean, by California standards, I’m a big guy. Seeing the mid-West has made me much less self-conscious about my weight. That the highways were littered with vague in meaning signs that read “No Tolerance” prompted the gay and the jew to speed through as quickly as possible.
Missouri was just slightly off, with oddly aggressive drivers. But a fair portion of the male population is good-looking and bearish and I think I’ve seen more porn shops advertising arcades and “spas” there than in any other part of the country.
Indiana…yeah, we passed through there.
West Virginia we were in for all of five minutes. I’m okay with that.
Pennsylvania was interesting. It was much like Oregon, only more conservative and with worse roads. And exorbitantly priced toll roads. It’s also were I had to make an escape from heteronormativity and ran off to the local gay bar. Which was dead. On a Saturday night.
Which says something about Pennsylvania, I think.
The way back has brought us through Ohio, where we stopped to see my last living grand-parent, an outspoken woman born in Tennessee during the Depression who worked in an auto factory after the war, was a single-mother and married a Lebanese man and still doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about all that. My grand-father Eddie was also an amazing man, and former body-builder, Mr. Ohio and physique model.
We moved on to Michigan, were we spent a fantastic day with Gayprof, who showed me Midwestern Funky Town in person. It is both Midwestern and Funky, and Prof is the sweetest, most charming man I’ve met outside of Pete, and just as smart and funny as his blog leads you to believe.
That brought us to Illinois and Wisconsin and Minnesota. Chicago people, I love you, but there’s not enough money in the world you can pay me to set foot in that town. It made L.A. look Utopian. Minnesota has been flat, farms and homophobic teens. Wisconsin was intriguing bill-boards about roadside attractions and horrible drivers. Again, to a degree that makes L.A. look like a bastion of politeness and correct use of turn-signals.
Oh, one thing John and I have discovered: folk music makes an oddly appropriate back-ground noise for the less inhabited parts of the country.
Here’s me in front of the Mississippi.