I’m in the Lone Star state. Three cheers for arriving safe and sound. I’m the girl in the teeeeeny-tiny Toyota amid all of the giant trucks, with the oversized aviators on. (Texas really is big sky country. It’s ridiculously bright, all the time, because it’s so open and flat on the highways.)
You know you’ve spent too much time with your parents when you suggest –and prefer– that they go off to Borders so that you can watch the Jersey Shore guys sing “T-shirt Time!” while you blog on the floor of your unfurnished apartment.
Oh yeah, have I mentioned that I have no furniture?
Or clothes, kitchen supplies, or general necessities for living?
OK, I have some pajamas, minimal electronics, make-up, and a duffel of mismatched athletic wear. And a pair of I-Passed-the-Bar knee-high brown leather boots. They’re pretty fabulous but they don’t quite class-up the athletic wear; trust me.
My things were sent packing in a moving truck paid courtesy of my firm. (Thanks!) That was on the 22nd of December. I was assured that my things would arrive in a timely fashion — potentially before we did, in fact — and accordingly set up a reserve delivery date in case that happened.
That day was yesterday.
The specifics concerning how this happened aren’t all that interesting, but suffice it to say that instead of setting up the apartment or opening boxes, we’ve spent a great deal of time puttering around and doing what can only be described as camping out.
It’s all supposed to arrive late next week. (Sigh.)
I made a trip to the outlet mall to pick up some things in case I have to start work sans clothing — and everything else — but I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. It was also a great excuse to drop a lot of money on sequined business wear, my new favorite trend.
Special thanks to B, who brought me over my old comforter and some necessities. (“A knife?” “How else are you gonna get the boxes open?” “Ohhhhhhh!”)
The car ride was generally good. Not a lot of traffic, and overnight stops in Tennessee and on the Texas-Arkansas border were pretty pleasant. (Kennedy Center Honors in a comfy bed with some hotel tea? Don’t mind if I do!)
Notable stops? Graceland — the former home of Elvis — carefully disguised as a very large house behind a brick fence in the middle of a crumbling, dilapidated street in a forgotten corner of Memphis. This is a nice, wordy way of saying that the street is really, reeeeeally sketchy, and there’s no way that it looks even remotely similar to what it must have looked like in its heyday. There’s even a fenced-in pile of rubble with a broken sign that looks like it was laid to rest long ago atop the pile that says “Graceland Hotel” to drive the point home.
The tour down Elvis Presley Blvd. begins with some rag-tag street signs missing a few key letters, followed by a strange trip down a deserted street that’s lined with Elvis’s airplanes parked curiously close to the road, and is topped off by a little side street in front of the main house that’s only purpose seems to be shielding the gawkers unwilling to pay the $31 entrance fee ($31!!?) — namely, us — from real traffic, as they drive slowly and scan the property without fear of being rear-ended. (Fear of being robbed — no such buffer.)
The house also had what can only be described as a shit-ton (I love this word; forgive me) of Christmas decorations that looked pulled straight out of the 70’s.
Conversation between me and my father:
“Do you think Elvis put those up?” “When, like 30 years ago?” “No, like last week. Of course 30 years ago.”
Mom: “Well I don’t think he put them up this time.”
The Clinton Presidential Library was markedly better. I am a big fan of the Clintons for many reasons I’d be happy to tell you about in some other post. The library being on our route was a nice coincidence; Little Rock is so tucked away (read: remote) that I’m not sure anyone would ever venture to it unless truly Clinton-obsessed, or by long roadtrip. (We worried at points if we should fill up the car for fear that no gas stations would be around for hours…)
The library complex is well-planned; its entrance is practically next to the incoming highway, and the volunteer staff is bursting with southern charm. (“Weeelllllcome to the Clin-ton Pres-e-deeential Lie-brary! Your first stop over to mah right is seee-cur-i-ty. Thaank yew for comin to see us!”) I had a conversation with one security guard that started with him telling me about Clinton’s last visit to the library (“He’s real personable. They had a party for us volunteers and he came and gave a nice speech and thanked all of us. I just opened the door for him and he shook my hand and asked my name. Nice guy. That kind of thing must get really tiring.”) and ended with him giving me his barstool so that I could take a better picture. (Thank yeeeeww!)
Most interesting? The interactive screen with the official schedule for each day Clinton was President. I punched in a few days I thought might have curious items on them — inaugurations, holidays — but couldn’t recall any of the days that might be truly fascinating — the impeachment, namely — and mostly poked around.
Off days — usually Sundays — were mostly Jog – tba. Golf – tba. Other days were planned to the minute. 11:55: THE PRESIDENT (always capitalized) walks from entrance of hall directly to front table. Do not work tables.
I imagine all the good stuff is redacted, anyhow. (Or listed as Golf – tba?) Notable displays include Hillary’s Grammy for It Takes a Village, and some personal correspondence — one with Elton John’s home address and phone number scrawled across the top — definitely by some staffer charged with finding this info — which my mother found particularly amusing.
Truly, I’m a little disappointed if that’s truly the real Grammy and not a duplicate. It’s…a… GRAMMY! GRAMMY! I know you’re the Secretary of State, and your husband was leader of the free world, but THAT’S YOUR GRAMMY! (“When you won the state speech tournament, they gave [your coach] a duplicate plaque. Don’t you think there’s like 8 of those things somewhere?”)
The gift shop is also curiously detached from the library itself; one has to take a large golf cart-like car (with zip-up sides!) to the very (very!) quaint shop a block away.
And by quaint, I mean red brick, awning, and adorable.
I wondered if it was seperate because:
1. Gift shops can be construed as tacky? But this one isn’t, not at all. Flower planters and rocking chairs outside, adorable souvenirs with a healthy mix of charitable memorabilia and art pieces inside. And y’know what’s never tacky? Revenue. The VATICAN has an attached gift shop.
2. Maybe they just wanted you to ride in the little cart, which is driven by a friendly older gentleman who makes pleasant, yet enlightened conversation with his passengers. (Did I mention that he also wears an adorable little conductor’s hat?) It’s situated across from some cute little restaurants, just far enough into downtown that it might cause you to venture around — perhaps another reason it’s there. As far as fare goes, I recommend The Flying Fish — a little local joint with colored Christmas lights, greasy catfish and buckets of tartar sauce. Mmmmm, tartar sauce.
I came home with a poster that reads “Let’s Party like it’s 1992!,” a stuffed donkey with a t-shirt that reads “I miss Bill” (blue, of course, though they had red ones), and my very favorite magnets ever: one of a law school Bill and Hillary (who is, btw, clearly carrying a stack of law books — one with the red covers and black band that any of us would recognize), and another, an early photo of the Kennedy family.
They are the only items decorating my apartment at the moment, which is quite funny.
Though I didn’t fill out a comment card — despite the urging of the staff — I would have liked to have seen a lot more about the Clintons as people. As children, some blurb or display about the President at Oxford or Georgetown, as Governor, little things like that. The place has a definite “head of state” vibe (recreations of the oval office, etc.), and a random sprinkling of personal items that weren’t quite personal enough. ( Example: saxophones that had never been played; not that anyone would have noticed. My mother, a band teacher by trade, gawked and said with a bit of condescension “don’t these people know that he didn’t play the alto sax? These are all altos. And this one is nickel plated. Nickel plated! That’s amazing! But you know it’s never been played because the acid in your hands would have left marks…”)
At any rate, it was an excellent time.
And Mom has just returned from Borders.
She brings with her a calendar of 365 Lawyer Jokes (thanks?) and a hot chocolate (thanks!).
And it’s back to camping.