Rocket Shoes

I have always loved road trips. I suppose it's because I equate them with that first time I was given a retarded amount of freedom in my life. Basically, you learn to drive a motor vehicle when you're a kid, and all of the sudden you think it's a good idea to go drive it until your foot hurts. It's not like a plane, where you go in a box, close the box, and then open the box to find out everything looks different: road trips are like watching America as a flip book. It's like you start the car, Bob Ross starts painting, and hours later you're in a forest with little happy trees and fluffy clouds and you're flabbergasted at how awesome it was to watch them appear.

When you go on a road trip across America for one month straight with three other people you barely knew beforehand, you think of (and see and experience) a lot of really weird crap. In no particular order or sequence, this is what I found out about myself and the country.

1) Everyone in America thinks that Los Angeles and San Francisco are just two guys hanging out next door to each other geographically. Everyone. Dear America, Los Angeles is nowhere near San Francisco. And not to sound like Jan Brady, but stop talking about Marcia: we're our own goddamn person. No, I don't just bump into celebrities all the time. I don't see famous people everywhere I go. Hey, Ohio, do you see African tribal people when you go out to dinner? Oh, you don't because you live nowhere near Africa? Please look at a map. They are at the heel of the tube sock and we are almost at the top of the knee-high. Please.

2) To prove why I'm an asshole for that diatribe: I have no concept of the geographic makeup of any other city and it turns out I've been making gigantic sweeping generalizations my entire life. We're in Philadelphia? WHY ISN'T EVERYONE EATING CHEESESTEAK! We're staying in Austin tonight? LET'S GO TO A RODEO IN GALVASTON TOMORROW AT 9 A.M., I PRESUME THAT'S A SHORT DRIVE AND ALL YOU GUYS DO IS GO TO RODEOS! So, uh. Sorry about that, America.

3) You can drink for 30 straight days and you won't die.

4) If you drink for 30 straight days you will feel terrible and will begin to wish you would just die already.

5) Subway and Starbucks are in a heated battle for who can lay claim to the title "Company that owns 1 in every 3 buildings in all of America." How is there even this much deli meat?!? Are your distributors exhausted getting it to you every day? Do people really need anything other than "just a really strong fucking cup of coffee" in the middle of nowhere, USA, or are truck drivers honestly purchasing a venti non-fat cafe au lait? Here's a tip: stop opening stores. Just stop. I can't eat that many sandwiches or drink that many cups of coffee.

6) There are people in Texas that actually want the state of Texas to secede from the union, and they are purchasing actual billboards and maintaining actual websites to make it happen. Which is to say, it seems like they found out we actually hired a black guy as our president and they just freaked out and started smearing their ex girlfriend on national bathroom stall walls. Guys: she was just a bit over how you were acting like a crazy person. What you're doing isn't helping. She's dating nicer people now, don't be that guy. But on that note...

7) 99.8% of Texas gets a bad rep. It turns out that contrary to popular belief, it's mostly just full of fantastically kind people who say "yes ma'am" and "sir". Sweeping generalization after spending five days in a state? Oh, absolutely. But besides the crazy "WE WOHNT ARRRR OWNNN NA-SHUN" people who make billboards, I came away feeling like a real dick for ever saying I didn't like Texas. Forgive me, Texas. I kinda love you.

8 ) In the most unsurprising news ever, I want to move to Austin, Texas. I know. Next thing you know, I'll tell you that I hear Portland is nice and that I've been thinking about buying a record player. Okay, enough about Texas. Wait but I'm not done with the south.

9) A good portion of the south has no idea that the civil war is over, and/or that the north won. I say this because I went to a reenactment in the south, and let's just say they told us to "come back tomorrow to find out what happens." Spoiler alert, guys: it ends.

10) Louisiana proves the theory that you can fry anything and it tastes better, and that if you speak with a southern accent and smile everyone on the planet will like you. How the women stay that good looking blows my mind.

11) If you want to die laughing, ask an Australian to say the word Pseudoephedrine (pseduo-epha-dreeeeeen). Or anything that ends with an "a" (because they put an "r" on it). Or ask them what a swimsuit is (a swimmer! they call them "your swimmers"!). Or just ask them to say oh my god sorry Australians, you just say the darndest things! I'm sorry in advance, Beth. I'm not making fun, I'm sure I sound ridiculous to you, as you told me many times. But really, you call mosquito bites mozzy bites and that just makes me giggle.

12) Forget nice hotels, stay at a Hampton Inn. I am on a one man mission to put that place on the map. EVERY ONE OF THEM has a waffle maker. A legitimate belgian waffle maker. C'MON. Their bed is made of asleep. It felt like trying to date a hotel room. Like, I was that into it. Doodling it's name on notebooks in my dreams.

13) It is possible to not do laundry more than one time in 30 days. Which is going to save me about $4,239 in quarters this coming year, because I learned on this trip that yes, it is unhealthy to do your laundry every -2 minutes.

14) Everyone in America should begin to call sex "The Ultimate" and Coors Light "C Minus." Because that's what a guy on the road trip called both, and I just don't think there is a better way to say either. Try it. It feels good.

15) I really enjoy jumping off of beds and even at the age of 29 want to imitate superheroes. Please see below, but I totally get why wrecking a hotel is fun now. It hurts the next day, but it's really fun. Sorry, whoever cleaned that room.

16) People in America are really, really nice. I met maybe two people who were assholes on this trip. Two. And one of them was a cop, and he probably had a pretty good right to be, considering our car had marijuana on it's person (sorry Mom, but who's kidding, you probably saw that one coming and IT ACTUALLY WASN'T ME). But seriously: people are inherently just...good. And I know that sounds sappy, but I'm genuinely impressed with how wonderful people are if you let them be and feel like Scrooge. Which leads me to my big fear...

17) I've become an abnormally positive and optimistic person after this trip. It freaks the crap out of me, and it feels like the turning point in the movie that I didn't see coming. I'm not sure I even know what to do with it yet, it's like a puppy and I just stare at it and know that it's cute. But.

18) Don't worry. Deep down I'm still a snarky, sarcastic asshole that throws boulders from an incredibly sensitive glass house and then wonders why the windows are broken. That's never going to change.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 47: America, I love you and you're not bringing me down.

Stream the whole thing at that link.

Or.

Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.

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8 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “America, I love you and you’re not bringing me down.”

  • Kim

    June 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    That photo is epic.

  • Raihana

    June 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    First reaction at seeing that photo: “OW”.

    #11 reminds me that I really need to make a list of all my favourite Australian sayings, as well as all the words Australians pronounce differently. I only just found out that I’ve been pronouncing the word “hyperbole” wrong – it’s “hyper-bo-lee” here. Whaa..? And don’t get me started on how they say “debut”; it shits me up the wall <– best Australian slang phrase EVER.

  • Amy --- Just A Titch

    June 18, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I just drove from Sacramento to Vegas and was ASTOUNDED and the number of fucking Subways I saw. Take it easy, Subway. Seriously.

    Also, I’m for sure jealous of this experience and that photo is amazing.

  • Sharron

    June 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Love the mixtape. Keep an eye on your abnormally postive and optimistic tendencies, you will give yourself an ulcer. Most people have a feeble grasp on the geography outside of their own parts of the country. Just ask the Kings of Leon whose grasp on geography is so poor they turned up over 1 hour and 10 minutes late for a gig in North East England past night, having been in London for most of the day they could not understand that it had taken so long to travel North. Genuinely bemused like ‘shit we thought your country was really tiny’ keeping 55,000 fans waiting with nothing to do apart from drink overpriced alcohol from plastic cups.

  • daisy barringer

    June 20, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Well, I just “live IMed” you all of my favorite parts of this post, so I’ll just say [this is good] and I’m really happy about #18 because I would like our friendship to last until we’re old. Fine – oldER for me. Sheesh.

  • Aubrey

    July 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Austin is the best. I left for college and had to come back here as soon as I possibly could.
    I don’t even want to think about thinking about Grad Schools b/c UT might not be for me but I don’t know if I can stand leaving.
    I went to San Fransico once for a long weekend conference for school – it is a lovely city. It felt like grown up Disney Land (to which I’ve never been but I’m assuming that since they call themselves “The Happiest Place on Earth” it should evoke the same sheer joy that I felt in S.F.)
    Your blog is hilarious – I’m glad someone emailed me the link.

    If you are not going to move to Austin – b/c moving is such a big scary thing – just make sure to come down for SXSW – that was the most fun week of my life!

  • William O. B'Livion

    July 29, 2011 at 1:34 am

    RE: #6

    This is probably just me not getting the joke, but there have been people in Texas who wanted to succeed since Texas was admitted to the union, and there have been Billboards and newspaper screeds on it every so often. The websites only go back to the Clinton Administration, but that’s mostly because websites in general only go back to the Clinton Administration. AlGore invented them so as to distract people from politics.

  • wall art

    November 9, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Haha what a brilliant post, thanks a lot for sharing!

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