coefficient of friction



A few thoughts tonight from Tucumcari, New Mexico:

1. Why are even the crappiest motels in the bumfuckiest of places still almost always sold out of rooms? The parking lots don’t look crazy full, but for some reason, every place you stop is always down to their last room, and it’s usually a “Smoking Queen” (but aren’t they all).

Perhaps motels alongside America’s highways have reached the point of perfect supply-and-demand capitalism: years of winnowing out competition has left the exact number of rooms available to every prospective traveler. No less, no more. If you take a road trip, the Market somehow knows it, and adjusts so that you have the last room in a town you can’t even pronounce.

2. God, the “Master and Commander” books sure are amazing. How did Patrick O’Brian do it for so many years? Just when you think he’s coasting on laurels, he kicks your ass about 3/4ths through every book. Do yourself a favor and read the ones you never got around to.

3. I have remarked before about the blinding proliferation of asinine Republican propaganda that used to plaster every car: the Democrat-hating, gay-bashing, the condemning of non-Christians to hell, the Hillary is a Lesbian kind of shit one was subjected to whilst traversing this nation’s southern freeways. I have to say that kind of rear-window sloganeering is largely gone. Even the “Support our Troops” stickers have dwindled to a trickle. Deduce from that what you will.

4. Why did we go for that chump field goal on third down? My heart is still a little broken.

5. Tessa’s best friend Jason has his own small P.R. company that we’ve used for years, and he has always held firm the following principle: nothing worth knowing about you can come from you. That is, information gleaned about you from a third party is exponentially more meaningful than anything that can be said by yourself.

In essence, this is the same thing as a conspiracy. If a third person is involved in creating a reality, then you have the building blocks of any deceptive relationship. All you need is that one “other” person to return a phone call, to give you an alibi, and the story of truth can be infinitely altered.

I used this “seemingly innocuous third party” all the time, especially when I made my roommate – a frequent commenter on this blog – assume the position as my very cautious, very caring family doctor who got me out of pretty much anything I didn’t want to do.

I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to bend reality to your wishes as I looked at the immutable bleak hills of New Mexico, but there you have it.

0 thoughts on “coefficient of friction

  1. CL

    >>>Why are even the crappiest motels still almost always sold out of rooms?
    Is it because they have low weekly rates and there are low-income people living there who can’t afford the security deposit and utilities in a regular apt.? Just a possibility. I know it’s true in SOME crappy motels, depending on where.

  2. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    I think that CL is right! The book “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehr. .something (I can’t remember the spelling. . . Ehrenreich? Argh. My mind is a sieve) describes this horrible cycle of people struggling just above the poverty level. I am now reading her book “Bait and Switch” about the struggles of the displaced middle-class middle-management. Eek! It ain’t easy making a living in America.
    Love your dashboard photo gallery!

  3. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Yeah, since we have a mixed marriage, my Terp husband and I do not even discuss games of any sort. We don’t even watch them together.

  4. CL

    Oh, I hope my comment didn’t seem snotty. I just read it again and it seems that way. I was asking legitimately. And yeah, Ehrenreich is right. I liked that book.

  5. salem's little sister

    Speaking of bumper stickers, I saw this the other day right after I took a drink of my Diet Coke.
    “Somewhere in Texas A Village Has Lost its Idiot”
    I’m still trying to clean off my dashboard.
    LFMD, How’s Helen feeling?

  6. Anne

    Agree about Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels. I’m on “The Commodore” now, and dreading the end of the road. Or the voyage.

  7. scruggs

    LFMD: I’ve read Nickel and Dimed as well, very distressing. If you liked her writing/topics, and given your Catholic background, you may like God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, by Jim Wallis. He kind of repeats himself, but it is an interesting read.

  8. kevin from NC

    >>>>Even the “Support our Troops” stickers have dwindled to a trickle.
    Alive and well in NC.. you will see.

  9. LFMD

    Scruggs – thanks for the recommendation! I am always looking for good books to read. Yes, the Nickel and Dimed book scared the hell out of me. So does Bait and Switch. I am not the most financially responsible person, and that could be me! It is amazing how close so many Americans are to the edge of doom. . . just a couple paychecks away from big trouble.
    CL — you are never snotty! You are lovely and enchanting, remember?
    SLS — Helen is on the mend and in good spirits. Thanks for asking. And I have stopped calling myself Stupid Idiot Mama. You do the best you can each day. . . know what I mean?

  10. LFMD

    Since you wrote about your rambling-thoughts-while-driving today, I thought I’d share my rambling thought from my drive on the Baltimore Beltway this morning (and it is related to your blog): I gather that Greg from Winston Dorm works for a Baltimore law firm, and I wonder which one. I did some time over at a Baltimore law firm before I was unceremoniously booted. This particular firm was Hell on Earth, my friend. HELL ON EARTH.
    Just curious where GFWD worked. Don’t want to dooce him. Just wondering. . .

  11. LFMD

    Damn. I think that it might be Andrew who works at the Baltimore law firm. Sorry, Greg, if I goofed it up. Sieve brain, I tell you! Anyway, someone works in a Baltimore law firm, and I was thinking of that person today!
    Ian, when are you going to have the BlogPalooza Party so that I can actually meet all of these wonderful people and get everyone straight?

  12. Matt

    “I have remarked before about the blinding proliferation of asinine Republican propaganda that used to plaster every car: the Democrat-hating, gay-bashing, the condemning of non-Christians to hell, the Hillary is a Lesbian kind of shit…”
    This must be one of those occasions where you only notice the other side’s outrageous behavior, because for the life of me I don’t ever recall having seen a gay-bashing bumper sticker or one condemning non-Christians to hell or anything on that level. On the other hand, nearly everyday I notice some pretty vile, hateful sloganeering being directed toward the president and Republicans on everything from car bumpers to t-shirts.
    On a happier note, I’ve finally found something on which I agree with Ian: Patrick O’Brian. The Master and Commander books are indeed amazing.

  13. eric g

    i had to pay twenty bucks to see the game out here in SF (we get a steady diet of pac-10 crap out here), and i have to say i’ve spent an inordinate amount of time wondering the same thing all week. perhaps bunting should call john gruden and dick vermiel and get some lessons in making a gutsy end-of-game decision in front of the home crowd. the way the momentum had turned in the terps’ favor, i think we should’ve taken our touchdown and gotten the hell out of there. now we have to beat va. tech to even have a shot at a bowl. damn.

  14. Greg from Winston Dorm

    LFMD, Scruggs speaks the truth. I am in the ATL. I am an attorney, however, and I was taking a deposition this morning.
    Ian, I also wonder why we kicked the field goal. I’ll be addressing that issue on my Tar Heel listserv, so check your inbox later tonight or tomorrow. It’s taken me this long to try to articulate sentences about that game without using four-letter or 12-letter words.
    After re-reading Eric’s post above, I see that I am not alone in my bewilderment about Bunting’s call. I’ve been too nice to him this season. That might change this evening.
    To be honest, I am still on Cloud Nine from the National Championship. Missing a bowl game just means more money for baby shoes in February. Or whenever they start wearing shoes. So much to learn . . .

  15. kjf

    not that you tarheels (or terps like me) thought your basketball team was going to be a contender this year but try not to look at this weeks sports illustrated with the cover “can anyone stop dook?” ahhhhh the sports illus. curse!

  16. KTS

    Oliver – Yep, at least in and around the major cities in Texas. There were sad stories tonight on the local news in Austin about how FEMA is going to stop paying the Katrina victims’ motel bills as of December 1st. The plan is to help them move into apartments by then, which is joke; FEMA hasn’t even paid the bills, as promised, for many of those who they have already moved into apartments, and now the apartment managers are beginning to refuse to rent to anyone involved with FEMA. There are going to be a lot more homeless in Texas come a week after Thanksgiving, if the refugees get thrown out on the streets with nothing but false promises and few resources.

  17. Tim

    kjf – unfortunately, it’s a regional cover. I’m not sure how the jinx applies then. Surely all four favorites won’t go down?

  18. Steph Mineart

    “blinding proliferation of asinine Republican propaganda that used to plaster every car: the Democrat-hating, gay-bashing, the condemning of non-Christians to hell, the Hillary is a Lesbian kind of shit one was subjected to whilst traversing this nation’s southern freeways. I have to say that kind of rear-window sloganeering is largely gone.”
    Oh, not here in Indiana, unfortunately. I try to combat it with asinine Democrat propaganda, but one person can only do so much.


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