Monday, December 5, 2011

What's the same between New York and Texas?

Dead deer on the side of the road. That's what New York and Texas have in common.

To get my laptop checked out at an Apple Store, I drove from San Angelo to Austin--200 miles for a two-minute diagnostic. On the plus side, I also stopped by the Austin Whole Foods and a Chuy's where Sarah and I got a good meal a few years ago--and that definitely helped me decide to drive to Austin rather than--gasp--San Antonio.

Austin felt a little different than San Angelo, but today I want to talk about the apocalyptic hellscape in between the two cities. I'm really looking forward to making that trip again, with more time so that I can stop to take pictures of detention centers, signs advertising local stores ("Venison World"!), and houses in the middle of fields, totally alone, but lit up with Christmas lights.

Sure, "hellscape" isn't accurate and neither is "apocalyptic"--I should probably say "post-apocalyptic." Not the day after the End, with fires still burning and scarred survivors reduced to cannibalism or venison, but a few months or years after, when there aren't people left and when the green is well on its way to taking back the world. Except in Texas, it's not so much green trees and grass that cover everything, but a mix of gray and green and brown. (The landscape was probably more green and alive-looking on this trip because it rained the whole time I was on the road.)

In a way, the Texas roadscape reminded me of the trip to Bard College, especially at night--dark, rural spaces crossed by empty roads. Except not totally empty, because the roads were popular hang-outs for suicidal deer (or teenage deer who think they'll live forever). On this trip to Austin, I saw three deer carcasses, which is probably about the same deer/mileage in upstate NY.

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