I have a few Oklahoma holdovers that are too rambling to put on the other side (I think of Goodies First and Project Me as two sides, one less read and where I can dump more nonsense).

Okc water towers

There were a lot of odes to country music, from a street named for Garth Brooks to a water tower (every town we passed through also had its name emblazoned on a welcoming water tower) in Moore, proclaiming it the birthplace of Toby Keith. A restaurant called Toby Keith's I ?This Bar & Grill exists. I mentioned this to a friend and she asked, "Who's Toby Keith?" There was a time I didn't know what Rascal Flatts was, so it happens.

I was going to say that Styrofoam was uniquely non-NYC (it's the container material of choice in my limited Southern and Midwestern experience) then I ordered sashimi delivery this weekend and both the miso soup and brown rice (shameful) came in the non biodegradable vessels.

Ad tables

Restaurant table tops commonly house advertising for local businesses. I unintentionally captured three examples.

Sno-ball flavors

At a sno-ball stand in Noble, I encountered an impressive list of flavors with no explanations whatsoever. What would N Sync, Cabbage Patch or U.S.A. taste like?

Sno-ball seller

A human Squidbilly commented on the Tiger's Blood.

Cherry lime sno-ball

I opted for cherry lime.

I've been to a few Indian casinos in my day, so I didn't think their presence in Oklahoma was that odd, especially with the large Native American population of that state. But James had never been to one–I'm wondering if he thought it would be like the Wapi Eagle on The Killing? (Speaking of–ok, I wasn't really speaking of it at all–this morning I woke up from a dream where I was making out with Holder or maybe it was Joel Kinnaman, once again I can't separate actor from role. Either way it was odd; I'm probably only 55% into him in real life, and maybe even less so now that he's in a movie with that irritant Greta Gerwig.)

Drive thru cigarettes

We did not solve Rosie Larsen's murder, but there were drive-thru cigarettes.

Chinese take-out slot machine

And a talking Chinese takeout slot machine. I didn't win a cent. 

Our rental car looks tiny

Our rental Yaris looked pretty sad next to its towering parking lot neighbor.

But at least we had a car. Pedestrians are very suspect in much of the country, and walking is actively discouraged. Upon exiting the casino, a gentleman in a golf cart pulled up next to us and offered to drive us to our car, which was closer than we'd normally get to the main attraction when parking at a mall. As long as my legs still function, I will try my best to use them. I actively enjoy walking, even long distances. In fact, I've entertained the notion of hiking (I had a dream about it even, no celebrites involved) despite my aversion to the outdoors, but I don't know where to go or how to start. This urge struck before I was aware of Wild, by the way.

The following night, Sunday, we had trouble finding any restaurants open at all, let alone one open past 9pm. I get up late, which shifts my whole eating schedule, like my first meal is never before noon, and this causes problems in smaller cities. On James' first night (he was there most of the week for work–I only came for the weekend) he asked the hotel desk clerk if there was any place to eat nearby and was told, "Let me get this straight, you want to go out eat at 10:30?"

Republic gastropub scotch eggAnd it was the point in the vacation when I felt ok about not eating local food.  This can take a long as week in Asia, and as quickly as three days in Oklahoma where I was meated-up to the point where I was seriously considering sushi (we purposely booked a hotel that had a mini-fridge because we knew we'd have tons of leftovers, and yes, we brought them back to NYC in our suitcases–we ate ribs, pulled pork, and tamales our first two days back).

Instead, I found a place called Republic Gastropub in an upscale strip mall, like an entire shopping area that looks like a Crate & Barrel, Classen Curve, that was open late and less of what we might call a gastropub and more of a fancy sports bar with a zillion beers on tap. Scotch eggs were had. And a salad with roast chicken, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts that I won't bore you with.

After dinner, we strolled around the discordantly sleek complex, checking out the darkened businesses with names like Uptown Kids and Carwin's Shave Shop through their windows. With clean-lines and wood-slatted outdoor seating areas and fountains, it felt very non-Oklahoman, and even a little un-American. I could see stumbling upon a shopping center like this in a place like Kuala Lumpur.

As we reached the end of one row of stores and began to cross the parking lot to look at the fountain, we realized we were being trailed by a slow-moving security vehicle. Clearly, they were very suspicious of anyone walking off the grid, away from the only lit business in the complex. "I guess we have to go leave," I conceded sadly.  I can only imagine the trouble if we weren't white.


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