weirdness. Scenes from South Texas

So, yesterday, we drove out to South Padre Island. On Highway 100, on the north side of the road, was a group of miniature horses/ponies.

"se vende. Caballos."

I wanted to pull over to inquire how much. Not that I would buy one, but wondering how one would impulse buy such a creature. But, I did not. We joked that we’d take the runt as long as it would fit in the back of my car. I drove a Honda Fit, and it would.

But then I imagined it pooping in Biblical proportions, much like Homer Simpson’s pig.

And then, I realized, it was not to be.

I wonder if they sold any.


I participated in an adult spelling bee yesterday.

I pride myself on being a grammar, spelling, punctuation freak. Lord knows, my students will attest to this.

I made it through two written rounds, where you circle the misspelled words and correct them (my first job, professionally, was as a copy editor.).

I made it to the oral round. But I ended up having to go first. I was a nervous wreck.

"Opossum," the guy said.

Nervous, I asked him to use it in a sentence. My mind reeled: was it two “p’s” or “s’s”?



Dumbass. It’s “u-m.”

I knew this, but froze up because of the pressure.

Humiliated, I retreated to a seat in the back with my consolation prize: a large T-shirt that wouldn’t fit me.

Of course, I could spell everybody else’s words after that.

I took it sort of hard.


A few days ago, I threw away a sun-bleached, broken beach chair. It was actually a home for a wasp’s nest, so it was time to go. I put it in the trash bin outside my place.

Today, whilst disposing of some additional trash, I realized it wasn’t there.

Someone must have nicked it.

I have placed an ancient television and a broken table out on the curb, in hopes that the Dumpster diver types would take it. And they did.

This is the first time someone has lifted something *from my trash.*


It’s probably over in Mexico now at some flea market….

Only in Way South Texas would one consider 92 degrees “colder.”

Only in Way South Texas would one consider 92 degrees “colder.”


Audience versus spectator

I’ve lived in Way South Texas for almost seven years. In that time, I’ve gone to ACL twice and that’s been about it as far as concert-going has been. Generally, the only national acts that come through here are has-beens on the death rattle of their careers or no-name country acts or Tejano bands.

But, I have a soft spot in my heart for Janet Jackson. I happened upon a concert video of hers on HBO the last time I got my hair cut. I was really impressed with her showmanship and general upbeat attitude.

Then, to my surprise, I found out she was coming to the Valley. 

I got tickets.

Last night, I went with my BFF, Adriana. It was my early bday gift to her. 

Lots of Very Bad Outfits. Middle-aged women tottering on hooker heels, draped in sequins, fur and anything metallic. Gay men decked out in their Saturday-night best. And then, there was the Rest of Us.

Of course, being McAllen, there were the requisite obese locals who lumbered away from the concession stands bearing enormous boxes of cheese nachos, popcorn, soda and hot dogs. For a concert? Really?

We got to our seats just as the lights went out.

It was surreal to see hundreds of illuminated screens penetrating the darkness. A generation ago, it would have been lighters, held up to show their support. This time, it was people trying to capture the moment on their cell phones.

Which brings me to my point: why go to a concert if all you’re going to do the entire time is hold a cell phone up and record the whole damned thing? A woman sitting next to me did exactly that. 

I felt weird singing along or even clapping, worrying that I would somehow fuck up her video. But then I thought, Jesus, she’s not even experiencing the show. She’d rather just record it and watch it later, bragging to her friends how she was there.

But she really wasn’t.

It made me think about how in my Reporting class on Wednesday, we were going over commonly confused words. Spectator and audience were among them.

A spectator is someone who just watches, passively.

If you’re in the audience, you watch and participate and engage.

It made me sad that so many people paid to merely spectate when they had such a great opportunity to be part of an audience.

Oh, and the show was very good. Everything one could expect. Too bad a lot of people missed it.

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