Houston: The Best Place to Be

Fly in on Thursday afternoon, Trip-the-dog happy to get out of kennel, makes lake of pee on baggage claim floor.  David stays with Trip while I race to restroom seeking paper towels.  One of those dispensers—wave hand, single towel buzzes out, wave hand, towel buzzes.  Need at least twenty.  Wave, buzz, wave, buzz, wave buzz . . .

Arrive at hotel around two o’clock.  Staying at Hilton on Post Oak, which is hosting the Miss Texas Pageant.  Beautiful women everywhere.  Cluster in lobby, faces perfectly made up, hair in big curlers.  Discuss clothes they’re going to wear and why.  Worry over interview questions.  Compare body parts, disingenuous moaning—boobs too firm, butts too small, legs too long.  Walk on shoes with heels like needles.  Sashes cross from shoulder to hip, identify contestants by counties.  Good luck, Texas beauties. 

Friday morning at the rental car counter.  Jolly man, shaved head, returns David’s license saying, “Expired.  Can’t rent to you.”  The look on David’s face.  Spend our first afternoon back in Texas at the DPS.  David is number 293.  Chuckle all day, thinking about it.  Who doesn’t know when license expires?  David, apparently.

Saturday, car shopping.  Find perfect sedan for me—sleek, clean, loaded, a Mercedes C250.  But jet lagged and feeling fuzzy, unable to follow fast talk of sales guy—demonstration, incentives, promises.  “No,” I say.  “I can’t commit.  My head isn’t here.”  The car goes to someone else and we’re sad.  Opportunity missed, but timing wrong.  Rule:  don’t buy the first car you look at. 

Houston booming.  Torn up for years, I-10 now complete; twelve lanes across in places, all moving fast, zoom-zoom.  Also, Fifty-nine so smooth driving’s like flying.  In three years, population up by a hundred thousand.  Everybody with money to spend.  Restaurants packed, malls overflowing, houses and offices being built.  Two ac repair vans on every block.  So many customers at Toyota dealership, no salesmen available.  Commerce.  Prosperity. 

By Monday Texas beauties gone.  Hotel quiet.  Tuesday, morning after Labor Day, back to work.  Elevators up-and-down with men and women in suits.  Pull wheeled briefcases, keep heads down, somber in hallways.  After eight-thirty, hotel deserted.  I am Eloise, with the run of the whole place. 

Preparing to move back into townhouse, rented out for three years.  Updating and repair needed.  Will take a week.  My job—oversee painting, gardening; schedule vent cleaning, carpet-laying, air conditioner servicing.  Furniture in storage.  It comes in when workers go. 

Computer virus invades, takes over.  Blasted.  No access to internet.  Virus spreads, attacks Spider Solitaire, Scrabble.  Oh no!  Poor vulnerable Dell.  Lobotomize a fourth time?   Maybe just put it down.  At the mall, an Apple invites me to byte. 

 Painting and patching.  It'll look better soon.

Painting and patching.  It'll look better soon.

 Eduardo, our contractor.  His company is called Fast Paint, but he does more than paint.  Works hard and does a good job.  Honest and polite crew.  The wine on the counter is mine.  

Eduardo, our contractor.  His company is called Fast Paint, but he does more than paint.  Works hard and does a good job.  Honest and polite crew.  The wine on the counter is mine.  

 Sam, coming home from Beijing to fulfill your obligation?

Sam, coming home from Beijing to fulfill your obligation?

 My new car.  Worrisome that my phone and my car talk to each other.  

My new car.  Worrisome that my phone and my car talk to each other.