Musings from some former inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis that is Prudhomme City

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem...and It's YOU!

by CajunKate

So the Zandinator and I ventured down to Houston to catch the Astros vs. Cubs game on Tuesday. The trip to Houston takes about three hours, and it is basically a snoozefest of scenery. Let's face it, I've been down this strip of I-10 often enough to have it memorized. I no longer have any fascination with Lake Charles, Orange, or Beaumont. (Not that I ever did.) In order to entertain myself, I stuck my face in a book the whole way. I'd picked up the latest installment, T is for Trespass, in Sue Grafton's alphabet series. I've read all the others. Normally, I am not a big mystery fan, but her novels are very sharp and funny. Plus, the main character is a kick ass, quirky female private detective, so what's not to like? Now, I know what you're thinking, How rude of you! Poor Alex! You just sat there and ignored him the whole time? Yes, I most certainly did. Listen, Alex is not a big talker. We've spent more than one trip sitting in silence once I ran out of ways to annoy and disturb him. He actually prefers when I deploy book reading as a pastime on our trips. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to have me nattering in your ear about inane s**t for three hours? Trust me, you'd be screeching into the nearest Barnes and Noble within mere minutes.

Anyway, the trip down was uneventful, except for the horrendous traffic we encountered once we got close to the city limits. Dude, I really want to like Houston. I try. Really I do. But the place has me grinding my teeth and screaming obscenities within minutes of my arrival EVERY time! This is in response to what must be the worst, most obnoxious, rudest drivers on the planet. My only saving grace is that I avoid rude hand gestures since we all know everyone in Texas has a handgun tucked under the front seat and isn't afraid to brandish it at a moment's notice. And what do I have? An atlas. It's no contest.

We arrived at our hotel, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and lounged around in the room until we left for the game. We had paid for a parking pass online when we got our tickets, but once we got down to the stadium area, we never could actually find the parking area for the stadium. This was bad planning on our part, but we just assumed that it would be easy to identify. You know what they say about assuming. Finally, Alex decided to give up and paid fifteen bucks to park in a lot about a block away from the stadium. We headed to the stadium where I took part in possibly the most cursory security check ever. I don't know what it takes to have Minute Maid Park security actually look in your bag let alone root around in it, but I'm guessing that you have to be wearing a turban and an "Allah Is My Homeboy" t-shirt.

The stadium itself is very, very nice. It still looks brand spanking new. I was really disappointed that the retractable roof was not open. Alex can attest to this as I must have said no less than twenty times, "I thought this place had a retractable roof." Alex, having no idea whether it did or not, endured this until the twentith time when he replied with something along the lines of, "Oh my God! Stop! It's not open; they're not going to open it! Get over it already!" I'm not really sure because I was too busy staring at the ceiling and saying, "I thought this place had a retractable roof!"

We had time to wander around the concourse for awhile and peruse our dining and beer options. Of course, everything was ridiculously overpriced, but that's a given. I noticed that one of the stands had a special for a Chicago Dog, so while Alex waited in line to get one for me, I went off to find what really mattered- the beer! I found a stand selling Shiner Bock and paid $19.50(!) for two of them. Then we headed down to our seats, which were near the third base line. When Alex handed my Chicago Dog to me, I was dumbstruck. Take a look.

If the color of that relish brings to mind nuclear waste, then you and I are on the same page. One would think between the relish and the unidentified pork product hiding under it, I'd have abstained from eating it. And one would be WRONG.
I hoovered that doggie down in no time flat. And shortly afterward, I began to sweat, and I mean SWEAT. Not become Southern ladylike "dewy," not perspire, but SWEAT. At first I thought maybe the jalapenos on the dog had brought it on. I tried drinking my beer.
Tasty! And conveniently located in a snazzy personal cupholder! But completely ineffective in staunching my sweat glands. I should have taken this for the bad, bad omen that it was.

I tried to take my mind off of the sweating by playing with my new camera.

The scoreboard

Cool Cubs graphic

The train

View from our seats

Holey Moley! That's first base and that's what I call some optical zoom, baby! I luuuuuurve my new camera!

In the fourth inning, the three huge guys at the end of the row went off to get beer or whatever and, spying my chance to go to the ladies room without having to crawl over them, I was thus distracted from the fact that the Cubs were at bat. That's how it came to be that I hauled a** to the bathroom and was on the throne when I got to hear how Ramirez hit a two run homer for the Cubs. Another bad, bad omen.

And then, of course, shortly after I returned to my seat, f***ing Pence, the 'Stros right fielder, hit a grand slam homerun. Alex was all, "Hey! That's cool! I don't think I've ever seen a grand slam in person!" until he noticed that I was giving him the furious, death stare. Between the glowering look and the rivulets of sweat pouring down my face, he probably thought I was about to engage in the head-spinning scene from
The Exorcist and start spewing out my nuclear waste relish all over him. That's right, I was STILL sweating. At this point I morphed into my spoiled five year old alter ego and began incessantly whining, "It's sooooooooo hot! What's wrong with this place? Why don't they turn on the AC? I thought this place had a retractable roof!" Alex said that he, too, thought it was hot, but he sat there looking as cool as a cucumber.
By the end of the sixth inning, Alex suggested we head for higher and cooler ground. It was cooler on the concourse...well, enough to alleviate him. Me? Not so much. We walked around watching the remainder of the game from the concourse. I talked Alex into (i.e., whined incessantly until I got my way) buying me a pretzel which I stuffed into my face as I prayed for the Cubs to break out a miracle in the top of the ninth. No such luck. And that was it. On the way out, the Astros fans began chanting "Cubs suck!" I trudged out of Minute Maid Sauna wet, stuffed with nuclear waste and sodium, and a loser. Sigh.

Houston wasn't done with us yet. Alex got lost three times on the way back to the hotel and three times the next day on the way home. We tried to find some cool place to eat breakfast, but eventually gave up and headed home stopping in San Jacinto to eat at a very mediocre Mexican chain restaurant, Tortuga.

All in all, it was a fun little trip. I
did get to watch baseball and drink beer. But, most importantly, I finally learned my lesson. Houston hates me. And guess what? The feeling is more than mutual, so you can suck it H-Town! Yeah, that's right! You and all your little gun-toting, hellatious motorists and your ungodly sweat lodge of a stadium can SUCK it!

The End.


The Mayor said...

I am sooooooo envious of your new toy. Have to see it in person.
God, what an awful looking hot dog!
You got snookered in to believing it was a Chi dog. The Astros may get sued for blasphemy. $19.50 for two beers!! Please,see me if you ever have a hankering to own a bridge in the Bid Easy!!!!!
Final note. Count your blessings. You don't have to live in Houston,or the area, as do/does about 1 million pour souls!!


Cara said...

People should read this.