This weeks trip was to Houston where I got to work with NASA! Like I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of the space program so I think this way cool! Being only a couple of hundred miles from home, this trip I just drove from home. Instead of my standard "before the trip" pics in the house, I stopped at a couple of places on the way to Houston to snap a few pics in the sunshine.
On my way, I stopped in a small town called Elgin to get fuel, and the machine offered me a car wash. I looked at my truck which was still filthy from spending a week in the airports parking lot and decided that a car wash was a good idea. I then splurged and got the $8 super-duper-ultimate-deluxe car wash! At least that’s what I expected to get, but instead I got a message "See cashier for car wash". Well damn! I guess I can either keep a low profile and leave with out the car wash I paid for, or I can go give the attendant his very first conversation with a cross dresser. I decided that my principles weren’t gonna let me leave with out getting what I paid for, so I headed in. The cashier looks to be in his early sixties and he’s chatting with a county sheriff who apparently had parked on the other side of the building. You should have seen the look in their eyes as I entered.
"Excuse me, your machine said I have to see you for the car wash?" I asked with a smile on my face. The sheriff has not taken his eyes off me once from the moment I had walked in.
"Well, I’m sorry" he says "But the car wash doesn’t work."
"Ok, cool, can I have my money back then?" I replied after he made no other comment or move to get me a refund.
"Nope" he says, with the typical Texan one word type of answer. He then elaborates. "It didn’t charge your credit card for it." It never gave me a receipt so I have no way to check that until I get to my PC, so there’s no point in arguing.
"Ok, thank you!" I said with a wave and a smile, and turn for the door. My smile got a little bigger as I noticed that the sheriff was STILL staring at me.
I drove past a large Goodwill store in Houston that I have shopped at before and decided to take a walk through it. As I entered the store, I had just begun to notice it was uncomfortably warm in the store when the manager comes quickly walking up to me.
"I am so sorry about the air conditioning, but we have someone working on it right now! Would you believe that someone stole all of the copper plumbing from the air conditioning units on the roof?!" he says, clearly flabbergasted. I looked at him in shock.
"Are you kidding?! That sounds like an awful lot of work for a thief to go through!" I told him.
"I know!" he replied "If they devoted that much effort to an honest job they wouldn’t have to steal!"
Well, I found a couple of things, but nothing worth commenting on. Just things I’ll put away until I find their compliments to make an outfit.
Next, I stopped at the Galleria mall. I shouldn’t have bothered though, because this place is clearly geared toward folks with a hell of a lot more to spend than I can afford. This mall is full of shops with very well known and expensive names – places where blouses sell for over a thousand dollars (Neiman Marcus, Saks, etc)
This was just a travel day, so all I have to do is get checked in to the hotel and the rest of the day is mine! I pulled in to the Holiday Inn Express, grab my back pack and my bag, and head for the counter where I find two young ladies.
"Hello and welcome to the Holiday Inn! Are you checking in?" one of them asks me.
"You betcha!" I replied, handing her my credit card and my Platinum Holiday Inn priority club card. I see her eyebrows go up just a touch when she sees the name on my cards, but she’s a trooper and keeps going.
"Oh my God!" she exclaims while looking at her computer. Having no idea what has shocked her, this sent my heart in to my throat until she continues talking. "You must travel a LOT! I’ve never seen anyone with this many points!"
"Yepper, I stay at a Holiday Inn some where around the country two to three days every week!" I told her with a little laugh. At this point the other young lady behind the counter jumps in to the conversation.
"Do you like traveling that much?" She asks me.
"Yes and no," I told her "It’s a lot of time away from my family, but it does give me a lot of time to let my hair down!" I said with a smile, while fluffing the flippy part of my wig up with both hands. They both burst out laughing, and we made a little small talk. She complimented my necklace, I complimented her hair, etc, etc. The lady taking care of me hands my credit card back to me, and then immediately asks for it back, then she hands it back to me again, and again asks for it back.
"I’m so sorry! I just can’t seem to get it right!" she said with a laugh.
"No worries!" I told her with a smile, this time twirling a bit of my wig with a finger near my ear, making the universal ‘crazy’ sign. "I realize that sometimes I rattle people a little. It’s not a problem." That got another cute laugh from both of them.
I got all checked in to my room and then decided I might as well go see a movie. I found out that "The taking of Pelham 123" was going to start soon and so I headed out for it. Standing in line for the tickets, I’m behind a Hispanic family, mother and father, and three little girls. One is a toddler and being held by mommy, the others are maybe 6 and 8. The six year old is bored waiting and looking around, and then takes note of me three or four feet behind her. You gotta love little critters, they have no guile at all, and no filter in their brains about what might be polite or rude. This little girl is looking me over, clearly realizing something is not right, and then just like a light bulb going off, you can see her face light up as she figures it out. She very quickly turns her back to me, taps her big sister on the shoulder, and then whispers in her ear. With no hesitation at all, they both turn around and look directly at me. What can you do? I just smiled and winked at them both, and they both quickly turned around giggling. Finally they get their tickets and move out of the way, and I approach the kiosk. As I approach the window, the young lady inside looks at me and then gets a huge grin on her face.
‘Oh great!’ I think to myself ‘I must have that damn neon "Cross Dresser" sign on my forehead again. ‘
Next week I'm off to Peoria Illinois and Grand Cane Louisiana.