No Depression Blog: Jaywalking Towards Bethlehem

Frankenstein Feet In The Land Of Enchantment or Jaywalking Towards Bethlehem (They come in 4's)
By Kevin Russell
November 9, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen you are appx 4 minutes away from the rental center. All passengers under the age of 16 must be seated. Anyone remaining standing must use the hand rail while the shuttle is in motion. Later I will have special instructions to enhance yer stay in the Land Of Enchantment. 40 degrees.. ? I had to stop in the airport and sit down on a faux Naugahyde chair to get my wool socks on. I am trying to wear my sandals as long as seasonally possible. But Mother Nature is making it very difficult lately. I take some heat for wearing Birkenstocks but honestly those are some damn comfortable foot wear. This sandal love is the reason I have been playing barefoot shows recently. For the sad fact, birk's are not dancing shoes. When I try to dance in them they feel like snow shoes on Frankenstein feet. Plodding, lumbering, square widget convention, maroon jacketed, regional sales managers lifting their varicosed calves to The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" feet.

As we arrived at the hotel I noticed the shadow from a work truck created four 4's on the wall of our room. (see photo the gourds FB nov 8)

Our hotel, a La Quinta lay between an airport parking lot and a waffle house, if that gives you any indication as to where we spend most of our time. In the room I found a german cock roach crawling up my arm. That is always a good sign because roaches, I think, eat bed bugs. But most disconcerting was the fact that this Hotelasaurus was still on the ethernet system of in-room Internet service. Un-buh-leevable, in my best Desi Arnez. I mean we still appreciate the occasional Ving Card Key, but Ethernet is like pay phones.

So,occasionally, we find a hotel without wi-fi. Usually they seem to be in this part of the world; west TX, NM, OK, etc. This lo tech offering does not bode well for the morning lobby coffee either. Which is why I decided to walk over to The International House Of Pancakes, The U.N. of 24hr diner chains. Walking around here is no easy task. The roads are L.A. and Phoenix-like in their width and speed. 6 lanes across and full of cars whirring down them.

Even though I am a productive member of materialist society with cars and kids and houses and dogs and cats and tons of food and toys all over the yard, walking in high traffic areas always makes me feel like a total loser. People must be questioning why anyone would be on foot(sandals), in the cold, lurching down littered sidewalks, jaywalking towards Bethlehem. There is no other conclusion but that such a person is a degenerate and a social outcast just waiting for a hand out or a fix or whatever. For the record Birkenstocks ain't the best shoe for running across 6 lanes of traffic either.

As I sauntered into the Ihop "Reminiscing" by The Little River Band sprayed down like a soft 70's mister timed to spew every 44 seconds. I knew we would be going somewhere distinctly New Mexican for lunch. Therefore I was trying to eat the smallest, cheapest egg thing possible. I thought that would be pretty easy. But the menu was like a bad web site, hard to navigate and unintuitive. The thing seemed to be pulling me toward a giant portioned, high calorie, fat and carb laden extravaganza. At the bottom they had another group of widows claiming to be "Super-Fit," 600 calories or less. It seemed like it would just be carb and fat reduced versions of the same fare. The items above were presented in food porn photo's, laid out wide, hot, glistening and cheap. Super Fit was no non-sense descriptions of what each of them didn't have, but not super cheap. It seemed one would have to pay more for less. If you want to eat healthy, it's gonna cost ya. At the very bottom I found a M-F weekly breakfast menu, stashed under the chocolate mint holiday waffles. Boom 4.99 eggs, meat, toast hash brown (another appearance of 4's). It still seemed like a lot of food. But for that price I didn't have to eat it all. Of course a pot of coffee would need to accompany those eggs to my table, please, thank you. 70's mister puffed "Imaginary Lover" by Atlanta Rhythm Section.

As I texted with my wife about this, that and the other I looked around me to see who I would be dining with. And there right in front of me sat three big, burly monks and one little old lady beaming at them (that's right 4 of them). Where I am from the only men that dress like monks are Tibetan. Deer hunter safety orange robes are their gowns of choice. These cats were in thick, gray cassocks with pointy hoods and rosary hung at their sides like prayer pistols. A wild west, Catholic monk, pancake eating, prayer posse. As they rose from their table and hugged the old lady good bye it became obvious that they all looked like me; husky, bearded, shaved heads and smily. Handsome as all get out.

Kawliga: I guess they're still out here trying to convert the savages. Well, they missed one, right behind'em eating fried eggs.

Indian Maid: If they just killed all the chickens you'd have to convert to survive. Like they did with the bison.

I asked some girls at the table next if they knew who those monks were with. Nope. The waitress said they come in often. As best I could determine in a search of near by monasteries they were probably from the Franciscan Provincial House. After they were gone, two more tables arose to leave. One table to the east of the monks former stronghold were 2 Muslim women in hijab or head scarves. The other table west of the monks and next to me were 2 Muslim men who joined their wives on the way out making, yes, 4. I found it interesting they sat separately only because of what I think I know about Islamic law governing the sexes. If they had been a foursome of rockabilly rednecks I probably wouldn't have noticed. Apply a PC judgement to that if you want.

The juxtaposition, though, of Franciscan monks and Muslims in groups of 4 in an Albuquerque Ihop while a faint sound track of soft 70's favorites wafted over captivated my imagination in a fantastic way, that's all. I walked back out to "Peg" by Steely Dan. Land of enchantment indeed.

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