Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On The Road Again

Immediately upon my return from the beach I turned around and flew out to San Antonio for another business trip. I used to makes these trips fairly often but it has been a while since I travelled this much for work. However old habits die hard and I have fallen right back into my routine when visiting these locations. There are two main things I like to do most when O.F.O. on these little boondoggles for work. The first of which is going to the movies.

In particular, I go see bad movies. For as much film watching as I do I rarely go to the theater when I'm at home. I prefer the surprise of whatever is going to pop up on cable when not half-expecting to see either The Hunt For Red October on TBS (at leat once every two weeks) or Jaws on AMC (at least once a month). So when I'm out of town by myself I take the opportunity to blow money on something really bad in the theaters that I would never waste my time on at home. For example, on my Denver trip a few weeks back I went to see Miami Vice. Admittedly a part of me, while knowing how bad this film was going to be, desperately hoped it would be legitimately great. It is after all a Michael Mann film; the guy who gave us Heat which for me is one of the best crime-thrillers ever filmed. One of the great things about Heat is how compelling the film is especially after you realize how badly this film could have been twisted if someone like Michael Bay had been directing it -- which ironically is what seemed to be the case throughout at least half of Vice. But I digress.

So on this San Antonio trip my "bad movie" options boiled down to a choice between Snakes On A Plane and Talledega Nights. In a surreal turn of events, I stood in the lobby of the Quarry 16 Theaters deciding that I would go see the LESS absurd of the two films (which now that I think about it is kind of ridiculous since absurdity is more of a state of being rather than a degree of it). By some immeasurable turn of logic which I cannot even recall, I chose Snakes On A Plane. Truth be told, it wasn't that bad although I got the feeling that I really just paid my six bucks to hear Sam Jackson say, "I've had it with these muthafuckin' snakes on this muthafuckin' plane!" That feeling was reinforced when everyone in theater began applauding. There was still another twenty minutes or so of action but it all seemed like the denouement after that. Good enough.

And that was my movie fix for this trip. Now, the other thing I usually do on these trips is drink at Coyote Ugly. It doesn't matter where you are because these bars are fucking everywhere and they can be the lone business traveller's best friend. There's an unspoken agreement between Coyote -- that's what the girls, ahem, ladies that work there are referred to as -- and patron that each will particpate in a charade of interest in what the other has to say. The staff, out of occupational obligation, will ask you where you are from and what you do and call you sweetie and generally feign interest in anything you have to say. Which is kind of fun because you can make up any shit and they will just nod their heads and smile, "Yeah I work for PBR and we're down here doing regional auditions with amateur rodeo clowns for a reality TV show that will be on CMT next Spring. It's like Real World meets Survivor meets The Apprentice meets Urban Cowboy. Say, you're very attractive. Have you ever considered a career in the rodeo entertainment industry? I know some people..." and so on. On the fip side, the patron's job is to say yes when offered another beer, tip well, and generally buy into the girls', ahem, ladies' hip-shaking eye-batting banter. I actually listened to one of them tell the guy next to me her multi-year plan for her Coyote Career. Unreal.

But here's the cool thing (and realistically the only cool thing) about Coyote Ugly, and not ironic hipster cool but just straight-up cool. There's a jukebox in the joint and whenever someone plays anything on it the girls, ahem, ladies have to get up on the bar and shake their groove thangs. Like clockwork, at least once an hour someone will invariably put on "Hot For Teacher" and this is when things get really heavy. -- Now if you are of a certain generation and of a certain ilk, the "Hot For Teacher" video is a significant tile within the iconography of your youth. The 1984 cassette was just about the only thing I listened to for a time and the particular video in question was one of the most intriguing images of my pre-masturbatory adolescence. -- Being in that stupid bar with enough beers in your system when that song comes on and those girls, ahem, ladies begin dancing on the bartop one lucid moment of transcendent realization may manifest itself; you are in that fucking video. Right when Ed rips off the guitar solo while walking on the tabletops in the library and the teachers tear off their dresses for a sponatneous bikin contest, that is your moment. That is when all of the time you wasted in front of MTV (pre-Real World MTV) comes full circle and for a brief moment time stops, you age backwards, and the world seems oddly right.

Unfortunately this at most last for about 3.5 minutes and then it's back to reality where you and thirty other drunk assholes are oggling the denim-clad butt cheeks of a demographic that you have long since departed. It is at this point that you close your tab, say thank you, and walk back to your room at the Holiday Inn. When's my flight?


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