Selena Gomez’s “Can’t Keep My Hands to Myself” played over the speakers at Howdy’s Flying J truck stop while I was looking at Rollerz sausages and hotdogs and chili pepper handkerchiefs and cows holding salt and pepper in front of stripper lights at 8 AM. El Paso aka “El Pas” was just waking up, a cold wind whipping through the outskirts of the Mexican border town and tractor trailers jockeyed with sedans and RVs for fuel bays. As the RV passed us I said to my husband driver “Meth Lab” coming from your right.
Along I-10 West from Van Horn, Texas, where cell phone coverage is spotty, sat many a great filming spot for the Breaking Bad TV spinoff “Better Call Saul”. A drug exchange could happen at American Talc, a shootout at any number of rusted places in or around the former trainstop town of Van Horn.
I take notes as we enter El Pas from the East:
Well-funded Copper overpasses decorated with pot? no, Agave
Outlet mall with Ross anchor
Men’s Club, Red Roof Inn and Carmax all together
Cowtown boots with a giant bull
MadMan Furniture bright yellow with Neanderthal man face
Franklin mts in distance
Freeways landscaped with varying colours of rocks
Cemetery all buff dirt view of fwy and Juarez, Mexico.
Chik-Fil-et “Koma Mas Poyo” billboard with cow (coma más pollo). Eat more chicken in Spanish.
Desert orange bridges
UTEP at the base of the Franklin mts
Ramshackle houses in pink and white in Juarez
Modern new town homes on the US side
Pet Barn (red) and Pawn Shop
Perches Funeral home
I did this some weeks ago in one of Houston’s tony suburbs:
The way little kids twist their hand backwards when unsure
The netting on trees to protect from boy grackles in Spring in at the Children’s Hospital
Boy Grackles flopping about in the water to be super fluffy and super shiny
Happy kayakers, unaware of snakes
Prams pushed by men in polos in manicured antiseptic landscape
Overstretched orange awnings shading half of the occupants and burning the rest
Love bugs landing on hairdos and the last oversweet velveeta laden egg roll
New plump mother in Talbots’ stripes and coordinated pram and husband under glittering fans. Matching friends.
Compliments from server on her gorgeous diaper bag
Breeze rustled snapdragons and roses into headbangers facing the blue man made waterway and bowing to the giggling toddlers taking advantage of the green lawn
Bloody Mary’s served in milk bottles
Giant gourmet tall burgers debuted with their own private squish ketchup bottles
Soaring bald eagles looked for errant fries
And cue the random chainsaw
A handsome well dressed man with palsied walk videoing the scene. Observing like me
Foiled pink birthday bags standing guard over empty white adirondak chairs.
Ah ha and Michael Jackson wafting I think of wheat fields and my Walkman
Natalie Imbrulia song drowned by drunk girls. One said “you’re addicted to birth control”
Air conditioned thinking
And again at the State Inspection Sticker place in Midtown:
Technician had same eyes as ex boyfriend and I was startled and flummoxed, the other like a serial killer with snaggled teeth and extra skin that hung on him like a wet bathrobe
Vast array of neatly stacked old magazines
“Little Tree” air fresheners in every colour except green
Round woman with dark hair in a bun, Victoria’s Secret bubblegum VS PINK tank squeezing around her and with a keyhole in the back, showing off her heart tattoo. Inside heart a boy’s face
Filling up gas, washer guy comes to chat, sell a wash with clouds threataning? “Where ya headed?” AZ. “Ooo those CA girls! Welp, can’t wait to see ya again!”