I love my neighborhood. It’s affordable, laid back and quiet. But a few blocks away lies a nexus of evil. I think the epicenter of this horrible wasteland rests somewhere between the run-down grocery store and the Bingo hall. This area is the charnel house of dignity, the place where hope died with the last ball call. And it amuses and depresses me to no end. For the sake of convenience, let’s call this place of broken dreams the Pit of Despair. Over the next few weeks, I plan to show why this place is so dreadful, and hopefully come up with a way to shake things up a bit.
I first noticed something usual with this region of town about six months ago. I was driving by the Arby’s located at one corner of the Pit. It was a lovely summer day in Texas, which is to say it was 110 degrees without a cloud in the sky. There were four different cars parked right outside the drive-through, each with a person inside double-fisting roast beef sandwiches. One of them put her car into Drive and tried to pull in front of me, nearly causing a collision. She waved her sandwich at me angrily, spraying half chewed food onto her windshield. As I stared in horror, I heard a wob wob wob sound coming from her through my cracked window. I think she was trying to communicate verbally with me, but it didn’t last long. She quickly claimed the right-of-way for herself, jumping a curb to enter the freeway onramp.
At first blush, this is maybe not so surprising. After all, there are surely Arby’s franchises from sea to shining sea that serve as a safe place to eat away your life’s anger and disappointment with an endless supply of mottled grey meat as you listen to Rush Limbaugh and reach for your pack of Marlboro 100s. After all, this is America, goddamit!
But no. The Pit is truly something special and unique in its bleakness. Join me next week for another tale from The Pit…