Back in Dallas, I was into my “all hotels are the same in the dark when you are asleep” rant. This has never had any effect on my wife. To me, it’s better to sleep cheap. The hotels she picks are disgustingly over-priced restaurants where a goddamn steak frite will forty-nine bucks and change. I have to admit that the hotel didn’t look even remotely like it was in Texas. The interior garden had a Versailles-like cascade fountain, hanging ivy, and English tea-garden cobble stone. The outdoor restaurant was surrounded with high walls to shut out the fact that it was right in the middle of the American South-West, far from the Champs-Élysées.

The lobby was old-school high-ceiling, marble-floored, and high backed chairs. The place made you want to smoke a cigar. The only bright spot was that there was a café nearby that served espresso at normal prices. There were also signs pointing to the spa. The cheerleaders had grown up, sort of, and the spa was chocked full of trophy wives and ditzy blonds with furry little dogs. They had just come from their pedi and manicures and they were on their way to go shopping. It didn’t take long for me to discover that we, too, were caught in the black hole of consumption.

After we got settled, we headed off to North Park, Dallas’ mall of malls. We requested that the hotel car drop us off. While we waited, I couldn’t help but notice the host of Porsches, Lexus, Bentleys, V12 Mercedes, Cadillacs, Range Rovers, and Lamborghini’s that prowled the streets in front of the hotel. I asked the driver why Dallas was full of high-end sports cars.

He responded proudly, “Cause that’s just how we do it in the Big D!”

This was his overture to a rambling, twenty-minute monologue on Texas weather, highways and fast cars. He himself had a fast machine. On the weekends he rode an 850 CC motorcycle modified with a blower and an aftermarket exhaust system. As if the bike wasn’t dangerous enough, he modified the intake manifold to force more pressure into the motor’s cylinders, increasing the engine’s power tenfold.

“Hell–he rambled on–the damn thing will pop a wheelie at ninety miles an hour! It’s barely street legal. It will hit 150 before you can blink.” It was true. The damn thing was so fast that if he crashed at that speed, there wouldn’t be anything left that vaguely resembled the driver, just a pile of hamburger and a long red streak, pieces of chrome, and a few cowboys telling “you should have seen it” stories.

The driver also told us that Texans had built the first mall. “Hell, we invented the damn concept! This over yonder used to be nothing but horse pastures. Now look at it.”

He was right. The place was incredible. There were four anchor department stores: Dillards, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks. There were two floors of designer boutiques, restaurants, art work, theaters, children’s programs, fountains, and a food court. It was about two and a half miles around the entire perimeter, and it had everything but a bookstore.

To be continued…

Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=606

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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