Whitney’s Electronic Christmas Party

19 12 2013

And a happy new year.

electronic christmas copy

‘Don’t Be Afraid’ by Redshirt Theory.





For the Birds

24 10 2013

inspiration Apparently I’m an ageist. I love old people but I don’t every want to be one. When mother suggested a hypnotherapist I became more self-aware of my prejudice.

I tend to get very anxious this time of year. The holiday season is uncomfortable. New Year’s a reminder that I should be bettering myself, and my Scorpio birthday—an even louder reminder that I am getting older.

At age 26, I began microdermabrasion treatments and applying anti-ageing creams to my face in an attempt prevent pre-mature signs of my birthday. I looked closely in the mirror for wrinkles, wondering how it’s possible to occasionally still get a zit in my mid-twenties. Isn’t acne for teenagers?

Maybe zits are just a condition of the mind’s perception. Maybe I still get them from time-to-time because from time-to-time I act like a teenager.

This weekend I went to a party dressed like a retired and fabulous Florida snowbird. My friends are moving to Florida for work and the going-away party was themed for the occasion. I wore geriatric sunglasses in the dark of night to prove how committed to the character I was. About halfway through the dinner I realized that my golf club accessory had been confused for a cane.

Ashley approached me laughing. “Whitney, my little brothers just asked me who the blind girl was!”

Eureka.

At first I was mad that my costume had portrayed the wrong character. I wanted to be a rich, retired, Floridian adorned in excessive pearls—not a crazy blind girl in too much makeup. But I’m a serious lemon-squeezer and thought it better to make lemonade than cry over spilled milk. Lord knows my Florida character needed the calcium.

And so, at almost 27-years-young, I went bar-hoping—pretended to be blind, scored free drinks from gullible, sympathetic strangers and cut in line for the bathroom. I know what you’re thinking: and no I don’t think it’s offensive. It’s my aggressive exhibitionist proclivity that gets hazardous drunk on social discomfort that’s offensive. At about midnight, the bouncer at the nightclub took my golf club.

florida

“Whitney,” said Vinnie, “you’re  going to hell. Like, literally, you just jumped on the fast track straight to hell.”

“That’s ridiculous V-Dog,” I slurred between sips. “That place is  make-believe.”

 

So, I’m aging.

But I’ve still got it—zits and all.

 





Sex on the Internet

18 09 2013

internet loveOne subject I will never get tired of talking about is dating—or in my case, mostly awkward encounters that make for hilarious stories—my college professor, the military assassin, random men named John and so on. Turns out, I can get kind of sentimental betwixt all the ironic humor and dangerous innuendo. The truth of the matter is I kind of like this guy. And what’s not to like? He’s my Internet boyfriend.

 

Trust me when I say I kept this a secret.

“What’s an Internet boyfriend?” my friends joked.

“Exactly what it sounds like,” I mumbled back.

For weeks I grappled with the idea. Why do I feel this way about someone who lives so far away? FaceTime is like, real life, right?

But it’s not like real life. Nor is texting a substitute for close couch conversations or two cups of really good coffee. I felt dirty. I was spending Friday nights Skyping with a vacation fling that in my opinion had plenty of summer left to live.

This isn’t normal. And it’s not normal. It’s awesome.

What’s better than a real boyfriend? A boyfriend you can literally put in your pocket—turn silent should circumstance require.  Travel sized—I can take him anywhere, talk to him anytime, and best of all, I don’t have to pick out his clothing.

It all started five months ago—after years of travel, jobs that took us very far away; we found each other, briefly, in San Diego. The rest has been recorded in more text messages, emails, Skype sessions and FaceTime encounters than I care to admit. It’s a real emotional affair—one that has brought great joy to the end of days, a time now specially reserved for him and our bastard love-child: technology.

Trust me also when I say, I never thought I was the kind of girl—the girl who gets caught up in something so fantastic, so seductively unreasonable and so impatiently void the tangible experience of entertaining a man.

“You’re an idiot. Don’t you know he is going to cheat on you?” my friend argued.

I guess that’s a legitimate concern for most people. Having a relationship dependent on technology definitely has its disadvantages. But I’ve seen people get bent out of shape over ambiguous text messages. I’ll take my chances.

“So, you’ve had sex with him on Skype?” she asked rhetorically.

I started to feel very old-fashioned the sixth or seventh time I had to explain this to someone. This question has become so popular in-fact, that I decided to write about it. The short answer is no—I’ve never done it.

“Why not? You’ve never wanted to try?” another friend pried.

“You know how you’ve never tried heroin?” I explained. “Well, it’s kind of like that.”

My girlfriends sat up straighter around the table as though I had just offended them. “Why not? It’s fun,” asked one gal.

“He’s never even asked you to try?” added a curious boyfriend. “He must be gay!”

Apparently, the only social moray that permits having an Internet boyfriend is becoming an amateur pornstar. Ergo, long distance relationships are no longer socially acceptable unless you have sex on the Internet. Could this be true?

My brain shifted through numerous books I had read, movies and experiences I had that brought this assertion into sharp focus and heated resentment.

Odysseus

This is Odysseus’s O-Face

The whole time I’m getting interrogated over how I spend my online time with this guy—who is now in Afghanistan—all I can think about is how different the world would be if Penelope, from Homer’s, “The Odyssey” was busy finger f****** herself in a letter to Odysseus who—instead of being a hero—decides to release himself onto the messenger that unfortunately happens to be a demon summoned from the underworld. Look out! Imagine  soldiers in WWII texting private parts to their lovesick wives. What would they have thought? Imagine it. I’ll bet she would have been pissed—probably wondering how the hell he has time to j*** off when Nazi’s are afoot! Just another wonderful byproduct of defeating the Germans: more time to masturbate!

Everyone complains that the word becomes increasingly less genuine as technology interferes more and more with our human interactions. Does taking naked picture of ourselves and sending them to people we care about really mean we care? What does it say about who we are?

And don’t try and turn this around on me. I won’t entertain any of that quasi-feminism-sexual-empowerment-free-love-bull-s***. This has nothing to do with whether I’m sexually empowered enough to have sex on the Internet. The better question is: am I empowered enough not to?

I’ve found that my Internet boyfriend is exactly what I need right now: someone to laugh with after a very long day of work—someone to listen and someone to miss. Not so long ago, people called this a long distance relationship—a term now so passé it requires virtual consummation. I’ve never been one for labels—or Greek mythology, really.

I prefer my Internet boyfriend.

 

For Cameron:)





Year-Old Coffee

5 09 2013

Every morning I make two pots of coffee. The first one, I brew at 7:00am. It’s what motivates me out of my bed and into an addictive routine Monday through Friday. The second pot I brew in the office at 9:00am. It’s a shared pot for people I have grown to understand and respect, despite moments of paralyzing frustration.

One year ago, today, I started this job. In the beginning I did not make coffee. A year ago I was too scared I would make it wrong, use someone’s special roasted beans and start some kind of vendetta against me. And now? I don’t ask anyone if I can brew and I use whatever creamer I want.

It seems out of respect for time—and my ironic sense of humor—that at least noting the occasion in this ubiquitous cyber space is both emotional stabling and spiritually necessary. Because if there’s anything to be said about dreams or goals, prophecy or destiny it’s this: Whatever you think is going to happen will happen. And not ever the way you think it will, but nevertheless. One day you will wake up and be exactly where you thought you would be—if only you try. Or in my case, write it down.

Many people have asked me how I got the position I have at a magazine. I’ve stumbled over the answer a hundred times because some insane part of brain believes that the conversation should sound like this:

“How did you get your job, Whitney?” asks anonymous friend.

“Well, I graduated from Berkley with a degree in journalism and I was writer for the newspaper briefly while I saved children from burning buildings. Then, I applied to be the editor of the magazine and after no trouble at all I was hired,” I reply.

But the truth is, I was in the right place at the right time. And the truth in that truth is I lied on my resume. I said I had experience I didn’t have, inflated my reputation and glorified every bit of minute, inconsequential b***s*** I did between age 7 and 25. A year ago, I wrote about my first day at work:

This could very well be one of those stories where a downtrodden girl finally gets a break to do something really cool: fashion shoots with real models and coordinating an entire look from start to finish. Who am I to pick hair and makeup looks for models in a fashion magazine? Our character struggles to keep her phony identity a secret while she gets help from a friendly office-mate who shares her love of American muscle cars; keeping her secret safe as she rises to the top only to tell her boss three years later: “Yeah, I had no idea what I was doing when you hired me.” But by then she is too fabulous to get fired and she lives happily ever after.

Or, in a separate but entirely possible parallel universe, she gets fired and finds a new job.

The point I want to make here is that I was scared—I was terrified that I didn’t know anything about my new job or how to do it very well. I was hired to be a graphic designer and am now the editor of the entire magazine. When I had less to give in Photoshop I didn’t curl up in a ball and cry about it. I found other ways to add value to what I was doing, made sure that if I didn’t know how to do something I asked despite the pain each time my pride was stabbed, again and again, until pride was irrelevant because I had a job to do and that was more important. I stayed late, worked hard and above all, I made coffee.

I’ve watched the company grow this year, watched my team get bigger and our voices get louder in the 8th largest city in the United States. Working in media is an incredibly competitive and relentless task and I’m damn proud to be here standing.

And tomorrow when I go to work, I’m going to make the people in my office coffee because it reminds me from time to time that every story has a beginning, though every beginning isn’t as glamorous as we would like.

A few weeks ago, my boss walked into my office.

“Man, you’re really not a very good graphic designer are you?” he asked.

“I was wondering when you were going to catch on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 





Life’s a B**** in Vegas

25 08 2013

Las-Vegas636_0Las Vegas. An oasis in the middle of nowhere—could be anywhere, depending on how much tequila is in those yard-long margaritas. Visit far away places: Paris, New York, Italy or reproductions of the like, and experience the world through a city made of stardust—one that sparkles at night from the glitter of one thousand strippers—the reflective quality of vomit, as one frat boy from Kentucky learns how to drink like an a**h*** for the very first time.

Strangers from all over the world come to get strange for a million different reasons that all too often begin with a bad idea: The bachelor party; The 21st birthday; EDC and ecstasy. Shall I continue? The girls’ trip is an altogether different kind of animal. One that should be feared or taken more seriously when one drunken girlfriend chimes up at the neighborhood bar:

girls trip“Hey! You know what? Like, we should all go to Vegas! Girls’ trip!”

Collectively, women are far more dangerous in a group than men are. Women are smarter, better looking and way more creative when it comes to rejection.

The expectations of a girls’ trip to Vegas are pretty simple: get as much from as many people as you possibly can.

For women, the thrill is all in the details—the details of looking hot. It’s looking as good as you can so that you can get as much as possible for free. Free drinks, free club cover, free food, free, free, free, free. Las Vegas validates one of the many quasi truths in our society: that young pretty women are important for being young and pretty—and in Las Vegas, women cash-in big on this nightmare to an excess that would make any reasonable man questions his gender and the superstition that men are in-fact superior intellectual beings. Case-in-point:

The nomadic girls’ battle battalion consists of several strategic players—girls that individually are less valuable but collectively are the sum of an impenetrable circular force on the dance floor. Only as good as the weakest link, the girls’ group strives for balance in circumstance that is inevitably imbalanced—as men and women fight for control in a seemingly out of control city.

The Body.the body2 Every girl group needs a super hot, grade A piece of a** to bring men down from their hotel balconies and into the pool. The hot girl has one of the hardest jobs—she’s usually the reason men show up, but she’s also the reason they leave. Body babes are cold and usually not very interesting by virtue of their hotness.  But they’re meat on a hook that maintains a successfully lethal girls’ group in Vegas.

the brain 2The Brain. Who hasn’t had a run in with the police or security in Las Vegas? The brain is easily marked by her sobriety. While everyone is taking shots, she is having a relatively good time sober—watching out for the herd, making sure no one takes off their clothes. She can talk the group out of bad decisions; talk them into worse ones if it so pleases her. But don’t let her sweetness be distracting—this girl will bite. The brain is also the girl that gets into fistfights at the bar over feminist theory. Don’t ever try to explain to her why women can’t fight on the front lines in Afghanistan.

the boss finalThe Boss. The leader—the girl with more experience than the rest. She is spontaneous, the life of the party and usually the first person to disappear with a guy—and then reappear with someone else. The boss usually does most of the strategic talking after the body has pulled a bait and switch. She’s witty and uses innuendo to entice weak men into dilemma. She enjoys watching men cry and believes she is doing the world a service by taking advantage of their checkbooks. She is confident and interesting but deeply disturbed by her inability to trust people.

the brain

The Boyfriend. This girl somehow always manages to find herself in Vegas when she is in a deeply committed relationship subjecting her morality and commitment to tests with serious consequence. This gal usually will try to reason with the others over why going to a strip club is a bad idea when it’s clearly an amazing idea. Everyone makes fun of her for being so lame though in reality the rest of the girls are secretly jealous of how happy she is. “Why did we bring her?” No one will ever really know, but the girls’ trip wouldn’t be complete without someone in the bathroom FaceTiming their boyfriend at 3:30 in the morning.

THE HOUSE BUNNY

The B****. No need to explain this one. If a gal isn’t a body, a brain, a boss or a boyfriend, chances are, she’s a b****, which means she is doing whatever the brain or the boss says the group is doing. She’s there to make-out with random strangers so that other random strangers think they stand a chance and get in line to buy shots. She adds girth to an otherwise slim girls’ group, and for men it’s all about numbers, so the more drunk girls the better. Don’t be ashamed ladies—b***** really do make the world go round.

So the next time you go on a girls’ trip to Las Vegas, make sure you’ve got all your bases covered. Push your tits up, spray on some sweet perfume and have a blast making fun of how stupid being young and stupid actually is. But don’t take my word for it—take a look and see for yourself!

Rainbow





Reality F***

13 05 2013

whitney-butler-funny-blog-newport-beach-film-festival-tupacI’m what you would call a realist. Walt Whitman once said, “I accept reality and dare not question it.” But I’m also an extreme escapist like my boy Tupac, who said, “Reality is wrong, dreams are for real.” I did drugs for years to elevate my state of mind, and while I’m continuously working on sobriety, from time-to-time I take cosmic leaps. What’s more, I believe reality is fundamentally linked to our perception—the way we choose to observe the world we live in. “Whatever you believe with feeling becomes reality” said Brian Tracy.

At times, reality seems as subjective as deciding on an evening cocktail—most of the time I prefer Mexican beer, but sometimes I drink my weight in champagne and things get pretty weird, pretty fast. Lately I’ve been totally consumed with reality: the reality that my friends are getting married and having children. That today, I’m closer to 30 than I was yesterday—that being a writer is dangerously unstable both financially and mentally. One the one hand, I am finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do—write…and wear whatever the hell I want to work. But on the other, less articulate left, there’s a part of me that looks for a road sign on the horizon to signal the right direction.

My perception is often experienced in waves of weird, unexplainable happenings that routinely make people laugh over casual dinner conversations. They shake their heads and say, “Wow, that’s crazy, Whitney.” And I unapologetically nod my head and agree, because I’m a realist. But then I’m off again—confusing the crazy with what’s real—if only for a moment, to escape.

SignLast weekend I escaped to Newport Beach for the Newport Beach Film festival. That seems relatively sane, right? But when I got to my five-star resort hotel, ordered my complimentary room service and sat on the balcony and looked out over Balboa Island, I couldn’t help but think how surreal the moment was.

In about 18 months, I went from unemployment to this—complimentary dinners with executive chefs, free travel, luxury accommodations, red carpets and cutting lines at social events because “I’m a writer.”

In the theater, patiently waiting for the film “Broadway Idiot” to start, a documentary about Green Day’s Junior album adapting to Broadway, I was star-struck when I saw The Real Housewives of Orange County coming down my isle—a row of seats that had the names of writers from all over the country: Esquire, Variety, the L.A. Times and then, of course, my name. I said hi to gorgeous housewife Gretchen Rossi like we were old acquaintances. She was very sweet. Gretchen asked if she and boyfriend Slade could sit in the clearly marked theater seats. I told her she could do whatever the hell she wanted. Meanwhile, Billy Joe and the Green Day crew took their seats three rows in front of me.

The PR company coordinating this press tour saw the housewives and ran over to kick them out of our seats. The perfectly dressed housewives were shocked and so was I. Smiling, I wondered which part of this weekend I would write about first.

Ethan-Embry-ethan-embry

Later that weekend, at another theater screening, I bumped into a guy on the red carpet wearing a man-purse. I poked fun at him as he bashfully tried to explain the “necessary things” inside, like his wallet and car keys. So, I opened my purse to expose its guts and asked, “Do you have tampons too?” As the lights went down inside, I saw the guys face up on the big screen. Turns out he was the lead in the film we were about to watch. I had asked Ethan Embry if he had any tampons in his purse. The crazy had struck again.

The reality was unavoidably obvious, but my brain hadn’t caught up with what was happening around me. It is, after all, easy to get swept up in the glamour of things when someone else is paying for your dinner. On Monday I went back to work.

SpanosThis week, surrounded by a camera crew and watchful publicist eyes I interviewed AG and John Spanos, owners and managing team of the San Diego Chargers. The brothers were smiling and joking with me about sibling revelries and it hit me: Holy s***! I’m a writer!

For the first time ever in my life, I felt like I wasn’t pretending.

As the photos clicked from the photographer’s aperture, I was higher than I had ever been before—it was psychedelic. Not only was I enjoying an exclusive interview, I had just seen a road sign. With every fiber of my crazy being I knew that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Maybe being a writer means the lines of what’s real and what’s in my head are blurred occasionally. To quote Tim Burton, “One persons craziness is another persons reality.”

So what happens when one person’s crazy is the same persons’s reality?  I guess I should to come up with a quote for that.

 

Thug Life.

whitney-butler-funny-blog-humor





A Little Bit Country

19 04 2013

It was Easter and I needed little travel-size bottles of Shampoo and toothpaste. The only store open on this particular Sunday was Walmart, a place I like to avoid most of the time due to crowded parking lots and the wild abundance of spandex. With my basket full of useless but adorable toiletries, I unloaded the loot to checkout.

“You must be going on a trip somewhere,” said Jodi, the pleasant Walmart associate. “Where are you going?” she asked politely.

Just as soon as Texas escaped from my lips, the gal behind me pipes up with, “I’m sorry!”

Confused, I look around to make sure she hasn’t offended anyone before I reply. I didn’t feel like starting any Walmart turf wars over something so stupid.

“You don’t like Texas?” I queried.

“Never been there. But who the heck would want to go anyways?” she asked rhetorically.

“Where are you vacationing in Texas?” asked Jodi.

“Fredericksburg. And it’s not a vacation. I’m working.”

I had never been to Texas, or anywhere particularly close to the South—though Texas is arguably large enough to occupy both northern and southern proclivities while still holding the same gun. I’ll also admit that growing up in California there does exist an unexamined prejudice towards Texas. It’s probably the same prejudice the woman in Walmart was expressing—the kind of chitchat that people use to relate to each other based on lack of experience and not any particular evidence. People do this all the time, but in my travels I’ve learned to curb my pubic opinions on culture, especially when that culture could beat the s*** out of me.

blue-bonnet-flower-whitney-butler-blog-Texas-wild-flowers

In the spring, these Blue Bonnet wild flowers cover the hill country.

Fredericksburg has a population of just fewer than 13,000 people. “The Hill Country” is what the locals call it, because it rises significantly in elevation about an hour north of San Antonio and 70 miles west of Austin. To me it looked flat, but one woman’s rolling hillside is another woman’s steep mountain terrain and I had come to Fredericksburg to figure it out.

Germany and Texas are an unlikely pair, but in Fredericksburg a heritage of German immigration is proudly displayed on windows, street signs and a determined effort to protect this history from being swallowed-up by American homogeneity.

In the early 1900’s German was the most common language spoken in Fredericksburg. Originally a Spanish territory, Mexico controlled the territory until a majority sought emancipation for slaves circa 1824. This pissed off a bunch of crazy slave owners but to no avail. The result was a new republic and Sam Houston became the first president of the Republic of Texas. He favored the idea of annexation to the United States, which didn’t actually happen until 1845, when Texas became the 28th state incorporated into the Union. While all of this crazy s*** was going on, there was a mass movement of Germans to the south and central regions of Texas. Many of these Germans came thinking they would take root in the Republic of Texas, but leave it to a bunch of crazy white people to mess that up.

 “Sorry German farmers. You’re all Americans now!”

Moreover, safe passage, farm land and the dream of a better life were all promises that some German quasi-company sold to these down-trodden German families in the late 1920’s—families that paid about $300 to board a boat for 2 months, get smallpox, and head for the new world.

Luckenbach-Texas

Bad-ass Texans in Luckenbach Texas, a famous dance hall and debauchery destination.

Bottom line, these German immigrants were total bada** motherf******. They were fighting off crazy Comanche indian attacks, disease, unpredictable weather and several unfulfilled promises—the amount of land they had been promised was dramatically exaggerated, and what land they did receive, they had no idea how to use. Thanks to some Mormon folks living around the corner, they learned enough to get through some really bad storms and survive through enough seasons to start developing a little town that would later become home to just under 13,000 people. Incredible.

History is so boring when it’s laid out like this. I hate linear paths and I think most people do too, which is exactly why people have to go to Fredericksburg to understand why—especially if you’re from California—you should learn to hold your tongue inside a Walmart.

Here are some things I would recommend in the “The Hill Country”:

Wine Tasting

wine

Prepare to make a day of the 290 Wine Road, and prepare to have someone else drive your ass home.

If you’re a lover of the grapes, Texas is boasting one of the fastest growing wine industries in the county. Today there are over 300 wineries producing Texas wine, which reflect many of the same complex flavors found in the Mediterranean or other vines that grow at this longitude. Fredericksburg is home to dozens of unique tasting rooms and several very large wineries off the famous 290 Wine Road, including Becker, Grape Creek, Rancho Ponte and too many others to list.

Napa Valley draws all kinds of attention for its prestige and sophisticated pallet, but Texas Tuscany is a more relaxed and comfortable experience. The growers, owners and families within these vineyards can be seen walking about the facilities, talking with customers—sharing stories about last year’s harvest. And while each winery offers a unique tasting experience you can bet that you’ll leave having learned something new from knowledgeable and the most hospitable wine pourers you’ve ever met.

My personal favorite was the Becker Vineyard, which had an amazing farmhouses and special event venues that would be perfect for weddings, corporate meetings or my 27th birthday party. Try a bottle of the Raven, for about $40 this concentration with essences of chocolate, toffee, dates, and espresso is a blend of malbec and petit verdot. I have no idea what that means but I’m planning an entire meal around the bottle I brought home with me—grilled pork chops with a raspberry and chipotle compote I scored from Fischer & Wieser, a famous canner of all things worth pickling, saucing or jamming. Sown and reaped in Fredericksburg, the Fischer & Wieser brand is so successful that you can find some of their products at CostCo—not so small town, is it?

I met the owner of the jelly company, who was a crackled old German man who told me nobody in town liked him. I liked him instantly for being so honest and wanted to know more. We talked mostly politics and infrastructure and how annoying it is when society doesn’t listen to you even when you have ideas that will change the course of the world. He had just returned from Germany and said he was jet-lagged and apologized for his political speech. I told him I would vote for him if her ever went out for County Judge again—a position he held many years ago.

 Museums and History 

Johnson

Command central during the Vietnam War.

The National Museum of the Pacific War is incredible. The only Japanese midget submarine still intact from Pearl Harbor lives under this roof. There are audio histories that can only be heard at the museum as well and letters from troops to their mothers that can be read clearly from beautiful and well-lit cases. The tickets are good for 48 hours and that’s a huge benefit to guests—one could easily spend days looking at all of the information, artifacts and priceless treasures from WWII. The Nimitz Museum is also one-of- a-kind in Fredericksburg. The late Navy Admiral was born and raised in “The Hill Country” and the town is damn proud of it.

Another major attraction is Lyndon B. Johnson’s Ranch in the LBJ National Historic Park and the Texas White House. When Ladybird Johnson died a few years ago in 2007, the Ranch home and its hundreds of acres were donated to the National Park Services. Only recently has the public been allowed to tour the former home of President Johnson and experience the incredible life story that is woven into the earth there. The president’s entire life cycle can be traced in this single experience. The foundation of his birth home is still present along with the original schoolhouse he walked to as a young boy. The home he raised his family in and commanded the American Armed forces is completely persevered as it was in the 1970’s. The original beds, chairs, televisions, phones, family photos—everything eerily stands still in time and guests are now allowed to tour this home and experience the still country mist of this presidential history. My personal favorite was the Johnson’s dual closet, which had not been moved or touched by anyone, including the first lady, after Johnson’s death in 1973.

whitney-butler-pasific-war

Original artifacts from the war make way for silence and strange reflections of a past that I never lived.

When I’m in San Diego, around my people, my places, my things, nothing surprises me. Everything is predictable, comfortable, and easier to generalize than people who shop at Walmart. It’s so predictable that perhaps sometimes—myself included—we pretend to understand things outside of this common sphere, and it’s the things we think we know—the people or places we like to pretend to understand from afar, that often are the most surprising, the most beautiful, the most unexpectedly fun.

So please, the next time you’re in Walmart, buy your useless toiletries and shut the hell up. Because we’re all a little bit country whether we know it or not. Texas is enormous, and at some point all of our histories cross. You don’t have to believe in the right to bear arms to appreciate the great things happening in the Lone Star State, but you do have to leave California.








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