Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Redneck with a Dream

        Only until I moved to Texas did I realize the crazy decision I had made. I was pre-occupied with moving here for work so it didn't occur to me that I was a) moving to a red state and b) moving to one of the fattest places on Earth. However, since spending the last 4 months in Dallas I have been pleasantly surprised by the comparatively cosmopolitan energy the city has at least in comparison to my expectations. There's an entire arts district complete with its own opera company, there are bars filled with non-racist non-cowboy hat wearing patrons of all colors, there's even a gay strip. A great sigh of relief has slowly been exhaled since settling in. But just when my fears were getting away from me and I was finally feeling comfortable in Dallas, I had an adventure in a new place that I had never set foot in before. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you, Dallas's evil twin sister; FORT WORTH!

         My wonderfully Caucasian friend Shoniqua and I moved here around the same time from New York. It just so happens that in NYC we shared a wonderful African sensation of a friend who will be referred to as Simba. Simba is White. I'm not sure how that happened but I'll leave it to her to start that blog: Tales of a White African. I stayed with Simba over the New Years holiday week in New York and was pleasantly surprised when she decided to return the favor last week and paid a visit to Shoniqua and I here in Texas. One day Shoniqua, Evangeline, Simba, and myself were sitting around and for some God forsaken reason we decided to attend a Rodeo in Fort Worth. When you fly into Dallas, the airport is referred to as DFW which stands for Dallas Fort Worth. So in a sense they are like twin cities. What I didn't realize is that Dallas is the Good Witch Glenda and Forth Worth is the Wicked Bitch of the West. I was blithely unaware of this fact. For me it just tickled my fancy at the idea that the four of us would star as the multi-cultural sensation at a Texan rodeo. Sure I was aware that we would probably stand out a little; that was part of the appeal for me in the first place! I assumed that it would probably be a largely Caucasian macho audience watching the American tradition of rodeo. Apparently I set the bar of White supremacy a little too low. At least I wasn't as bad as Simba who actually thought it would be more of a costume party. Boy, was she in for a shock!

         Immediately once Simba took the exit off the highway to enter the "city" of Forth Worth I knew that something was wrong. The streets turned to cobblestone and the high-rise buildings of Dallas had been replaced with midget-sized barnyard bars complete with swinging doors. It was rare to see a head without a cowboy hat. It was rare to see a pair of jeans not covered with chaps (I'm assuming to hide the gun). I believe the first words uttered by Simba were "They're not serious are they? This is just dress up. Right?". Oh, but no. Sadly this was true. Have you ever seen a vision that was so ridiculously hysterical that it actually becomes disturbing. This was one of those moments. I had entered the twilight zone and I was completely lost for words. I had officially entered the world of Caucasia! We found a parking spot. I slowly exited the vehicle with my head low to avoid any rounds of shots to  be fired in my direction. My skin may be light in color but in this situation I might as well have been Blurple. We slowly made our way in disbelief to the cobblestone roads to purchase our tickets. I asked the ticket vendor if there would be an intermission. He said yes. I asked him if I could pre-order my drinks for intermission. This was not greeted with a response. Time to get some alcohol! There's no better way to cope with the impending doom of blatant racist shenanigans than with Crown Royal and Coke (Although I was skeptical that the saloon bars would serve such a Black drink). As we made our way through the cobblestone streets looking for a bar I saw something that for a moment shocked me. A negro! I normally would not refer to Black people as "negros" but when in Rome..... This was the first colored person I had seen in Fort Worth and he looked like he had come right off the set of Amistad II. He had a slight hunch, a few teeth missing and he was selling different trinkets that lit up in bright colors similar to those contraptions you buy at those silly raves (also a predominantly White event, there's a theme developing). At that moment I decided to seek out every minority I could. This would be difficult but I'd keep my eyes open for people at night time whom I could only make out their teeth and eyeballs. It was like "Where's Waldo" with Black people. Finally, we found a bar and went inside.

        The four of us as the multi-cultural sensation walked into a deliciously country looking bar and I was immediately greeted by Negro #2 of the evening in the my game of "count the coloreds". He was selling t-shirts and nic-nacs at the front of the store also appearing to have recently fallen off the back of a truck. I was getting scared at this point. I was in desperate need of hard liquor at this point. I was very happy that they indeed served my Crown and a after a few drinks I convinced myself it was safe to follow the ladies to the back of the bar. Alcohol impairs judgement. Once near the rear of the establishment  we were greeted b y Negros #3 and #4 for those who are playing along at home. Continuing with the theme of employed yet homeless looking Blacks they were two shoe-shiners. Whities jump up on a comfortable couch and have their shoes polished by the saliva of nappy workers. Is this a slave town? I was very concerned in that moment, even having already kicked back two drinks. Simba and Evangeline jumped up to have their boots shined. I would imagine that Evangeline was probably one of the first Blacks in that bar to be on the receiving end of this disturbing event but I was busy basking in the contradiction of the whole scenario. I must say her boots looked amazing by the time the toothless woman was finished. Her boots were so shiny I swear I could see a reflection of myself as a slave picking cotton in them.

        After our antics in the bar finished it was time to go over and get our seats at the rodeo. I wasn't sure if they allowed late seating or how long the previews would last so I figured it was best that we arrived on time. Once we entered we grabbed some delicious "snacks" at the concession stand. It smelled a bit like pig vagina but I assumed that it was just the permeation of the entire rodeo. I mean, we were practically in a barn anyhow right? We made our way into the stands. We had amazing seats! We sat down, got ourselves situated. I looked out to wonderful sea of gleaming, beady-eyed blisteringly White faces all around me; an infestation of cowboy hats! I felt like I was about to witness a hanging. I started to perspire. Thank God I had a Blue Moon in my hand for comfort. Just when I wanted to make a run for it (which I imagined would be quickly followed with a pick-up truck complete with rope and a gun rack) the lights came down and the performance began. Because this was a White event my suspicions were confirmed when the show began on time. Let the racist festivities begin!

Act One: The National Anthem and....a Horse?
        A spotlight came out onto the middle of the stage (which I'm pretty sure was comprised of mostly poop) and out walked a wonderfully thin White lady with blond hair and a cowboy hat. "Oh my God, what is my sister doing here?" was my first thought on account of my sister truly resembling Barbie. She took the microphone and started singing. I felt this seemed appropriate considering that a rodeo is such a traditionally American past time. And boy do these "U S of A"ers love their national anthem! But what was strange was when Black Beauty decided to make a cameo appearance. Out came this horse with long gorgeous hair that I'm sure at some point will become Evangeline's next weave, and atop was a lovely young woman who bared a striking resemblance to the one singing (White people are starting to all look the same to me at this point) and she was holding this largest most gaudy American flag I had ever seen....with sparkles! I'm not sure if it was the tacky nature of this horrific patriotic gesture or the "beef" (I use this term loosely) burger I was eating from the concession stand but I was truly beginning to feel nauseated. Retrospectively, I think it was the combination.

Act Two: Bull Riding (Or as I call it "Have you lost your fucking mind?")
        I'm not exactly sure what would possess someone to engage in this activity but I'm sure that Miller Lite plays a heavy role in this decision making. Basically this event takes place when a hillbilly jumps on top of a 2000 pound cow with a penis. The bull bucks back and forth frantically while the redneck with a dream desperately tries to hold on for his clearly useless life. The rider or as I refer to him the "idiot" is required to stay on for a minimum of 8 seconds and is only allowed to hold on with one hand. Should the hillbilly touch either himself or the crazed caged animal he will be disqualified. Once the rider has dismounted (otherwise known as "thrown off the 2000 pound beast") the rodeo clowns jump in to distract the bull and hopefully prevent it from trampling the redneck to death. I'm not sure who would be attending that funeral, perhaps the cast of Forrest Gump.

Act Three: The Texas Kid Scrambler (You have to recruit them when their young)
        In my questioning of the level of brain deficiency required to engage is such lunatic activities I realized that it's very similar to terrorist mentality. You have to brainwash the children to grow up in this unfortunate culture to actually believe that it's normal. They called out all children ages 6 through 9 to the "stage". I'm not sure what possessed Shoniqua and Evangeline to run out there with the little nuggets but I very clearly heard "ages 6 through 9". Apparently my two friends heard this as their cue for a performance. Simba sat in total disbelief. I think she clearly needed time for recovery. She was probably more mentally disturbed from this event than any of us. I, at that moment had a very quick decision to make. I decided to join them rather than beat them. So I grabbed my beer and went on my merry way having no clue what would be required of us once we got out there. I just decided to focus on my confidence and the fact that this would make a fantastic blog later and prayed that we would not be found out as clearly not children. At this point I need to give a little more context to help give you a very distinct visual of the comedic situation. Shoniqua and Evangeline had decided to play a little dress up for the rodeo. They donned themselves in jeans, high boots, flannel button up shirts and cowboy hats. I had also decided to dress up but I preferred to put more of a contemporary twist to my ensemble. I really wanted my outfit to represent a merging of the traditional and the avante garde. I had on Harley Davidson boots with silver buckles, tight (I mean tight!) purple jeans with a studded belt, a black button-up shirt and to complete the outfit I wore what I would describe as a Spanish bull-riding coat with huge cuffs, big lapel, studded buttons and very long coat-tails that floated in the wind behind me everywhere I went in order to feel that I was merely floating. I scurried my way through the crowd of children and waited for instruction. "There are two rules for this event", I heard a voice booming from a loud speaker. "Number one: You must be ages 6 through 9. And number two: NO PURPLE PANTS!". I was mortified. Shoniqua swears it was the beer that did me in. Completely defeated, I moped my way back to the stands. "Sashay your way on out of here!" said the voice as I exited. But I could not give up. I had an important job to do. I had to make my way back to my seat so I could record this tragedy on video and take mental notes for the blog later. After all, Shoniqua and Evangeline were still out there! I sat patiently with Simba waiting to hear what would come of this situation. Apparently, the scrambler is an event for children in which they are required to chase around a calf all around the stadium and pull a ribbon from its tail! Whoever gets the ribbon first wins. I imagine the prize would be of the Garth Brooks variety. Let me tell you, the moment that little baby cow came out, she was off and running and so were my friends, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as they chased on after it along with a hundred toddlers. Neither of the two won, some 7 year old no doubt ended up catching the ribbon. I think I was crying by the time it was over. From laughter or from joy, no one will ever know.

Act Four: Intermission (Thank God! I need more alcohol to make it through!)
      I really needed a break at this point. There's only so much animal cruelty I can take in one sitting. I refilled on Blue Moon and made it back to my seat and waited for what seemed like an indeterminable amount of time for Evangeline to return. Both her and Shoniqua seemed to be in hysterics at this point once they finally returned and I assumed this was because they were still recovering from the hilarity of the events they had just recently partook. I later found out that there was a piece of the puzzle I was missing on account of me not being present at the restroom during the break. Apparently Evangeline decided to push beyond the restricting boundaries of gender-assigned washroom facilities and boldly broke barriers by deciding to traipse her way into the men's restroom. That's exactly what we needed at that point after all that attention. The only Black woman in the entire stadium tipping her hat to a bunch of loaded cowboys at the urinal. Bold is the only word I have in description. It's very difficult to think how to react to something like that when you are busy shaking violently from the inevitable laughter. I'm not sure if I would've been able to control myself had I actually witnessed that horrific shenanigan in person.

Act Five: Barrel Racing (Here come the lesbians!)
         I love lesbians more than Pillsbury Doughboy's strudels but this was taking it a little too far. This is an all female event where the "cowgirls" otherwise known as the cast of the "L Word" participate in. No penises allowed! This event (Thank God!) requires no abrasive or idiotic maneuvering of animals or hillbillies. They lesbian simply bolts out on her horse and makes her way around two barrels. The Rosie O'Donnell impersonator just simply has to make it around both barrels and back to the exit without knocking them over. The fastest Ellen Degeneres wins. This was by far the most enjoyable activity of the evening. We were sitting so close to the arena that we could smell the tuna fish as they rode by.

Act Six: Team Roping (Insert Joke Here)
         I don't even know where to begin with this event. This was one of the most horrible, vicious, cruel things I have witnessed since Sarah Jessica Parker got her own perfume deal. This was tragic beyond words. Typical. Just when I'm finally feeling comfortable with the lesbians they bring in the most macho and violent event of the evening; Team Roping! Basically this requires two homeless, toothless rednecks who ride out on horses and are required to tie down a bull. The first hillbilly is called the "header" and is required to practically strangle the poor animal with the rope and the second hillbilly is called the "heeler" and is required to temporarily disable the cattle by tieing all of its limbs together. Afterward they drag cattle across the floor completely helpless until is untied at a later point. And the media is all up in arms over Michael Vic? Really? Where's CNN when you truly need them? I'm not sure who came up with this barbaric idea of a sport but I'm pretty sure the idea of separate water fountains for Blacks was conjured up in the same day and by the same person. I'm not certain how many times I had to witness the misfortune of cattle being dragged but it was enough for me to almost lose my Blue Moon. Somehow I held it together. I did it for the lesbians.

Act Seven: The Gift Shop
       After being completely appalled by the happenings at the rodeo I barely mustered enough strength to leave the stands with my friends. We struck up a conversation with some of the cowboys who looked as though they had never seen Black people before. They probably hadn't; with the exception of having their shoes shined of course. We made our way to the gift shop. I had no intention of spending any money in support for such a cruel and disgusting so-called sport. How could anyone pay their hard earned money on something that represents such denigrating activity. I felt very solid in my convictions in not supporting the rodeo until of course I set my eyes on the cutest cowboy hat ever! Oh my God! It was absolutely adorable. It's Black with a little Black ribbon with three holes on it. And it's huge! It was bigger than Kirstie Allie. Where have you been all my life? I looked pretty amazing in it. My justification of course is that I wear it in salute of the lesbians ONLY! I'm referring of course to the cowgirls and the barrel racing event which is the one event that is completely non-violent. But of course the most important thing is that the enormity of the hat makes me look even thinner.

Epilogue: Afterward.....
          Have you ever woken up and wondered where the hell you were last night? "Wait. This isn't my house?", is usually the phrase that accompanies this feeling. This is the first time I had that feeling waking up in my own bed. I rubbed my eyes. I looked around at my room. Everything was the way I had left it. I thought back to the previous night's festivities. My mind was blank. What happened last night? I couldn't remember a thing. All I knew was that I had a really bad hangover and I fortunately had a large bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol I received from my Secret Santa at work. Dazed and confused, I slowly lifted my aching head off the pillow still not remembering what had happened to me. I walked over to the bathroom in my underwear to brush my teeth. I had a little trouble trying to find the light as though it had moved from where it had been previously the day before. I found the switch, I turned the lights on. I was horrified. I took one look at myself in the mirror. I stared blankly. A few moments of confusion and silence passed. I quietly said, "Why the fuck am I wearing a cowboy hat?".


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