O K L A H O M A

Highlights from my quick trip to Tulsa this weekend:

1) Seeing H.K.B. (aka Heather / aka H.K. / aka, married nickname, H.K.B.)

So many of my good friends are so far away from me! It’s always lovely to reunite, catch up and have adventures. And, boy, were adventures had this weekend.

we like sports & we don't care who knows.

2) Football!

We had some options for Saturday evening: we could stay in and slumber-party-it-up. We could go out, see a movie. “Or,” Heather said with a twinkle in her eye, “this weekend is Bedlam…” Whaaaaa? says my mind. Turns out this isn’t a pub-crawl or perhaps the churchy hell-night situation it sounds like, but instead the OU / OSU football game in Stillwater. Adventure. Let’s do it.

After some yummy stir fry, we kissed Nathan The Hubby Chef goodbye and were on our way. Some long-overdue chatting in the car made the time fly, and we arrived in Stillwater just in time to find the last remaining parking spot downtown. The streets were dead at 7:30 p.m.

Our first stop was this bar (Willie’s, I believe?) where we met up with one of HKB’s coworkers, who greeted me with the kind of picking-up-hug I’ve received before from my tall dude friends…more so in high school than in the last decade, though. I was stunned. What I wanted to tell him: “Dude. Duuuuude. I am 28. I have a mortgage. I don’t care how drunk you are; you do not pick up an adult woman unless she just won a game show or you are swing dancing.” Dude. What I did tell him: “HI! PERSON I DON’T KNOW!” (Like Liz Lemon, I sometimes get loud in awkward situations.)

The bar was packed. One of those times where you have to shoulder-touch and shimmy past people as if you know them and know where you’re going. Otherwise you’re stuck in the corner sipping your margarita like a girl from out of town. (This was not a night for corner sipping.) So we did a lot of touching-and-shimmying to scope out the place (while sipping margaritas). Along the way, a busboy called Heather “boo,” and we artfully dodged a beer bottle on its way to the recycle bin. We also saw the crowd react to a big touchdown. I wanted to be excited, too. (Plus I was wearing a red coat in an otherwise all-orange bar…) So we decided to make our way to the stadium, to people-watch and tailgate-hop and hear the actual bedlam of Bedlam. Little did when know we’d actually get in…

First of all, the tailgating. OSU alumni know how to live. We’re talking custom-bbq-machinery and portable satellite + flat screen game viewage, all fueled by generators that also power the portable heaters. All under brightly colored insignia-emblazoned tents. A living room away-from-home…in a parking lot. Nuts.

(A moment of silence for how fun it is to explore a new college campus. I’m a huge nerd for it. We decided a fun vacation activity would be crashing a campus tour…WAIT! Don’t leave now! For the trivia and the nostalgia and the new-dreams smell…It would be fun, right?)

We reached the stadium a little before halftime, and we milled around listening to the excitement, smelling hotdogs and rubbing our cold hands together like sad Little Match Girls locked outside with the smokers. Everything was shiny and new. (*sigh* football money…) You could feel the energy. Heather wanted to at least get me in to see the field for a few minutes. She’s braver than I am. I can make stuff up on stage all night long, but in a real situation (even when nothing real is at stake), I can’t muster the guts.

Heather made some calls.

Thanks to a coworker’s son who was nice enough to come outside the stadium and lend us his ticket stubs, we confidence-walked our way into the stadium. (Oh the amazing things you can get away with by employing the confidence-walk! I am often too scared to find out.) See you’re supposed to have a hand stamp to get back inside, so we just made like we were arriving for the first time…after halftime…wearing no orange…don’t worry about it. (Our good ticket-Samaritan made it back inside, too, so we were there to stay. It pays to be nice to friends of your mom, everybody!)

I'm a believer.

So, you guys, football!!

In my next life, I’m going to a Division-1 school. (No offense, Drury, I loves ya, but college football is FUN.) I’ve been to one other big college game in my life, but I think at the time I was so worried about impressing my boyfriend’s Mizzou friends that I forgot to have fun…which makes me sad.

HKB and I had us some fun. The dorky kind, which included much giggling and gawking. Checking out college boys. Enjoying the atmosphere. And hot chocolate.

We both decided that college sports embody a lot of the things we love in life:

  • team spirit
  • matching outfits
  • marching bands
  • secret chants
  • underdog stories

I’m not saying I’m going to start watching ESPN or engaging in more jock talk with my male coworkers, but I do have a new respect for this pastime that I never really understood before. (And, as a writer, that’s a pretty significant thing.)

After we’d walked around the entire stadium, we decided to get warm and enjoy the rest of the game by the glow of a bar TV set. (Beat the crowds and have a drink, more adventures…) As we were leaving, Heather (again, the brave one) asked these bros where we should go next. “We’re not from here…My friend’s from Missour-uh.” Love saying it that way. I never say it that way. “You should go to Joe’s.” he told us, “for the cheese fries.” So we headed in the general direction of his pointed arm.

I make 1992 look good.

Only once I saw the logo on the sign, which I’ve seen on the back of a million t-shirts, did I realize he meant, duh, Eskimo Joe’s. There was a line to get in, but we were ushered ahead by two older gentlemen who became our companions for the next few minutes. It’s hard to delineate the non-creepy vibe from these two vs. the blatant creepiness of the exact same behavior in other fellas…I’m pretty sure they were a father/son pair, which maybe helps. At any rate, they helped us get in the bar faster, so I’ve no complaints.

(Though the record should show that Liz Lemon would not normally take advantage of kindness from strange older men. She’ll wait outside and freeze by herself, thank you.) We did end up learning some valuable trivia from “dad”…who shared the origin story of “Stillwater’s jumpin little juke joint”—something to do with late-night bar fines on Saturdays when they couldn’t stay open past midnight. The owner would pass a hat to collect $200 (eerily like Monopoly, no?…) so they could stay open and still please the Lord.

(Also some other dude was wearing this baller Ross Perot hat, and then so was I.)

Not much else happened in Stillwater. The bar was too packed to get a table, and we still had a long drive back home (remember the part where we’re old women with mortgages? This is the part of the story where we act like it). But we showed Sonic who’s boss on the way back to Tulsa. You best believe it.

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4) Sunday.

Yikes. This is already so long. But. We had Sunday brunch at the golf club near HKB’s house. The mom-aged maitre d’ told us, with a wink, that she’d find “a good-looking waiter…” to take care of us. (I feel like this sort of comment was cute when I was in junior high, but c’mon. We are grown-ass women now. The jig is up.) Good waffles, though.

Pre-Christmas Sunday afternoon shopping at the mall is not for the faint of heart. But man did we get some deals. I got this scarf at the GAP that is so good I could cry. So soft and colorful and 50% off… (Maybe part of me is still in high school after all.)

5) The drive home.

I feel safe driving at night by myself. (Really, mom. I do.) But every time I leave the over-the-highway McDonald’s on the way back from Tulsa, I feel like I’ve narrowly escaped being murdered. That place is made of dark corners.

Other thoughts, inspired by my iPod:

Not enough songs these days begin with “Murder, Inc.”
(Still got some love for Ja Rule. Don’t hate.)

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard The Postal Service: driving, listening to a copy from a friend (it was one of those CDs that look like vinyl). I thought it sounded like no music I’d ever heard before. I thought it sounded like video games.
This album may always feel like a soundtrack to me, where I’m 20 years old, driving barefoot in summertime and thinking about a boy.

I think enough time as passed that we can all just admit Soul Decision “Faded” is hilarious, right?

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Quick jaunts like this are good. Friends are good. Adventures are good. Football is good(!) Home is good.

{ The End }

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9 thoughts on “O K L A H O M A

  1. Picture me reading, much like one would read a newspaper, with a pipe in my mouth… Oh, the good ol’ days of spontaneity and adventure. Wait, it was just last weekend!! Yessss!

  2. So we are standing in my kitchen this morning when my mother says to me, “Your cousin was just here, in Tulsa.”

    Not having any cousins that are in contact really, I am slightly confused, enough that I am forced to slow down and look her in the eyes and have a real conversation like a grown-up. Except these days it is sometimes difficult to tell which one of us is the grown-up.

    “My what?”, I ask, almost as if I left the word “cousin” back in the days of barefoot tree climbing, back when family still meant “friends”, and Sparta was close instead of three hours away.

    “Your cousin. She blogs. Like you. Only she’s funnier. And she might be smarter than you. And it isn’t all church-ey and boring. And she runs better than you. But she was here. I thought you should know.”

    At this point, I am completely baffled, wondering about the onset of some sort of dementia or if maybe I didn’t cook the pork long enough or what has gone wrong in her brain.

    I ask again, playing the cochlear-implant card, just to make sure I am awake and understanding. “My what?”

    “Your cousin. Or my cousin. Your second cousin. No, my cousin’s daughter. She blogs, like you, and she reads, like you, and she blogs about reading.”

    “You have a cousin who has a daughter who blogs about reading?”

    “Yes. And she is my friend on facebook. For several years now, so sometimes I read her blog. I thought you would like it.”

    “You are creepin’ on a cousin you never told me about?”

    “She’s not creepy. She’s a Jenkins. So she is safe. I didn’t click on any of that virus stuff this time.”

    “You’re the creeper, mom.”

    So that’s how I found your blog/twitter/facebook world.

    I told my mom that I checked out the blog link, and read your writing, and that it was good, like she said.

    I hate when she is right.

    Also, hi. :-)

  3. So…Joe’s. Did you eat some cheese fries or not? If not, you definitely need to go back (maybe not on a game day or when classes are in session). They are the best!

  4. Pingback: Best Thing About Super Bowl Sunday | what sarah is: reading

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