As April quickly sneaks up on all of us, I can’t help but think about that day two years ago when I first moved out here.
Not because anything significant happened, it just so happened to be my first day in the Permian Basin.
Since then, the West Texas culture has really grown on me. Sure, there have been some differences adjusting between life in Odessa as opposed to life in San Antonio, but I feel I’ve managed to adapt fairly well.
There is still one aspect of Odessa living that I still can’t wrap my mind around.
Driving within the city limits.
Yes, I’ve written about the traffic here before, but it’s the one thing around here that really grinds my gears.
I wouldn’t be surprised if West Texas driving was a game show question somewhere.
“Top three answers on the board; name three things that don’t exist on Odessa roads” imaginary Richard Dawson says in my head.
“Blinkers, complete stops, and depth perception?” I answer.
Suddenly, I’m moving on to the bonus round.
But in the two years I’ve been here, the town has boomed because of the oil production and the drivers have started changing their habits.
But they haven’t gotten any better. Now, it seems, everyone is Tom Cruise from “Top Gun” and has a need for speed.
And every time I almost get ran off the road, I can’t help but think about “The Distance” from Cake.
I kid you not, there is a band named Cake. They’re an alternative rock band out of Sacramento, Calif., consisting of lead singer John McCrea’s whose satirical lyrics always crack me up, and Vince DiFiore’s awesome trumpet lines this side of an Italian mobster movie.
The band has been known to venture into the folk side of music, but for those who can put up with them, its really good stuff.
“The Distance” comes off their second album “Fashion Nugget,” and can initially be interpreted as a story about a NASCAR or an Indy series car race, but then things start to change after the next few listens.
“They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank, fuel burning fast on an empty tank,” from the song can be interpreted two different ways: one, as the drivers on the race track pushing their beaten vehicles with narrowly dry tanks looking to take first place; or as workers in a corporation looking to reach the top of the working ladder.
Later lyrics also talk about one person working long after the moon comes up and “thinking of someone for whom he still burns,” which further supports my corporate ladder theory, but I’ve been wrong before.
Whatever the true meaning may be, when the song gets to the chorus, you really start feeling the bass line and you can hear the backing vocals of the rest of the band, it’s hard to keep your right foot from getting heavy while driving.
“The Distance,” along with “Master of Puppets,” has been one of those fast driving songs. After a couple of speeding tickets though, that’s all charged pretty quick .
Still, I can’t help but think of that song every time someone blows past a red light or passes me on Interstate 20 while I’m already doing the speed limit.
But alas, wanting people to obey the speed limit goes back to an old saying my grandfather use to tell me about wanting in one hand and doing something else in the other.
I’d have better luck finding a girl that wears short skirts and long jackets.