Traveling to Dallas—Notes in a Foreign Country

Travel within the US
A foreign mini country
I feel so “different”
Like I’ve landed my spaceship
On an alternate planet
Where other beings
Happen to speak the same language,
Sort of.

Regional accents
Hard to pick up on
To understand what a
Southern belle is saying
Upon hotel check in.

“Laaayts” refer to “lights.”
An awkwardness rises up between us
In our brief communications
Split second pauses
A bit too long.
“What?”
An imp standing tall
With arms raised and
Tongue sticking out
Making me twist my mental hands
In an anxious knot
During these raked moments.

Hotel lobby crammed full
Of dressy lanyarded people
Who traveled to Dallas for
An Amway-esque conference
To rule the world with
MLM domination,
Not to run the
Rock and Roll half marathon.

Isn’t that why
Everyone is here this weekend?

Texas style meals have included
A rib dinner oozing with
Moist, soft fat and juice
Accompanied by a choice of
Two “vegetables”
Which ended up being
BBQ baked beans and
Green bean casserole
Drenched in cream of mushroom soup
And topped with French fried onions–
Other “veg” choices
Included Mac n cheese or
Potato salad….:)!

The smokehouse restaurant
Sits on a cobblestone street
In a beautiful historic building
With original wood floors
And woodwork.
Inside, signs that say things like
“Lone Star State”
Cover the walls.

Popular, the place
Fills with generously sized folks
Filling hugely tall
Styrofoam cups
(Something rarely seen in Denver)
With soda while waiting
For their pulled pork
Sandwich orders.

Or what about fried chicken
Served piping hot and crispy—
The ideal way—
Over mashed potatoes and
Oh, don’t forget the
Biscuit and extra gravy,
Aahh yeah….
Southern done right,
I suppose this is!

The Health and Fitness Expo
Is the one familiarity here
Filled with Toyota and Geico “girls”
Wanting me to take surveys
Or spin the wheel for a prize
Though the expo seems smaller
With less exuberant hoopla here
Compared to that in Denver.

I pick up my race packet,
T-shirt and bib the same way
I always have and then
Wander through to see what I see.
For once and for the first time,
I soak in the expo experience
Purely as a guest.
I can take my time
To glean free samples of
Energy gel packets and yogurt,
Try on running belts
And taste overly sweet
Electrolyte sports drinks
Because I do not have to
Run back to my own booth
To represent Nutzo, LASIK
Or anything else.

Good sleep,
Prescription Cortisone
Some lucky charms
And I.

Whatever happens on Sunday,
I’m so lucky to be here
This weekend—
To have “made it”
Through weeks of training
Without missing a single day
Of lacing up
Getting out there
During periods of
Significant emotional turmoil,
Troublesome body pains—
I’ve done this process.
I’m here.

A big deal
Ever present
“Bucket list”
Lifetime accomplishment.

Foreign

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