It’s A Conspiracy
The first two places I ate at in Dallas are places that I frequent here in Lafayette: Buffalo Wild Wings and Chick-Fil-A. I’m not complaining, mind you. Regular readers will know of my penchant for familiarity. I am not one for branching out. A very few of you will even know that new restaurants are a source of anxiety for me. For the rest of you I will just give this brief explanation: I don’t know how they work, so they confuse and terrify me.
I met Brian and Lisa at the rental car desk in the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. I’d met Brian earlier this summer, of course, but this was my first time meeting Lisa outside of Azeroth. She was very smiley and nice and very quiet. Part of that was the tiredness from the trip and I suspect part of it was out of shyness from meeting Internetians.
DFW is a huge place. I suspect, actually, that Lafayette could fit within its boundaries with room to spare. It took a lengthy shuttle ride to get to the rental car desk, and once we got the car, it took 10+ minutes to get out of the airport. Brian was driving, so I was only sort of aware of my environment and where we were going, a fact that would come back to haunt me when I set out to meet Teri for lunch the next day.
We met Mike at the hotel and headed up to our room. (It should be noted that the desk clerk gave me an in-the-air celebratory fist pump when I used my Dallas Cowboys credit card to pay for the room.) There was a funny moment in the elevator when Lisa asked Brian to introduce her and Mike and we all sorta realized that Brian and Mike had never officially met before, either.
After getting our stuff settled we headed to lunch at the Buffalo Wild Wings right across the street. It’s one of Brian and Lisa’s favorite places, but they don’t have one in Albuquerque. After the uncertainty of driving in unfamiliar territory and meeting new-ish people, the known settings of the restaurant were comforting.
After lunch we headed to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, a museum about President Kennedy’s fateful trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963. The exhibits did a good job of not sugar-coating his short-lived Presidency – it seems that so often when people talk about JFK it has this “he was the best President ever!” vibe to it, a vibe I’ve often felt was because he was assassinated. His term wasn’t without its troubles, though, and he wasn’t as roundly liked as I’ve always been led to believe he was. I really have no opinion on the matter, I was just impressed that the museum laid it out like that, more of a “complete story” thing.
The other thing that struck me while at the museum was because of a video that we stumbled across mid-way through its playing. It was about the impact of television on the events surrounding that time. For some reason, I knew that Jack Ruby’s shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald was televised, but I had forgotten or didn’t really know it was actually televised. There it was, though, right on screen – Oswald’s being escorted out, there’s a big group of people, and then Ruby steps forward and shoots. I’d seen the famous photograph, of course, but hadn’t thought about it being actually televised when it happened. Even with all the faked violence of televised movies and the normal nightly news there was something disturbing about seeing Oswald getting shot, even 43 years later. It was the first ever killing on live TV, and I don’t think there’ve been too many since.
The museum is actually on the sixth floor of the Book Depository where Oswald shot Kennedy from, and the actual window and surrounding area is plexiglassed off and set up exactly how it was that day, boxes of books set up all around. Conspiracy theories are addressed in the museum, but the overall feeling you get from the exhibits is that they support the findings of the Warren Report, that Oswald alone killed Kennedy.
Of course, I’m sure the main income for the museum is provided by conspiracy theorists coming to see where they’ve gotten it all wrong. In fact, there was a guy holding court in the museum telling a small gathering in that smarmy tone that all conspiracy theorists have about what really happened. I couldn’t listen to him for long before I got really irritated – that tone grates on me! – so I moved on in a hurry.
I love being in places where famous history happened. I try to imagine what it must have been like to be there that day, to see all of that as it happened. When we left the museum we drove down the street the parade drove down, right over the white X marks on the street showing the bullet trajectories. So surreal and strange to see oneself up against this event in history, so small in comparison.
That evening we met Kris, an old member of the THorum, for dinner. We couldn’t really decide where to go to eat, so we ended up at Chick-Fil-A. From there we went to a Fry’s Electronics, a kind of Best Buy on steroids, more Sam’s Club or Costco than anything. Apparently some of them are “themed,” and have spaceships crashed into them or somesuch, but this one was just normal: huge and full of stuff. I’d heard about them before, so I was glad to have the chance to go to one.
There’s something about history that changes how I think, at least for a while. Going from the museum to having dinner with friends seems now a harsh switching of gears. The last part of Proverbs 27:1 says “thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” You might meet friends for dinner, you might go to a store, or you might be taking your last drive down Elm Street. You just never know.