I have been in Oklahoma now for 7 days. I have 12 more days to go! Oklahoma used to be a place that I despised with all of my being. For the longest time, when I thought of Oklahoma my mind was only filled with awful memories of blended families that did not blend well at all. I remember having way too much responsibility at a very young age and longing for someone to take all of that away.
So, where does that bring me to today. I no longer have anxiety attacks at the thought of visiting here; nor is tequila quite as appealing. That is a big hurdle, let me tell you. I actually look forward to the trip now. I'm not quite sure 19 days was a good idea but I'm still holding out for the best. I really want to recount my experiences here without being condescending or derogatory. Things here just happen to be different. Not better or worse; just different.
For instance, Chad's mom's house, where we spend the bulk of our time, is a good 25 minutes from what I consider to be civilization, i.e. Wal-Mart (super, that is). Although this version of civilization makes you want to hold your pee and rub down with sanitizer as soon as you walk out the door, it is still an upgrade from the Vian liquor store which requires you to purchase everything from behind the counter and who's bestseller is "cheap" per the big bellied, red faced man at the register. I have made the trek to "civilization" at least every other day. The people I find myself shopping next to are very friendly and seem oblivious to the fact that there are well-groomed people elsewhere in the state that are not shopping for bacon and Boones (the only wine available in the wine isle). Inevitably I found myself behind someone with a huge basket of goods divided into different categories depending on what qualified for food stamps versus other types of state aid. It took me a few times of trying to practice the Zen of Waiting in Line while wondering why the line was so g*d*ned slow before I figured that out.
The silver lining of my trips to civilization were, however, the STARBUCKS right down the street. There is quite a dichotomy existing in the same town where you are legally allowed to sell wine in the grocery store but the only choice is BOONE'S and you can then drive down the street and order a $4 cup of coffee which is way more than the cost of a bottle of said Boone's.
Despite the tone of my above observations, I was surprisingly able during this trip to readily surrender my own version of civilization for the one that so simply existed in Eastern Oklahoma. The gorgeous sunsets overlooking Lake Tenkiller were captivating. Each day the sun seemed to slip away in a different but deeply intoxicating fashion. It was like a lover calling to you at the same time each day that you knew you couldn't resist no matter who else was demanding your attention. How would she reveal herself that day? Would she slowly sink behind the horizon while enveloping everything in her path with amazing color. Would it be the day that you were ready to watch her, like an impatient voyeur looking out the kitchen window, only to find her gone before you knew it? Would you suddenly notice the time and the dark clouds only to find that the thunder had scared her away? And then ahhh, there comes the day that the stars align and you sit down just in time to breeeeeathe and drink in the beauty of her glow across the lake and know that the big bellied man at the liquor store and the woman in front of you at Wal-Mart, food stamps in hand, daughter with no shoes and twin babies drinking juice out of their bottles might possibly be enjoying the same sunset. And if they weren't, they might very likely be wishing for that moment where they could sit and experience a similar moment of peace and beauty before the chaos of their life resumed.