Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The He-Man Woman Haters Club

My friend Kevin and I took one of our road trips down to the First Saturday sale in Dallas this past weekend. We were going to go last month but he chose to spend that weekend with someone much more attractive than me. When we go on these trips, it is mostly about the process but we are usually in search of something. Kevin was looking for a networkable hard drive enclosure and I was looking for a hard drive and possibly a bluetooth headset... but I'm getting ahead of myself a little.

Let me take you back about two years ago. My wife has been hearing me talk about these trips and the good times Kevin and I have when we go. She also knows that we have to pass by the factory outlet shops at Gainesville, TX. The first time we went, she inquired about going along to do some shopping at the outlets but I explained the timetable to her and she elected to not accompany us.

You see, when we go to First Saturday, Kevin and I leave Oklahoma some time between 7pm and 9pm after work, depending on whether we're leaving from Stillwater or Oklahoma City. We drive straight through to Dallas and arrive at the sale around 1am (the sale starts at 10pm Friday and runs through 3pm Saturday). We will generally shop for a couple of hours (no, it's not really that big or complicated but we like to wander), visit the Wurst Wagon for some Brats and a soda, make our last rounds (this takes about another hour), then hop in the car and head home. Our return journey puts us back in Oklahoma City between 9:30 and 10:30 at which time we stop at The Waffle House at I-35 and 122nd street for breakfast and lots of caffeine for Kevin and lots of sugar for me (I'm caffeine intolerant - yeah, that's a good way to put it). After that, we go home and crash for the rest of our Saturday.

On this particular trip two years ago, my wife convinced us to change our plans. Kevin and I would take her and a friend with us. On our way through Denton, we would drop the girls off at a Fairfield Inn and continue to Dallas. When we were done shopping, we would drive back to Denton, all have breakfast then the girls would go to the outlets while Kevin and I slept at the hotel. When we woke up, we would check out, call the girls, and we would all finish up the day shopping at the outlet mall.

For the most part, the trip went well. Kevin and I got to go to First Saturday, the girls got to shop at the outlet mall, and we all had some damn good vanilla waffles courtesy of the Fairfield. In the end, however, we all agreed that the two ventures should henceforth never be again combined. Neither set of adventurers got out of the experience quite what they normally do.

Fast forward to last weekend. I had everything set. I had a special Road Trip playlist loaded into my Zune and even included a song that played hilariously well into an inside joke regarding road trips. As the day approached, however, I was asked if it was OK if his girlfriend and another mutual friend (also a female) came along for the ride. They were not planning any special side trips so I agreed.

The adventure started out well. The girls are not offended by our crass jokes, bodily noises, or filthy language. Between the three available music players, we enjoyed raucously loud and surprisingly melodic singing with some of our favorite old and contemporary songs all the way to Dallas. It was when we got there that it started to unravel a bit.

First, the sale was a bit sparse. Some of the regulars were not in attendance, some had not shown up, and many of the smaller vendors - from whom you can buy dirt cheap, used parts of questionable reliability - were simply unaccounted for. When talking with one of the organizers, we discovered that vendor attendance generally wanes a bit this time of year.

As we walked to the sale area, it was obvious that the girls were already beginning to tire. They commented about having to walk around all of the booths, what path we would be taking, were we really going to spend three hours here, and that sort of thing. After the second hour, we met at the Wurst Wagon and ate. Kevin and I prepped for our final rounds but the girls had finally had enough and went to the car.

When all was said and done, Kevin had his networkable enclosure, some funky mini keyboard (still not sure why he bought that), and a set of cordless phones. I was walking out with a Motorola H500 bluetooth headset ($25) and no hard drive. I almost had the hard drive. The guys I bought my 250GB drive from finally showed up and had one 500GB SATA drive. I paid them $105.00 and went merrily on my way. As we passed another booth, I saw a stack of SATA cables. Since you never know at these things, I checked the box to make sure there were cables inside as advertised and got a shock. There was a cable alright but it was an IDE ribbon cable. Further investigation revealed that the drive inside was also an IDE drive (although, it WAS 500GB). I returned it and got my money back... they seemed as surprised as I was. In the end it all worked out. While I was in Tulsa on Sunday, I dropped into a Circuit City and found a 500GB SATA drive - NIB with shrink wrap and static bag intact - for... $104.99. Adding in Uncle Sam's cut, the drive cost just under $114.00.

As a side note, I plan to set up a dual boot configuration with Vista and XP. I have located the appropriate instructions on the web and it is possible. But that isn't the story I'm telling...

When Kevin and I returned to the car, the girls were curled up in the back seat asleep. They barely stirred when we got in and stayed put when we stopped for breaks or other side trips. As we approached OKC, the Waffle House took a back seat (pun intended) to the need for sleep. Kevin and I were originally planning to drop them off then continue with tradition but he made the mistake of sitting down and fatigue took over. I grabbed a breakfast burrito at Sonic on my way out of town and headed home for my own date with the destiny that is sleep.

The girls were fun to have along this time around but, like the previous trip, their presence somehow hindered the full release of metaphorical shackles and made the experience not quite right. So, from now on, if you want to got to First Sat with Kevin and I, you had better be a die-hard geek and you had better have the stamina to keep up.

As a parting note so there are no hard feelings, Kris, Jen, I love you both. We'll have to do another road trip sometime.

No comments: