Feeling the Cold Shoulder

Thursday, January 12, 2012 Road Junkies 0 Comments

To Big Bend and Back, Day 8 

TEXARKANA, Texas—  An Arctic front blasted through Texarkana today, buffeting us all day with icy winds.  But the wind chill in the low 20s wasn't the only cold feeling we have been experiencing in Texarkana.


In the process of ordering lunch today at the local Longhorn Steakhouse, I asked the server whether the rice pilaf was cooked with meat.  "I have no idea," she replied, and continued to stand there waiting for me to order.  She did comply when I asked her to burden herself with the chore of walking to the kitchen to obtain the answer to my question.  Subsequently, she failed to submit our order to the kitchen.  When we finally asked another employee to find her so we could inquire where our food was, she blamed the delay on the kitchen.  "So many orders..." though the restaurant was about two-thirds empty.  We were feeling the cold shoulder.

Last night we ate dinner at the bar at the busy Carino's restaurant.  Every customer at the bar, including us, had to make a special request of the server to acquire silverware to eat with.  When our entrees were served before our salads arrived, the server tried to convince us that it was our own fault because we had told him we didn't want salad.  Uh, no.  We definitely ordered specific salads when he prompted us to do so.  No warm feeling there.

Talk to the phone.  Even the hand isn't listening.
At the Fairfield Inn where we are staying, the front desk sports a permanent sign informing guests that the desk clerk has stepped away from the desk.  Guests are expected to use the telephone next to the sign to summon the desk clerk from his Facebook socializing or whatever other critical matter is taking him away from the inconvenient chore of dealing with guests.  Welcome!

Our letterboxing efforts here fit right in with this pattern.  At the first park we went to, the letterbox was missing.  At the second, we found the entrance to the park blocked, the road behind it torn up, and a sign indicating that the park was closed until March.

Black lines indicate the directions in the clue

Our day ended with the coldest shoulder of all.  The clues for a letterbox we were searching for were deliberately misleading, taking us in the opposite direction of the location of the box.  Find the large sign, the planter instructed, and the box is at the base.  Then very specific directions were given which led us away from the correct place.  Maybe it's an inside joke among the locals, who all know where the sign is.  Not too amusing for visitors.

In every place we've visited here, the culture of courtesy has been hidden.  While we realize our experiences are random and insignificant in number, there has been enough consistency to make us wonder why the town works so hard to promote itself as a great place to visit when the people really don't seem to care.

Someone forgot to tell the locals.
DAILY STATS:
  • Started in Texarkana, TX; ended in Texarkana, TX
  • Weather:  Sunny, high winds      28° to 37°
  • Miles driven: 91          (Trip total:  1,316)
  • States: 2 (TX, AR)          (Trip total:  5)
  • Letterboxes found:  2         (Trip total:  29)
  • People who welcomed us warmly to Texarkana:  0