Saturday, May 25, 2013

Greetings From Fresno

Traveling is not really about seeing places. It's about surrounding yourself with new people. I bring this up to explain why I'm in Fresno, I town a find largely disagreeable. Normally you'll only get me to stop here because I'm driving to Santa Cruz or Sacramento, and Fresno is closest when I realize that I'm hungry. It's not that bad I guess, for a city whose economy is based on hookers and raisin cultivation.

But as I said, I'm here anyway. My girlfriend is a competitive West Coast Swing dancer. Actually I should be more specific; she competes in the West Coast Swing, Waltz, Nightclub and Cha-Cha categories. What does this mean to outsiders like me? Nothing. But I'll tell you what it does mean - the Fresno Radisson is crawlin' with dance obsessives. Strangely,  they're not any more attractive than a typical bunch of hotel guests. There are plenty of old, fat people. But they're really active for old fat people. They're optimized.

Since I don't dance, I don't belong here. So it's a little awkward around happy hour, when everybody wonders why they haven't seen me in the ballroom with a number pinned to the small of my back or they think they did see me but they can't quite remember when. But once we get past the realization that there is a normal in their midst, we all have a hearty laugh and enjoy a bowl of chex mix.

And it's a good thing we all get along because I'm increasingly realizing that this Radisson is an oasis in the middle of a hellish desert of Fresnoness. It's either this lobby or nothin' for the whole weekend.

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