I Went Outside the Beltway and Messed With the Space-time Continuum

Categories: Random Ephemera

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Looks easy enough... or does it?
The offer was somewhat enticing: A brand new Cineplex, the Santikos Palladium AVX, opening May 16, was offering a sneak peek into their wonderful world of entertainment. The theater was not only letting folks immerse themselves into free bowling and snacks, but this new theater would be one of the first in the area to offer D-Box Motion Seats. These motion-activated chairs are the newest way for movie theaters to milk more money out of moviegoers, promising a more interactive experience with seats that "jerk, vibrate and sway" alongside the action of the film.

While the rewards seemed great, the costs were equally aligned. Well, actually there was really only one cost and that was that this theater's public "ribbon-cutting" was in Richmond, TX and that is really, really far away. But alas, I fell for the idea of sitting in a seat that could potentially massage my back while I watched trailers for Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby while eating free Twizzlers.

But more than that, I felt a need to go outside the beltway. As someone who reports on culture in Houston, I know that I am all too loop-centric, and that needed to change. This week.

But I made a huge mistake.

The first telltale sign that the universe did not want me to exit its protective barrier that is the Beltway 8 was something that can only be described as a shit-ton of traffic. I should have you know that I work off hours, and on my favorite days of the week my morning commute involves putting on slippers and walking to my desk. So 610 to 59 to the Westpark Tollway at 5:30 p.m. was something I have never experienced before. It was psychotic to say the least, and I feel deeply for anyone that must do this everyday. I am sorry for you.

Right as traffic started moving, my gaslight turned on. For fear that I would run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, I pulled off at the first gas station I could. This particular Mobil station falls easily into the category of "where the hell am I and please don't die." As I quietly pumped gas, I noticed two gentlemen, out of the corner of my eye, whom I'm quite sure just stepped out of the backwoods of Kentucky; they also shared a 40 out of a plastic bag.

"Siri, where am I?" "I wish I knew, Awesome." (Siri calls me Awesome)

An hour later, I was within close proximity to my destination. "Keep thinking about moving chairs and free popcorn, keep thinking..." but I must have missed a turn somewhere as when I reached a traffic light, all four of the roads that I could potentially turn on had the same name, TC Jester 1, 2, 3 and 4.

And just when I was sure I was back on track, I was in the middle of a farm whose name was literally "Plantation." Had I driven back in time? Or was there a mystical ether trying to tell me something really important like, "turn around right now and go home?"

Obviously I had taken a wrong turn but within ten minutes was rerouted to the Cineplex. However, as my GPS told me I was getting closer and closer, the number of buildings became fewer and farther in between. The area where the movie theater is located is completely undeveloped with "coming soon" signs littered about atop mounds of bulldozed dirt.

All of a sudden it struck me: I was in Hill Valley circa 1955.

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I had defied the laws of the space-time continuum because of crappy mobile chairs and I would get my comeuppance; I sort of already had.

The movie theater is gigantic and still under some construction. The enormous parking lot was filled to the brim primarily with trucks and by the looks of it I may have accidentally stumbled into a Humvee convention; they were everywhere. Didn't we collectively decide that these cars suck the life out of the planet? Perhaps Richmond had not gotten the memo yet.

A line that can only be described, as "ridiculous and I am not waiting on that" wrapped around the complex. I walked up to an usher, who looked exactly like the pimple-faced movie usher on The Simpsons, red bowtie and all, and politely asked him if there was a media list and explained my situation. He told me there was no such list.

"The line is moving really slow because they are only letting in a few people at a time" he told me, "you should just come back tomorrow when we are open for real."

Hmm... no, I won't do that because I live in the future and once you go back to 1985 you can only go forward, or really far back to the Old West. I'm sure I could have made a big stink, but that's obnoxious and by that point I just wanted to get back to the familiarity of the 610 loop where only every other car is a truck and grocery stores aren't all called Walmart.

As I wandered back to my car, which I couldn't find for a good ten minutes, it dawned on me that I may have really come from a different time and space, and perhaps I was put there to tell the people of this distant past how wonderful things were where I came from.

In the future, we have small cars that don't require Iraq amounts of gasoline. We don't wait on line for an hour to get into a movie theater that will open its doors again the following day. And we don't ignore the media because they may write snarky blog posts about your company.

I had learned a valuable lesson and in a sense, I was grateful for my misadventure into the past because the takeaway was paramount: don't go outside the Beltway.

I should mention that after complaining via email, which they do have in Richmond, I got an incredibly nice, apologetic email back and an invitation to return. I can't go back because as you now know it will mess up the entire 2013 timeline, but if you go, please let me know how those moving chairs are.


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122 comments
Suz Warren
Suz Warren

Whet is 99? Seriously. I've never heard that.

skeelon
skeelon

This is one of the most ultimate #WhiteGirlProblem articles I've ever read. The crap in this article is just everyday life. You are a poor planner. Didn't your parents (or anyone for that matter) ever teach you to always fill up with gas BEFORE traveling in and around Houston??? I'm sure I'm not the only one, but usually when I embark on unknown territory I make sure to scout out the area on my map and not just blindly trust a GPS. Also, WHY WOULD YOU TRY TO TRAVEL ANYWHERE AT 5PM? Don't you know theres a shitload of traffic? While preparing, you should always look at your map for shortcut. I don't live ITL, I live in the Spring/Woodlands area but I know plenty of shortcuts in most of the Houston area mainly because I don't like being lost and hate asking for directions. Then again, what else would you expect from a woman. hhaha I kid, I kid.

But seriously, next time (if there is a next time) you decide to travel beyond the loop, be a little more prepared and you'll have a better experience.

txchuck
txchuck

Wow!  I really enjoyed the article and was pretty sure she was poking fun at herself and all of us who see the Loop or Beltway as the "boundary" - pretty much the same way New Yorkers see New Jersey as the end of the world.  (I happen to be happy living outside the Beltway boundary, thank you very much.)  After reading all the snarky comments, I've got to wonder if we Houstonians really are so rigid, literal and humorless.  

larsonvargas
larsonvargas

As a outside-the-loop/inside-the-beltway resident, I find both populations to be unpleasantly condescending in their own special ways. 

Also, living anywhere other than where I live is a massive waste of time.  

houhappy
houhappy

I'm not sure what I find sadder; the fact that she tried to use press credentials at a movie theater grand opening, or that a blogger believes that they should have press credentials.

brisktea
brisktea

she  sounds like she's not very good at life, or maybe doesn't know how to think critically...something is missing for her to be so obviously daft at being able to communicate effectively, especially considering she's a 'writer', or navigate around the city.

I haven't lived in Houston in a decade and I can still get from Humble to Katy to Sharpstown if I needed to.  She sounds like the typical hipster cooler than thou iphone user which she is hopefully parodying; otherwise she sounds like a vapid dolt.

Mark Wilder
Mark Wilder

My inner loop is well inside the inner loop. I need a passport to get to the Galleria.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Reposting this drivel? Someone is starved for attention.

Mark Adams
Mark Adams

It's not the particular geography that separates us, but lifestyle beliefs and perceptions. Is suburbia safe or staid? I have my answer, and so do you. Houston is vast and vibrant enough to let people shake out into the areas they most appreciate—but until you have, don't be afraid to explore.

Jon Bowers
Jon Bowers

What about the great unwashed who live outside 99? I've heard on maps it just says "Here There Be Monsters."

Mary May
Mary May

Lady, you need to get out more! Smh

Ron Soliz
Ron Soliz

Come on these type of stories are getting old.

Teresa Byrne-Dodge
Teresa Byrne-Dodge

Sorry! I've never called anyone an asshole on FB before. And I understand that this article was provocatively written in order to generate clicks and comments. But it's a contemptible journalism model nevertheless.

William Jeffrey Goldberg
William Jeffrey Goldberg

The equivalent of "the dog ate my homework" meant to appeal to her higher ups. Generating lots of comments so the editors are happy. Time to move on.

Edgar Artiga
Edgar Artiga

But it's something you "outies" wouldn't understand.

Edgar Artiga
Edgar Artiga

There's a huge difference living inside loop.

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

Adrienne, you're right. I was pissed off and didn't explain myself well. Morons was not the right thing to say. I just get really tired of hearing things like this, especially considering there's very little difference in living inside or outside the loop other than most things are bigger, newer and cheaper out here. It takes very little time to get downtown, and I find the suggestion that we're a bunch of hicks living in a cultural blackhole to be offensive.

Craig Pitman
Craig Pitman

Couldn't have put it better myself jorge.

Jorge Frank
Jorge Frank

Personally, I thought this was a brilliant comedic work parodying the stereotype of inner-loopers as self-righteous airheaded douchebag hipsters. Unless Ms. Koenig was serious, in which case she's just revealed herself to be a self-righteous airheaded douchebag hipster.

Adrienne Byard
Adrienne Byard

Kathy, you're not making any sort of contribution by calling the "other half" morons. I would never live outside the loop (if I lived in Houston), but that's a personal choice. I also think it's a perfectly normal choice to live in the suburbs.

Kathy Stabe
Kathy Stabe

Oh, no, you had to drive to Richmond? It's so far. Boo freakin' hoo. I live in Katy, in close proximity to about ten grocery stores that are not Wal-Mart. I think people who live inside the loop are utter morons. Why you'd want to pay three times as much for a house that's 300% smaller and 30 years older than mine is beyond me. And all because you don't want to drive 30 minutes when you DO have to go to the city? (Which, if you don't work downtown, isn't often.) Oh, and I can always find a free parking space within 100 feet of my destination out here. Yes, my commute is a little longer, but living in the near suburbs is so worth it.

Suz Warren
Suz Warren

They said the same shit when they broke ground for the Galleria.Er- at least that's what I am told...;)

Benjamin BobaFett LaGrone
Benjamin BobaFett LaGrone

because it was a stupid, poorly written, small-minded article that misrepresents a city that has obviously outgrown the journalist that wrote it.

Ric Messer
Ric Messer

How can anyone claim to be a reporter with this degree of obvious bias? And ill-prepared, too.

Kristen Kimira Scott
Kristen Kimira Scott

The thing about this article is that she basically told everyone how much of an idiot she is without realizing it until the comments came. She let us know that she can't survive without a GPS, doesn't plan for traffic, can't find her car, and in the end did not experience what she drove down there for. Yet it's not her fault. Perhaps she should try again and not write another article until she completes the task at hand. This is a complete mockery of journalism and for this rubbish she could do community service outside the beltway.

K.C. Taffinder
K.C. Taffinder

This was poorly written. Stay in your small box !

Teresa Byrne-Dodge
Teresa Byrne-Dodge

Yeah, I live inside the Loop, too. in deepest, darkest Montrose. And I don't love driving to Katy or The Woodlands or Missouri City. But I'm sorry to say that this writer sounds like a miserable asshole. Good grief. This is journalism?

taffinder
taffinder

This was poorly written - get a life or stay in your small box.

Robert Whitley
Robert Whitley

Anyone who refers to outside the loop as outside the loop, should have a loop tied around their neck. Goes to show stupid is everywhere, just like prejudice.

nokutanluna
nokutanluna

Life outside the beltway is dull. #citylife

Ted Dimitry
Ted Dimitry

As one who grew up "outside the Loop" I had never heard of that intensely elitist distinction until I had moved back after graduating from college. Having lived here since I was 2 years old, I have always felt the distinction artificial, small-minded and superficial. Articles like this perpetuate the "I'm an Inner Looper and therefore I'm better than you" attitude, all because they built a freeway in a circle a long, long time ago. In a city with a culture of growth and acceptance like ours, this crap comes across as pure drivel (albeit funny to those who find their completely manufactured elitism), this kind of article is deliberately antagonistic and should have been striken as irresponsible journalism by the HP's editors.... No, I don't live in Richmond nor do I live anywhere nearby. I've lived in Montrose, I've lived in Bellaire (the "Inner Looper" part). I've lived in unincorporated Harris County inside Beltway 8 (NW side - near Jersey Village). Some people suck in each and all of those areas; more people are cool... Or, at least, decent human beings worthy of respect. The author of this artilce needs to realize that this is not New York, Los Angeles or (even) Dallas. Take your elitism somewhere else.... It doesn't really belong here.

Albert Vasquez
Albert Vasquez

Walmart will now have a sale on butt band-aids for all the hurt.

Jon Bowers
Jon Bowers

How bout we all just live where we want to and not be so thin skinned that you can't take a joke.* *said from my home in Katy** **actually cinco ranch, the inner-loop of outer-loop Katy*** ***not like the barbarians in other parts of Katy

Jinny Patterson McCormick
Jinny Patterson McCormick

My favorite comment: "You forgot to mention the really cool thing that also happened. While you were there, no one judged you, ridiculed you or talked down to you because you are different from them."

Jeff Gilmer
Jeff Gilmer

Patience is a virtue... I guess only outside the loop though.

Robert Whitley
Robert Whitley

Wow what a joke of an article. Reality is, she needs to leave the city permanently.

Kevin Gee
Kevin Gee

she should be receiving the pink slip in the morning. Those moving stadium chairs would annoy the hell out me after awhile.

Adrienne Byard
Adrienne Byard

Yeah, people had strong opinions because she sounds like a total bitch.

Greg Feczko
Greg Feczko

typical inside the looper. Stay the hell inside. You obviously can't handle reality!

Hugh Bishop
Hugh Bishop

That's cool. She can stay inside the Belt. That means less traffic for the rest of us. Pretentious driving causes road rage incidents.

Heather Mia Says
Heather Mia Says

I love how people in the city call themselves tolerant, unless it comes to anyone who lives somewhere outside of the loop. This article would have been funny to me when I was 20. And on Livejournal.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Or, you could, you know, get back to work.

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