Land Of The Roughnecks

Let’s go ahead and assess this damage.

Left foot meets right foot and I bow forward. Already I feel a pull in my lower back. Continue to weigh my torso so that my arms sink along the side of my legs, hands planting onto the floor. Definitely a strain. One more measure: bend the elbows to sink deep into the back leg stretch, ass high in the air. I freeze at the sensation of a red hot poker blade dragging itself from top of thigh to the center of my lower back.

That’s not a strain, ladies and gentleman, that’s a muscle tear.

With that I lower to the ground, fan my legs, and extend a stretch to the right then gingerly to the left. The damage is officially from the right waist to the back of the right ankle. I’m an expert at fucking up my body.

I harness Bobby to include Bear’s Texas A&M dog tag (to signal we’re friendlies in the OSU/OU territory) and with bottled water in hand, we head down the street.

Middle America is quiet at 11:13 am CST. Cloudy and breezy, a welcome after a bitch of a heat wave over the weekend. The neighborhood I’m staying in is quaint, provencal, and proudly maintained. Every house a little story, every yard an expression of self-worth. The large diesel commercial trucks parked in the driveways likely cost more than the houses. I imagine the person who drives that truck to work is enjoying a few days, maybe hours, of respite before he takes off, back to the fields.

What are the wives of roughnecks like? By garden alone, you can tell she’s a proud Oklahoma woman, growing rosemary, sage, cactus, purple-tipped sawgrass. Nothing exotic; a botanical expression of Midwest culture – familiar, comfortable, native. As we continue down the street I note the various license plates representing nations: Cherokee. Choctaw. Osage. Texas.

A man in a wide-brimmed straw hat driving a black beat up F-150 offers us a wave of greeting as we turn down on 25th street. Bobby’s being serenaded by the local dog community, all stir-crazy that the little black boy bops freely down the middle of the street while they tug helplessly on their chains.

My skin warms as the approaching noon sun lifts centerward, and I start to feel my hip slip. Now I’m very concentrated on the intensity of this injury: the tear in the muscle interferes with my ability to comfortably propel forward; it feels as if my hip is slipping out of position. The spirit is always willing, but today, we’ll cut this walk short.

Bob and I turn up onto the main road back to our street and we are eyed by a very bothered, obese Jack Russell terrier. She frightens me as she tears across the busy street to defend her home from an unsuspecting Bobby. She nipped at him lightly, but Bob took it as a greeting, wagging his tail with delight. Her owner soon recovered her and we had a short but comforting exchange – all is fine, Bobby’s fine, I hope she’s okay.

We are welcomed back to our street by a cacophony of curious dogs, and I enjoy watching Roberto Tiberius promenade down the center of the street, panting towards his subjects, one black paw after another trotting towards his familiar truck and house.

Meanwhile, I actualize the severity of my damage and decide to stay here in the land of the roughnecks until I’m fully healed.

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