Yesterday I bought my first car.

That's not entirely true; I have bought several cars, but they have always been used cars and there was never much of a "process." This time I went through test driving several cars, figuring out a budget, going over my budget, negotiating with asshole salespeople, poring over invoices and rates and invoice prices. I was asked, "What will it take to sell you this car today," more times than I would like to remember. I repeated "I'm going to think about it" like a comforting, yet insulting mantra. I would nearly spit when I would see the "hard-ass" sales manager making sure I saw him violently shaking his head when the salesman tried to "see what he could do." I could feel myself slipping towards the depths of self-doubt, but I stood my ground.

Yesterday, I reached the peaceful point of resignation where I got the car I wanted at the price I wanted. Hands were shook, papers were signed, and I triumphantly walked out of the dealership as they pulled the car around after detailing it. A brand new silver Infinti G35 sport coupe glimmered with the possibilities that lay in the undulating country roads of Jackson, MS. I could almost feel the surge of 280 horsepower at my command waiting for the second where the roads opened up and the full power of my steed could be unleashed upon the rural landscape. The wild pioneering spirit of the prehistoric natives that laid this untamed land bare surged through my engorged...

"Mind if I drive?" asked Tim, the sales lackey who pulled the car out of the detailing bay.

"Sure..." Tim was supposed to give me a credit slip at the nearby gas station to get the car filled up with the high octane fuel a performance car deserves. He also said it would give him an opportunity to highlight some of the features of the car that I might not have known about. Whatever. As we pulled onto the road, I was able to enjoy being driven around in my new car. It was a beautiful day and I was content. After we gassed her up, I was more than ready to get back to the dealership so that I could drive it myself. Tim bragged about how he had gotten one of the coupes up to 140 on the highway. He was showing me the best way to shift the car up from a stop when he slowed to avoid a log that was in the middle of the road. Time was standing still.


My mood took a drastic turn. I was OK. Tim was OK. Billy, the pimple-faced 16 year old who totaled my new car was OK. I guess, as they say, that is all that really matters. When it came down to it, the fact that Tim was driving saved me from assuming responsibility for the car. I called the deal off that I had sealed not 10 MINUTES earlier. I walked out of the dealership, shaken to the bone and pissed off, but I was assured that I didn't have any responsibility for the car after getting my check back and watching them shred the contracts. My initial exhilaration turned to horror, then dread, then exhaustion. As I climbed into the Jeep, I put my head down on the steering wheel and closed my eyes. I pretended that I was waking up from the nightmare that had been the last 1/2 hour.

"Trey! (running) I just heard about what happened. So sorry about that man. I guess you are in the market for a new car again. What can I do to put you in a new car today?"
link to this post   11:10 AM by Trey | (2)
I think it is inevitable that at some point in the near future, I will attempt a hardcore/punk version of Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

Life in Jackson is sweet. I split my time between working at the "Command Center," my hotel room, and driving around town imagining all the cool bars that don't exist.
link to this post   8:58 AM by Trey | (1)
Ch-ch-ch-changes. Turn and face the strain...

After the successful rescue of the pets, other priorities have suddenly become relevant. I drove into Jackson last night to find a shitty hotel room and a rental car waiting for me. I will be in this state for at least 2 weeks. I am at work right now in the company command center (on a Saturday, HA!).

They want me to stay in Jackson for 6 months. If I stay here, they pay my rent for my apartment, as well as my expenses. I have the option of telecommuting from a different city. I'm not sure what I am going to do for now. I am taking suggestions.

I find myself thinking of my friends almost constantly. I assure you, if you have sent me email or gotten in touch with me in any way, it has meant a lot to me. I haven't had consistent net access for over a week, but I do now. I suspect I will now have time (too much of it) to respond to email and call people.

Just gonna have to be a different man.
Time may change me, but I can't trace time.
link to this post   11:57 AM by Trey | (3)
Operation Tail Feather:

We left the house in Missouri around 7pm on Monday afternoon. The plan was to get into Jefferson as soon as the Feds opened the flood gates and try to sneak into the city by whatever means necessary.

After driving about 8 hours, we hit Jackson and tried to get some fuel. Apparently the entire state is under some 12am curfew, including all the gas stations. We could either wait until 6am when the stations opened or keep driving and hope that we hit something along the way. With a half tank, we forged on, driving into the complete darkness of I-55.

In McComb we finally found a place that was selling gas. We picked up enough to fill up the tank and one of the extra cans we brought with the $50 that we were allotted. The other patrons looked considerably more prepared than we were. Almost everyone else had a trailer with 5-10 spare 5 gallon tanks of gas. The stories I heard while waiting in line made me paranoid.

"They closed I-55 after Ponchatoula. You have to drive to Baton Rouge and get on Highway 90 there."

"They closed Highway 90. You have to take Airline Highway."

"They closed Airline Highway. There is no way into the city."

Every time I mentioned that I was trying to get into New Orleans itself, I was met with incredulity or deep belly laughs.

When we reached the Ponchatoula split, the traffic came to a stand still. With 50 miles left to get to the city, I thought that traffic was backing up here. I came so close to turning around, but I kept thinking of starving kittens and birds and how much they needed me. That made it easier.

After moving by the inch for 45 minutes, we were waved through and continued almost unhindered onto Airline Highway. I started to see the destruction here. At the Causeway/Airline intersection, as I rode up the ramp, I could see the expanse of the road flooded straight into the city. My companion was taking pictures, but my mission was clear, so I wasn't rubbernecking.

At the entrance into Uptown, there was a checkpoint with heavily armed guards. I knew this was the crucial moment. I'd though of what to say, how I should say it, etc. When it came to it, I decided to lie through my teeth. I flashed my Entergy badge and told them I was doing "storm restoration support." It worked like a charm.

The only scary moment was entering Beth's condo to get Tyler. We were armed with handguns, but there were fences to scale, and we had to get onto the second floor somehow to get into the building. Once we got up there, there was a dark stairwell to the fifth floor with what looked like blood in puddles. It smelled horrible.

Opening the door the the condo, I found Tyler were I left him, intact and alive. That moment made the 30 hour odyssey worthwhile.
link to this post   11:27 AM by Trey | (0)
Today begins the first stage of Operation Tail Feather. Objective: Drive to New Orleans, enter through Jefferson Parish, gain road access to Orleans Parish, rescue the birds, and get out.

I appreciate your concern, but don't try to stop me.
link to this post   11:07 AM by Trey | (0)
To all concerned:

I evacuated Sunday night to escape the destruction of the hurricane. I stayed in Jackson, MS for three nights until the power and water situation became uncomfortable. I will be in Lebanon, MO until further notice. I have been in touch with my mother and sisters. My father and grandparents are stuck in New Orleans. I think they are safe. I can best be reached by email ( or by phone (417) 532-6585. If you decide to text message me, include your name (my phone doesn't tell me who the message is coming from) and a line where I can contact you.

My long term plans include getting back into New Orleans as soon as possible to try to rescue my pets, which I left at my apartment. After that I will be looking for employment in the computer industry, either in New York or San Francisco.

link to this post   1:31 PM by Trey | (3)