All Roads Lead To Mattress

August 22, 2018 6:32pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 17 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I am concretely towned out. From my concrete balcony of my concrete building I sit and watch the cars travelling along the concrete highway and feel frazzled. I think I should go camping in the countryside to even out the balance.  Or glamping.  I need a nice pillow in order to wake up civil. 

Talking of Road Trips…

Everywhere I go in Texas they are building another road. I don’t know how many roads are needed in America but it seems to be somewhat excessive. I’m baffled as an English person on how roads work over here: You have a highway. Next to that you have a frontage road. Both are going in the same direction because American infrastructure is built in squares. Then you have a flyover, which, just as luck would have it, is also going in the same direction. One might consider taking the road less travelled but there doesn’t seem to be one. I am totally confused. 

The Holy Grail of Endless Retail

I have come to accept that everything in America is in a strip mall which we in England call retail parks. You have tons of these and we have few. Generally, in the UK, everything is huddled in one place in the town and you walk around getting what you want from clothes to shoes to pubs to restaurants, etcetera. In America, you have to find the correct retail park and there is one after another after another. 

“I want to go to Pinto Ranch.”

“It’s in the strip mall”

“We’ve just passed 75 of them…”

“It’s in the 80th.”


Strip malls, I have found, have no rhyme or reason to them. You can have a cafe, a reclining chair shop, a place to get a nice smile, a clothes shop, a fat reducing clinic and so on.  It’s pot luck on what you’re going to find apart from one major mainstay. 

The ubiquitous Mattress shop.


Every single strip mall has one. 


No Sleep For Leaf Blowers

Is leaf blowing a disease?  I think it is. Never in all my days have I seen so many leaf blowers in my life than I have in America. Since I usually come to the States in Spring or Autumn I have accepted that blowing leaves away was somewhat justified given the time of year even if I did find it a little over the top.  However, here I am in the height of summer where every single leaf is stuck to a tree and yet they are out in force.

I marvel at this madness as guys come out daily in competition with their thundering machines, sometimes two in each hand, blowing God knows what away into the abyss. 

I have noticed that the most aggressive blowers seem to be very short Mexicans. They can’t seem to stop.  Maybe we have a Napoleon complex going on here and the rip-roaring growl of the phallic leaf machine gives Mr. Shorty a sense of manly prowess. 


Really? Go and buy a muscle car, mate. Drive it hard and fast along the endless highway and go and treat yourself to a nice mattress. Feel free to take your leaf blower to bed with you, do us all a favour, and knock yourself out. 

Talking of Mind-Numbing Activity…

In pursuit of calming therapy I visited the nail salon for a pedicure and manicure. The first time I went to one of these in Austin, TX, I got raped by the mechanical chair.  Most unfortunately, Fortunately, this didn’t happen again.  The massage chair stopped at my coccyx then took a fast run up my spine like a dodgy rollercoaster to the back of my head and began to beat the crap out of my frazzled brain.

“Errr…can we turn this off before I have an aneurysm?”

“Sure lady, you relax – relax.  Putting feet in water!’

“OW! Water very boiling!”

All nail salons are peculiarly run by Koreans or Chinese and I find myself stupidly adopting the accent when in situ and I don’t know why this is. 

I also sit there listening to them talk to each other and find myself mouthing the words without realising.

“Lady, you say something?”

“Oh! Err… no! haha!  Just errr…practising my face exercises!”

“Where you from? Australia?”

“No, England.”

“Australia very niyyyyce!”

“I’m sure it is.”

“You lika the kangawooo?”

“Yep. Goes great with Yorkshire pudding.”

Don’t you just love peoples listening skills?

“What colour you want?”

“Red”  This is me now being deliberately pedantic because nail salons have at least 456 variations of red.

“Maybe you wanna try somethin’ differennnt.  Maybe the green or sexxxxy blue.”

“I have an aversion to gangrenesque phalanges.  I’ll stick to my Australian class.”

“You very funny. You wanna drink?”

“Sure, what ya got?”

“Sprite (obvs) water, wine – red or white.”

The Brit in me is unable to pass up on free alcohol so I asked for a red wine.  I should have known that this was a mistake because a nail salon is not going to be offering a nice glass of Elvivo Cogno Barolo, but I was tragically exhausted and not thinking straight.

Out she came with a white wine.

“I bring you very special white wine, lady.”

How pleasantly surprised I was to be given something I didn’t want. Not to be rude I took a sip and instantly regretted it. How I inwardly curse my English manners sometimes. Warm, cloying cheap-as-chips wine that wouldn’t even pass a dehydrated urine test. Yum.

“It’s good, yeahhhhh?”

You are a psychopath,  Name me a good Asian wine if you would, missy,  I absolutely frikkin’ hate it and you for giving it to me, Where can I spit this out where it won’t blind anyone? 


Talking of Whimsy…

I have recently been informed that this here blog has been listed in the top ten of Best UK Satire Blogs on the planet.  

Sadly there wasn’t any cash prize, trip to Bora Bora or golden trophy but it’s very nice to be acknowledged after ten years of bleeding snark out onto a keyboard and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me over that time.

I’m only saying that because I now have nice red nails, my teeth are bleached beautifully white from the acid wash at the nail salon and the resident leaf blower is off sick which has put me in a good mood. Count your blessings. 


Leave a reply

You were wise to choose the “Red” rather than the red, red or even the red! 💅

Being included in the “Top Ten” is indeed well-deserved! I’m for drinks all around🍷🍻🍷
…provided of course it’s NOT whatever Kim Jong-mani is passing off as Riesling!
– TC 😎

I went straight for the red, TC, just so we were clear!

Thank you so much! And I appreciate all your support. Happy to buy a round. And not some boxed malarkey that could clean urinals! Just the one, naturally. I find drinks taste so much better if I don’t pay for them ;P

Ah, life in the colonies. Sometimes it just goes like that. I think that if you were to ask, you’d find that the ladies in the nail salons in Houston are all VIETNAMESE. If you were to probe farther, you’d find that they were ethnic Chinese, but their ancestors immigrated to Vietnam on the order of 150 years before the Vietnamese forced them out after the war. (So-called boat people) I suggest this because if you want to upgrade from the (actual) urine in the bottle to genuine wine, you can dazzle them with your knowledge.

And yes, as you suspected, the leaf-blowing Mexicans are actually Hobbits, masquerading as Mexicans.

I love living in the colonies, but since it’s now my second home and given the equivalent amount of time as the UK, I am allowed to point out its madness.

Thank you for the correction, LL, however, I honestly don’t think I’d get past the first sentence and I am absolutely CONVINCED that the wine (I use this term so loosely) would still be nail polish remover.

Need to find myself a Gandalf and a Gollum to sort ’em out. Total menaces.

Life in the metrosprawl! And leaf blowers. You’d think they’d tire of blowing the dust about in 100* heat but no, they love it, sometimes it gets so bad that you can taste the dust. I know this from experience. Are they Hobbits, related to the tiny race of humanlike creatures discovered in Flores and to Marco “Rat Claw” Rubio? Good question.

Congrats on the top blog award!

Indeed. I’m on the road to nowhere, LSP. Or Rouen.

This leaf blowing seems to be a national phenomenon. Someone needs to get Trump to tax them and make it stop. Now I know where the Texan sandstorms come from…

Thank you! 🙂

…forgot to say, get Billing to invoice them.

Obviously concrete trees are needed to stop the manic street blasters. Oh I bet you are longing for a corner urban English shop open all hours. Next time you need your nails doing look for a Spa where you can get the relaxing day you so deserve for being in the top 10

I honestly don’t think that would stop them. It’s an addiction.

I am longing to wander around streets and in a minute countryside – that’s the one thing I miss aside from kettles and my famalam and friends of course. Otherwise, I love it here. Please send a kettle, a glamping tent and a picture of The Dumbles.

Ahhh, thank you! The nail salons are pretty good to be fair. My nails look “Night At The Oscars” good. Just don’t drink the wine. EVER. 🙂

I once bought (and unfortunately actually tasted) a chardonnay grown and vinted in mainland China. You know how the wine critics like to say things like “pale straw yellow, papaya and toasted coconut nose, light American oak, [you get the idea]”? Well this was an astonishing piss yellow: exactly the hue you’d get if you for unclear reasons decided to get caught up on your B-vitamins for the week by taking about 2000% of your “recommended daily allowance” all at once. It was difficult to discern the actual color of the wine in the shop because of a tinted bottle, but what a surprise in the glass. It was overpoweringly oaky (no fruit I could discern) like you wouldn’t believe. I seriously believe they filled a container with wood-chippered oak fragments, poured the wine over it, mechanically agitated for some weeks, then drained/filtered the fluid out from the bottom. This was one of the few wines that I poured down the drain at least 700ml of the standard 750 bottle. Probably violated several EPA regulations, but I was in a Manhattan hotel at the time and figured it could not be traced to my room.

All that begs the question “What wine goes with Chinese?” Well, I’ll tell you that a nice Sonoma zinfandel, or a Willamette pinot go well with THIS Chinese, but if you mean the usual semi-Americanized Chinese food, I vote for a chenin blanc (of all things). In the vein of Chinese and wine, I happened to chat with a retired sommelier-turned-wine-distributor last month, and she confirmed that the “rich Hong Kong Chinese mix their first-growth Bordeaux with orange juice or Coke” thing IS in fact a THING and not just slander. (Yes yes, not all of them; I know a good one; etc etc etc; usual disclaimers apply.) We got on this topic because I’d once had an idea of consulting for higher-end Chinese restaurants to help them generate wine lists that would actually go with the cuisine, rather than a “trophy list” of cabernets and Chateauneuf du Papes but then I had the epiphany that most of their patrons likely cared about the trophy aspect so they could tell their friends that they’d had a bottle of [some hideously expensive “name” wine] and frankly didn’t care whether the wine might complement the food. This ex-wine merchant confirmed that the epiphany was in her experience correct. Sigh.

Leaf blowers. Yes. Annoying, uncivilized and dreadful. Happens year round because they’re not used only for leaves, but rather to police up errant grass clippings and the like.

Hahahaha! Oh my God, Mike, that sounds absolutely disgusting. Maybe that’s what I had?

Well, well, well, you certainly have good taste! Noted* Mike has class…

They do what? Insane. Coke? No. Ugh.

However, I understand the need for trophies. My friend Frank from China will only buy well named branded things just so he looks good! When in England, he always buys Burberry and for some reason Clarks shoes because they are terribly expensive in Xiamen City and seen as the best shoes ever. I find this highly amusing. I once gave him a glass of 20-year-old Tawny Port and told him it was a gentleman’s after dinner drink of taste and class. He now buys it every year to dazzle his guests. He can’t drink it though. One small glass and he goes bright red and says “Earthshake” God love him.

Strip malls are a blot on our landscape. They deserve the harsh name they’ve been given.

If you ask for nail salon wine, you deserve what you get.

Many congrats on your distinction. We knew. We’ve known for quite some time. Tell the rest of the world to catch up, please.

without summertime leafblowers there’d be no Beck. especially no Beck at 1:50:


This was neat: music on the radio and lights in the sky. We were stopped on some freeway watching with
many others. No traffic! Whilst living and working in Bay City which is on Matagorda bay about 60 miles east of Houston.
Enjoy . . .

I can’t imagine the nail salon wine being any worse than a glass of Wa Hee ?!
Congratulations on such well deserved recognition & can’t wait to celebrate in the style we have since become accustomed to upon your return to the land of hope & glory! 🍹
Love you xxx

Whoa, there. Top ten UK satire sources? That is a HUGE honor! A knighthood or Ladyship is surely on the near horizon, and we knew you when you were just a humble but fabulously successful novelist and international fashionista. This calls for breaking out the good Vietnamese sparkling rice wine. Nay, it’s time for that bottle of Dom Perignon that we rescued from our idiot relatives who were going to mix it with Sprite. You deserve the honors and more, Jules. ta santé

You know, leaf blowers in Florida actually are validated in that they blow away the lawn clippings. Since most leaves never fall. And grass grows like its a weed…because it is one. Literally. =)

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