In 2000, Natasha and I visited Austin and had an absolutely fantastic time, even though Natasha was nearly killed by a taxi.
We were students and on an extremely tight budget which forced us to stay at the Motel 6, off the highway. When our first room’s air conditioning unit broke, the staff indicated that the only room available with a functioning a/c had a queen-sized bed in it, and hesitated before asking if we were interested.
Tash and I had no qualms about sharing a bed; as best friends do, we had shared a bed at different sleep-overs since the age of 15. We said yes, and the facial reaction we received made it appear as though we were the Antichrist and his boyfriend, since, clearly, the woman at the Motel 6 believed that we were “gay” (quotes here necessary indeed).
Lucky we didn’t get shot, or accidentally drowned in the Motel 6 pool which sat on the edge of the highway, delineated by the chain-link fence. Klassy.
We couldn’t afford more than two taxi rides into the downtown core and so I paid for one and Tash paid for the second.
We survived on one large jamba juice each, so as to not die of dehydration, and one meal a day so as not to die of starvation.
It was one of the most fun and hilarious trips ever.
And as with my most recent trip, it was also one riddled with the kindest people you’ll meet anywhere in the world.
This time around, my trip to Austin was a surprise even to myself. Having originally planned on going to California to see both Kitty and Mozer, I changed my plans at the last minute and decided to head out to Austin instead.
The one thing I did know, in terms of location, was that I needed to be somewhere hot and humid and away. For those of you familiar with my nomadic ways, I become extremely agitated and anxious should I stay in one spot for too long. And my “too long” is extremely short compared to that of the normal individual’s. (Possibly worse still is that until I am physically seated on an airplane, I tend to change my ticket several times over both in terms of time and location, an annoying habit even to myself.)
Unexpectedly, this trip was cathartic on all levels – I hadn’t realised how much I needed to have my faith restored in people until I met the kind of people who restored one’s faith. I left Austin feeling completely regenerated and safe, which may seem an odd word, but is the most honest one to use.
Every single person I met there restored my faith a little bit…or a lot.
They are good people, kind people, gentle and generous people, none of whom is chocolate-cover-spoiled in bitterness, which is the variety of people I have run into most recently and from whom I needed to recover. Interestingly, I had been feeling this way behind my own back; discovering this only when I met the opposite in Austin.
People who, as adults, were capable of being openly and honestly vulnerable and kind.
It was a lot to swallow in a short 6 days, but it is amazing how quickly the human heart opens itself up when it’s surrounded by like-minded kindness and grace.
I close with a very short little list of Texanese for your learning pleasure:
The Devil’s Vinegar = Usually a “shot” of liquor which has the distinct flavour of bitter sh*t. (Courtesy of Austin Lisa, who nearly decked Jay.Dub when he offered her a shot of The Devil’s Vinegar.)
Used to could (pronounced: uset’a’kud) = I used to be able to…
Right Quick = Immediately
Fixin’ to = About to…
Git = Get
the f*ck out of here right quick or I’ll shoot yer a** with my beebee gun
(Thank you, Austin.)