Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I found out recently that my friend ND would be coming in town from Hawaii for Spring Break. Separated from "the mainland" for many most of the year as a high school teacher and Master's student, she always prepares us with her List of what she wishes to do when she comes home. This time, she wanted a trip to Austin. MK and I, both needing a break and to get out of Dallas for a few days, got on board with the idea.
I met MK at her house, in windy, un-March and un-Texas-like 50-degree weather, we hopped into the HOV lane, mocking all of the solitary drivers as we easily bypassed 45 minutes of traffic and got to cruising South of Dallas on I-35. I got in trouble multiple times for yawning, especially since ND had big plans for us when we got into town.
MK and I have brothers who are friends and both seniors at UT. They were busy gearing up for Round-Up Weekend, which invites unsuspecting high school seniors to come and enjoy Greek Life, and staying with them would never be an option even on a regular weekend. Not to worry.
No, even better, ND has a lot of family in Austin, and her cousin gave her the go-ahead to have us stay at his house. From everything we heard of him before we got down to Austin, MK and I had a formed perception before we even met. 31-years-old, lawyer, divorced, manages a band, owns another business in Austin and San Antonio, expects ND to go to law school and eventually marry his best friend, etc.
He was back in his room when we got to his house, arguing with his girlfriend to try and understand that it was no big deal to have three 24-year-old girls staying with him all weekend. Since ND had been there all afternoon, she gave us a brief tour. I gathered a lot from the fancy car in the garage, the Burberry headcovers on his golf clubs, the fact that there was an endless supply of Gatorade, Myoplex, Coke Zero, Bacardi rum and butter in his fridge, and the two tiny Maltese puppies named Lexi and Slash, who MK called Slingblade and Machete all weekend.
We changed clothes, met M, our host, and headed to the Domain to grab a late dinner. One great thing about Austin is that being a vegetarian is really trendy and cool, so our waiters all weekend thought that I too was trendy and cool. ND was in the mood to go out, which is usually the absolute last thing I want to do on a Friday night, but we had the promise of the bars on West Sixth Street being a good time for "people our age" meaning not the crowd on the main part of Sixth Street (where people go out in Austin when they are in college or our for bachelor/ bachelorette parties). We stayed at a bar called The Ranch (hi, we live in Texas) all night. M was hanging out with his friend K, a grad student, and we all went back to his house and recapped the night as M and K made us Velveeta Shells & Cheese while lecturing us on the grave mistake of allowing guys wearing New Balance sneakers to talk to us. Literally.
At one point, while the water was boiling around the 3 a.m. mark, I was sitting on a barstool and felt someone start running their fingers through my now very-long hair. My friends are kind of touchy like that, so I didn't think anything of it until I glanced to my right at MK, who was sitting right next to me, and saw that no, she was not the one with her fingers in my hair. I looked slowly left to see that yes, it was M playing with my locks. "Nice- very soft" he said. At that point social norms had escaped us all, so I didn't bat an eye and replied "thanks, it's the Biosilk."
We did not wake up until 11 a.m. on Saturday, which is hugely lazy for the three of us and our normal routines, but it was nice to get sleep finally. We ate lunch at El Arroyo, and five minutes after ordering lunch, we stopped eating chips and salsa mid-bite to notice the huge tray of brunch migas and tacos the table next to us had ordered. Immediate order envy ensued.
We shopped along South Congress for most of the afternoon in picture perfect weather, weaving in and out of stores and lingering in front of the Hey Cupcake stand which offered perfection in the form of a carrot and cream cheese combination.
After four we got in the car and ended up at the Four Seasons next to the lake. MK and ND ordered glasses of chardonnay and I was in a different mood so I opted for champagne. We sat on a bench in the shade, trying to will a nearby couple out of their hammock with our minds. It was a failure. There were guests arriving for an outdoor wedding, and ten minutes before it started a hairy, shirtless man who had just finished an afternoon run decided to pause and stretch right next to the wedding altar. As we were all thinking you've got to be kidding, how clueless can you be? a Four Seasons employee asked him to move. Where did Stretch Armstrong decide to move? Directly in front of us. Pure entertainment.
After watching the beginning of the wedding to see the bride's dress, we left to drive out to the Oasis and have a margarita at sunset. We stayed a half hour or so after grabbing drinks, staring at the sun falling down over the lake and not saying much, which is something you're comfortable doing when you have known each other as long as we have. We went home and got ready to go out, and MK was out of the shower and sitting on the couch watching Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist when M and his girlfriend came home from dinner. We really weren't helping his cause at that point. We left and did not go home until six on Sunday morning. There was a ride in a petty cab in the middle of that somewhere. On the drive home Sunday, MK and I agreed that it was a great weekend, but I was thankful that we do not typically keep such hours.
Shells and cheese were waiting for us in the fridge, nicely packed in Gladware, when we returned.
"So we were southbound 35,
We were headed down the road,
Hit the border by the morning,
Let Texas fill my soul..."
-Pat Green, Southbound 35