Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fun in Austin

See, this post was actually supposed to be the conclusion of my travels in Europe. The London program, traveling to Edinburgh and Barcelona. But I had been in America for a mere week and a half. And then Hurrican Katrina hit, so I had to temporarily relocate to Austin. At some point I'll write about my hurrican experiences, but right now it's still too fresh. But I will share all the joys of my new home.

Weekend 1: Austin – it's not just for hippies anymore

There's this chain of theaters in Austin called the Alamo Drafthouses. They're neat: they show arty movies, not so arty movies, plus serve food and booze, which is a winning combination as far as I'm concerned. As D and I were approaching a mental breakdown, we decide to go see "The 40 year old Virgin" for a laugh. Since we are living like Mongolian camel herders, i.e. we have no internet and don't know the local moviefone number, we decided to just roll up to the theater.

As it turns out, we have about an hour to kill before movie time so we stroll around this little shopping center, and windowshop for all the hippie goodies. There's an antique store full of 60's kitsch and even though it is closed, I swear I can smell the mustiness and mildew through the locked door. Then there's the vintage clothing store complete with garishly dressed mannequins, the alternative granola no-cell-phone-book store filled with self-help/actualization books, crystals, and a bunch of shit that looks like it was stolen from an Indiana Jones movie. There's also the "Alien" scooter store (that's its actual name) that has blow-up aliens posed on scooters, and last but not least, the yoga center.

And surprise surprise, even though it's like 9pm on a Friday night there's a huge line in front of the Yoga center. D and I walk by, and I'm thinking some yogi has been gunned down or something, but no --people are just inexplicably milling about with pillows. Then one hippie guy smiles at D and says "Would you like to join us?". He hands her a leaflet that says "good for one free hour of chanting and meditation." That's right, these guys are here on a Friday night, of their own free will mind you, to chant. FOR AN HOUR.

Half of me wants to see this in action, or better yet to film it in action so that I can watch it later for my own amusement or put it on the tv for background at parties, but the other half of me realizes how painful this would be to actually sit there for an hour in the flesh surrounded by chanting hippies. And in a moment that will make me love her forever, D says "Oh thank you, but we can't – we don't have our own chanting pillows" and hands the man back the leaflet. I was so impressed that she could politely decline the invitation "on his level."

It later occurs to me that we might have missed the boat. Aren't the guys chanting on a Friday night the guys who have tantric sex and have 8 hour orgasms like Sting? Don't play like you don't know what I'm talking about: .We discuss the merits of an 8 hour orgasm, but finally conclude that it's just not worth it – because that would mean actually sleeping with those guys who I didn't want to even chant with, much less touch. Ick. And really, if there was to be chanting accompanying the sex, I really think that would be such a turn-off.

And yet hippies are drawn to us, or at least to D, like Italians were to me this summer. On another evening, we go to this bookstore called "Bookpeople" – again without constant media in our lives, D and I are having to resort to books for relaxation therapy. We make our selections and head to pay out and D slaps down her credit card before this balding hippie dude with a ponytail. He reads the name on her credit card and says "Oh wow, what does your name mean?" D explains that her name means "Mother Earth", and then he starts in about his Buddhist temple has some ritual about earth mother and it sounds like her name…and at this point all I can hear is white noise in my head -- it sounds a little like someone eating a bowl of grape nuts – and I look at them, and have an almost out of body experience as I realize I am completely unable to process their words.

After a bit I finally say "Wow, well my name means petrified tree sap, so do you think I can get this book or what?"

Weekend 2: Who cares about the Carries of the world? I ain't sayin she a gold digger…

So D and I bought a TV – my friends floated me some emergency replace-your-stuff-cash complete with Target gift certificates, which makes them excellent friends indeed. We have been intending to get cable so that we know what the hell is going on in the world, or really just NOLA, but life keeps gets getting in the way. So we have been forced to view the remnants of Pant's hope chest – that's right, season 4 through 6 of Sex and the City.

And you know what? Carrie is a bitch! I'm sorry, but she so is. She totally fucks over that guy from Northern Exposure with the uglier guy from Law and Order. She so doesn't deserve Northern Exposure guy! There is this episode where she goes to the country… oh never mind. Long story short, these bitches are invading my life. D and I talk about them like real people, because none of you guys are around for us to talk about it. These are our substitute friends -- we have been reduced to a sad, sad state of affairs.

Case in point, D and I went out on Saturday night to this great place called The Red Fez. And we got pretty tanked, and it felt good. And the music was really good. So much so that D convinced me, aka "the whiteness," to dance. So we danced. Also, a dude slapped me on the ass while we were dancing, but I digress. So we're dancing, and it's crowded and somebody shoves into me and APPARENTLY I stepped on this blond girl behind me (which I didn't feel) 'cause the next thing I know I\'m being shoved forward. I turn around and this girl is looking so pissed and then she stalks off the dance floor, sits at a booth like 2 feet from me, glares and cries. She totally ruined a perfectly good buzz.

Meanwhile, D is shakin' like she just don't care and wondering what I have against that new Kanye West "Golddigger" song.", But there is nothing wrong with the song, and I point out killjoy to my right and explain the scenario, gesturing with gin and tonic in hand. She nods knowingly and says "What is it with these Carries?"

And she's right. I mean, come on! Haven't we all suffered a dance floor casualty or two? I have been burned with cigarettes, stepped on, clawed, spilled on, walked in on the bathroom by drag queens, and been the victim of a drunken grind on more than one occasion (by far the most offensive contact of all), but this is the sort of risk you assume when you go out -- this is all part of the adventure. But this girl actually had to go pout! I hope her boyfriend breaks up with her. Honestly, if she'd been more normal, I'd have bought her a drink in apology. But I refuse to reward such childish behavior. In retrospect, it would have been really funny if I'd gone over to the booth, pretended I didn't see the girl, and then sat on her.

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