Mesilla, NM to Austin, TX–Friday, September 8
We hit a place called the Bean on the way out of town to get coffee; it’s nice to find some good coffee that’s not Starbuck’s. After El Paso, there’s just nothing. I’ve only driven this long with no signs of life once before—through central British Columbia.
After we cross the Texas state line, Nick turns to me and says, “It’s weird, but I keep feeling the urge to ‘mess’ with this place.”
We’re getting really loopy and stupid, having had no privacy for over a week now. While I’m air drumming to The Creation, Nick starts laughing. “What?” I say. He says, “You just stopped mid drumming and started flexing your biceps.”
As I’m getting spotty phone reception I get a call from my editor at the Tribune. Through the static, I gather she wants to know where my column is. I’m baffled. “It’s due Thursday.” I say. Long Pause. “No, it was due yesterday,” she says. My heart freezes. I hang up and start hyperventilating. Nick pulls over in Ozona, so I can gather my thoughts. I put my head in my hands and try to cry—this is terrible–but I can’t.
I started rifling through the car looking for the press releases I need. Every call I make is dropped. Finally, I just stare, catatonic, like the guy in Ferris Bueller when his dads car gets trashed.
When I regain consciousness, I notice we’re in front of the town square. There’s a sign for the David Crockett memorial, and a strange couple are walking a pair of leashed cats in front of a statue of Mr. Crockett. Nick wants to go ask the Crockett Museum what the difference is between Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone, if it’s like Sasquatch versus Bigfoot, but decides to go photograph the town gunsmith instead. I stew in my misery.
We roll into Austin around 9 o’clock and are presented our digs for the next few days. The huge upper floor of a gorgeous, historic house. Score.
We get sent to barbeque joint down the road—brisket and greens. Delicious. Then we go to lodge in the trees, called the Spider House. Lots of kids are drinking mochas. I keep trying to take a photo of the sign, which looks like 60s Disneyland, but it’s all blurry.
Later we go to a bar. Everyone there—friends of friends mostly–is partying, really warm and welcoming. We sit at a giant picnic table in the open air. At three AM, we get tacos al pastor. We go to bed full and happy–I’ve managed to temporarily forget how completely screwed I am.