09 June 2010


First Movement: Sitting at Juan Pelota, the coffee shop adjacent to/contained within Lance Armstrong's bike shop, Mellow Johnny's. The place is crawling with handsome boys and saucy girls wearing Levis, messy hairdos and pretty tattoos. I've got two cups: one is paper and holds a strong roast with cream, the other is porcelain and holds the remnants of some stick-to-my-ribs oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon. I've had a later start than I expected today, which may have something to do with the steady rain that has fallen since the dark morning hours and kept me from acknowledging the dawn of this last day in Austin. By the way, every single person who walks in this place looks so freaking cool. The style around this town is absurdly great. I feel like I'm back in sixth grade, just dying to fit in.

I'm headed to the train depot on North Lamar this evening and have a few things to do before I board that western train. The Austin Museum of Art on Congress is one of my destinations, as is some more sight-seeing. I've got a good part of the day to my little self and I do wish the rain would cut me some slack, but I'll just remain grateful for the fact that I have a vehicle at my disposal. And why should I be blue? Tacos are in my future.

Second Movement: Tacos were not had, but perhaps the best bowl of ceviche I've ever had was quickly dispensed, along with guacamole that seemed even more pure than an avocado straight from the tree. Thank you, Polvos on South 1st Street. I tried to visit the dude at Roadside Relics, but his door was locked. I don't like locked doors. Not at all. Unless I'm on one side and a rabid dog is on the other side. That's a good kind of locked door. Bought an excellent vintage leather bag for next-to-nothing from a sweet gal named Sarah at Prototype on South Congress. It made my day, pretty much. Mailbag style, utilitarian, adjustable strap. Practically perfect in every way.

Third Movement:
I don't even know where to begin this movement. Wow. It's almost midnight and I'm tucked into my roomette on the Amtrak Superliner car. Funny thing is that we're not yet hooked to any engine car so we'll be sitting on the tracks in misty San Antonio until 5am. I can't wait to feel the lurch of the cars and begin hurtling westward. I aim to rise early and watch the sun come up, preferably from the dining car since dinner did not happen tonight, for reasons it will take me quite a while to write down, so stay tuned. For now, it's nearly time for me to convert this seat into my bed for the night, so just allow me to tell you about the Lovebirds, my traveling companions for today.

Their names are Beverly and Howard and I have two new best friends. They will celebrate their 56th anniversary this Saturday, and are currently traveling to LA to visit their brand new grandson. Howard is a chemical engineer and professor emeritus and knows everything about everything, down to about how ice cream first was invented. He's a funny chap, speaks deliberately, smiles easily, and I'd like to take him home with me. Beverly wears an all navy blue, flowy suit and carries a matching quilted leather purse which Howard keeps telling her she should zip closed. She calls him "papa" and he calls her "Bev." She asked to say hello to my mom on the phone and told her how proud she should be and that she had fallen in love with me and that I am "just the most precious, darling girl." Then she gave me slices of pink Texas grapefruit, homemade oatmeal pecan cookies, one of those individually waxed Babybel Gouda cheese rounds and a stuffed date because I mentioned I was a little hungry. The two met in the mouth of a giant papier mache dragon at the art museum in Fort Worth when she was 26 and he was 33. He said, teary-eyed," we've been so in love ever since."

Now it's goodnight. Cat Power's Dark End Of the Street, a flask of Bulleit, a soft pillow and Blue Highways will sing me to sleep. In the morning light, whizzing terrain. Bring it.