Airports are boring as hell. Seriously. I don’t care if the endless banks of televisions tell me over and over again that there is ‘so much more than waiting at the airport’. You’re wrong. I had to get to the airport early, so my wait consisted of a double vodka tonic (only two dollars more! she says to me as though that’s some sweet deal) and airport nachos. Yeah, you read that right, I sat in the airport bar (which you can not smoke in) and drank a double vodka tonic and ate shitty nachos.
At the gate I obsessively played ‘Dope Wars’, restarting the game when I realized cocaine or ecstasy was not available in that round. Is seemed wrong, in these days of heightened awareness and security to be sitting at the airport gate playing a game in which you pretend to be a drug lord. BTW, I always want coke and e in my games because they have the best price fluctuations allowing me to quickly turn a profit.
The flights were uneventful. We flew by a massive storm in the middle of the country, fascinating to watch.
I didn’t recognize him when I came down the escalator. The last time I saw him he was too skinny, shaved head, quiet, almost unhealthy. The Ethan that greeted me was radiant and healthy. He was happy, you could see it coming out of him. We blocked escalator traffic with our hug. It takes a while to assimilate the person in front of you with the voice you hear on the phone almost daily.
We went on a tour of Austin, I got to see the capitol, the bridge where pedestrians get hit by cars yet refuse to use the special bridge built just for them, ‘Punta Caliente’ – the hottest titty bar on the airport strip, the University of Texas (where Ethan works). Back to his place to drop off my stuff and make plans for the evening.
Have I mentioned how great it is to hang out with Ethan? It took about 32 seconds, then we were back into our comfortable groove. We have our private jokes, our history, our intense knowledge of each other. I don’t know anyone with such an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of my head.
I got to meet the ‘kids’, Cole the beautiful husky, and Boris and Ivan the twin black cats, brothers but completely different personalities.
Off to dinner, the chicken fried steak of the gods!! We picked up Sara for dinner. What a wonderful and beautiful person, what a treat to meet the lady Ethan talks about with such joy and love. Sara was just a doll, I hope I get to spend more time with her this weekend.
The chicken fried steak was everything the gods had meant it to be, including servings way to big for mortal man!
Later that evening Ethan and I went to meet some friends of his at a downtown bar. I love meeting my friend’s friends and watching them interact. Ethan’s friends are so fond of him, you could really see it in the way they talked.
Sadly, we missed the ‘Elimidate’ (elim-a-date???) taping at the bar. All the über-hipster boys and silicone girls came in for the event. Got to watch a drunk fratster face plant into the concrete with a rather solid thud. On we went to 6th street, Austin’s answer to Bourbon street. That thing was solid bars and frat boys with a roofie and a dream. I would like to give a shout out to the girlie in the white go-go boots. You go girl. Austin is such an odd mix of nouveau hippies, hipsters with a dream, and frat kids, but they all peacefully coexist. Weird.
I’m exhausted, I spent the day on planes, we head back to the car, we head back home.
We start talking. It’s 1:30 in the morning. Ethan keeps meticulous illustrated journals, he pulls them out. For the next 4 hours we pour over his journals, his illustrations, we reminisce. He finds the journal from when we met, we talk about what a hard time that was in his life, how I just dropped in suddenly in the mix of this tumultuous time for him. We find the references to me in the journals and laugh. He wonders if perhaps I’m a nut too, there’s an entry “Arguing with Heather” but no explanation, I remember the argument well. At first he was self conscious about what he might have written about me, but he had no reason to be, these were his journals, his place to clear his head.
We started talking at 1:30 in the morning, yes we did. Lights out and asleep by 6am. We talked, we shared stories, we laughed, we smoked (me more than him), we drank (him more than me), we teased, we laughed, we comforted, we shared.
I hate knowing that in a couple days I will be at the airport crying like a baby and hating how far away all my friends are. Hate it.
I love that I’m getting this opportunity,