Monday, April 20, 2015

April in Heidiland: a synopsis with bocce ball

I keep meaning to blog, and I keep forgetting. What's funny/unfortunate is that I actually am having a very unusual month, which has consisted of trying to break into a stranger's hotel room, getting hit on by a bunch of drunk guys in an elevator in Austin, being there in person to see my boys beat Mexico (U-S-A! U-S-A!) and being so tired that I actually lost the will to be annoyed, which as far as I know has never happened. It's the one thing that's innate.

Also, I'm running a marathon in six days. It's one of those choices that seemed like a good idea four months ago and now seems like a disaster.

First stop: Business travel
What up, Austin? I went to the state capital this month for an education conference. It was enlightening professionally, and also a chance to see my old boss who left us two months ago, my old boss who left a different us four years ago, and my uncle, who I can't really say has ever left any sort of us. I actually have early memories of his house.

But first I checked into my hotel, which is right on Lady Bird Lake. Guess where I was going running Monday morning? Plus I was on the 12th floor, so I was going to have a sweet view that I thought about Instagramming the whole way up.

Then I stuck my key in the lock. Right as it flashed red denying me entry, I heard someone say, "Hello?" It was coming from inside the room. It's the horror story you don't read about - the hotel is overbooked. Where will you sleep, my pretty?

Don't worry, I got a room. Then a bunch of drunk guys made the elevator ride fun, which almost made up for the fact that my room overlooked I-35, which is only picturesque if you're into smoggy traffic shots.

Next stop: the helevator
You know how sometimes something a little funny happens to you, but in the process of telling someone about it, circumstances come together to make the telling of a story a much better story? Well. One day I shared the elevator with some guys from Australia. As they got out, one said, "G'day." How do I, a native non-Australian, respond? "G'day." At least I didn't add "mate" at the end of it and totally sound like I was making fun of him.

A little funny but not really, right? I shared this with Sam, who has this habit of picking up people's accents within seconds of hearing them speak. When we were roommates and the people from Texas were taking over her credit union, she'd routinely come home sounding like Jessica Chastain's redneck character from "The Help." We were walking to my car as I told her this.

The story changed a bit this time, though. It went more like this:

HT: So we're in the helevator ...

SR: The what? What kind of hotel did you stay at? I want to ride the helevator.

HT: Haha. I have no idea where that came from.  So we're in the helicopter ... I mean elevator! We're in the elevator! Why am I talking about helicopters?

SR: Laughing. A lot.

Now reread that, but this time imagine a little playing a recorder in the background. A recorder. In the helevator.

Third stop: Food trucks
For whatever reason, I am prejudiced against U.S. street food. It just seems slightly suspect, which sounds odd because I didn't think twice about buying sausage from a dude on a Berlin street corner who was wearing a grill. Fortunately, I am slowly overcoming this prejudice, helped along by really delicious food truck pizza. And signs that advertise girls just kidding! It was for tacos.

Also, weird thing about Austin: It has a 38 1/2 Street. I know you're hip and cool, ATX, but you're not Hogwarts. Settle down.

Fourth stop: Phlegmville
I get sick about once a year. This year, that happened to coincide with the week I was out of town. For the duration of the conference it was a sinus infection; for the drive home on Thursday it was wicked allergies that left my nose absolutely raw and killed roughly half an acre of Amazon rain forest. I'm sorry, Mother Earth.

So where did I go running in Austin? Nowhere. Stupid sinuses.

Fifth stop: Red, white and the other team was blue because we won!
And yes, I mean we. Screaming fans are just as important as the guys who put the ball in the back of the net.* The U.S. played Mexico in San Antonio, which isn't really a home guy for our guys, and I was not prepared to be surrounded by a bunch of really happy Mexico fans. Thank you a thousand times, U.S. soccer team, for winning. You know I'm a sore loser.

Sixth stop: Stop
It took us roughly the duration of the soccer game to get out of the parking lot. For half an hour I just turned off the car so we didn't waste gas or battery life. It was the worst. Until, of course, people started shoving their way in front of me, which was actually worse. Newsflash, big truck driver -- unless you have a woman in labor in your cab, which you did not, you wait in line like the rest of us. Wanting to get out does not give you the right of way to almost hit me while you try to cut in line.

And, because I'm not melodramatic at all, I did not say, when some guy tried to run us down because he didn't appreciate the police officer's command to stop, "There are terrible people in the world, and most of them were in this parking lot tonight." Nope. No drama queen here.

Seventh stop: Bocce with strangers
Any bocce ball players out there? If not, here's the game -- throw your balls as close as you can to another, smaller ball. I did this at a single adult activity, with people who were no closer to retirement than me. It's, well, we'll say unlikely to become a favorite pastime anytime soon.

Next stop: Oklahoma City. Guys, I'm an idiot. My last marathon was terrible. What was I thinking?

*This is not true, even a little bit.

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