Monday, January 31, 2011

On the road again: Austin, day 1

Ah, the glamor of business travel: Up after a few hours of restless sleep. Shower. Drive to the airport. Join the mewling animal queue. Get scanned once again by the new machine, too tired to bother protesting its senseless invasion. Work in the Admiral's Club--a nice reprieve as the world goes away.

The plane. No first class. No exit row. Bag under the seat like a good resident of the oversold zoo. Seat in front so close that work is impossible. Warm, over-breathed air. Back curled to try to cram shoulders into a seat never built to contain them. Fatigue and space make even reading almost impossible. Try to sleep but just play the head-bob game. Air grows warmer and ever more stale.

I have rarely been so happy to land in Dallas.

The day improved markedly from there, with an upgrade on the next leg, the rental car ready (albeit filthy), and the drive to the hotel uneventful. Hours of work followed, the world vanishing as it does for me when I focus.

What is that in the evening distance, beckoning me, turning everything around?

Oh, yeah: it's Texas barbecue, courtesy of The County Line On the Lake, about which I've written often. A beef rib, a little sausage, and a little brisket later, and I'm a happy man.

A stop at the Amy's Ice Creams by the Renaissance Hotel, and the overheated, overstuffed plane was already a fading memory.

Doug and the Slugs are playing on the portable speakers in front of me. My computer is working, my room is cool, and I am reminded yet again that I have known bad times and, crappy three-hour flight or not, these aren't them.


pjz said...

Just finished _Jump Gate Twist_ (now I need to go find the sequels) and really enjoyed it. And I took my 3yo to that Amy's on Sunday, when it was nice and in the mid 70s (unlike today's near freezing temps). Welcome to Austin! The best mexican food in town is Fonda San Miguel - definitely worth trying if you haven't been there before. County Line does decent BBQ, but I like Rudy's (just up 183) brisket better. NXNW is a restaurant and microbrewery just across 183 from the Renaissance - also worth trying.

Mark said...

Thanks for the kind words about the omnibus. I hope you like Overthrowing Heaven and Children No More just as much. I appreciate the restaurant tips. I do wish I'd come during warmer times, but any time is a good time to visit Austin!


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