Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On the road again: Austin, day 1

Some people who've read about my many odd travel companions have declared me cursed, but I hold with a different opinion:  if you travel as much as I do, weird shit is bound to happen to you.

As it did today.

The first leg of the trip passed splendidly.  I received an upgrade to first class.  My row mate was a pleasant professional gentleman who kept almost entirely to himself and who was interesting when he chose to make conversation.  The pasta on the lunch tray resembled guts spilling from a zombie on The Walking Dead, but the salad was fresh and tasty, so I ate it and left the pasta to find its own fate. 

The second flight began reasonably well, because I had an exit-row seat--a window one on the two-seat side of the plane, but in the exit row.

Then my row mate sat down. 

Every bit of six-four and at least three hundred pounds, wearing pink shorts and a blue-striped polo shirt, with a huge reddish mountain-man beard, he was something to behold.  His head never stopped bopping to the music from his ear buds.  As soon as he had buckled his seat belt, in the process forcing me to lean halfway against the wall of the plane, he pulled out a tin of chewing tobacco and put a huge chaw in his left cheek--the cheek nearer to me.  He then pulled a half empty Diet Coke bottle out of his pack, unscrewed its top, and held it in his left hand--the hand nearer to me.  I then learned, from sight and smell, that the bottle contained no Diet Coke; it was half full of his spit.  For the rest of the flight, he chewed and spit, never closing the bottle, never stopping bopping.  He did pause when the flight attendants offered drinks, but only so that he could order three bottles of Jim Beam whiskey, all of which he consumed in under a minute.  He never took out his chaw.

You won't be surprised to read that I was very, very happy to get off that plane.

A heavy rain soaked me on the short walk to my rental car, so I spent the next hour driving and checking in while slowly drying from my own body heat. 

Dinner followed my first night in Austin tradition:  a meal with a friend and colleague at the County Line On the Lake, followed by desert at the Arboretum Amy's

I devoted the rest of my waking hours to work.

Quite a day.

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