Behind the Kerrville public library is where I found a few hours or uninterrupted blissful sleep. As I emerged from my hammock in the most awkward of fashions (I have yet to master the art of gracefully exiting it) a groundskeeper turned the corner and we locked eyes. He took one look at me and began laughing out loud. “Don’t worry I ain’t tellin’ nobody. Just be gald you didn’t sleep there.” He pointed to a pile of leaves in the corner. “That’s where the bums take their evening piss”. And that’s exactly where I sat last night typing away on my computer. Fantastic. The most worry some aspect of the ordeal is that I didn’t even smell bum pee. So either that means there wasn’t any (wishful thinking), or I smell so bad that bum pee is actually a step up from my current scent (much more likely). But today is the day! Today is the day I finally get to take a shower! I’ve honestly never been more motivated to ride than today because I finally won’t smell like a gorilla scrotum. Yeah, the last time soap touched my skin was Roswell, NM. That was 10 days ago. New record! Oh what a disgusting thing to take pride in.
So why do I finally get to take a shower today might you ask? Well, my very good friend Drew informed me that he has an Aunt and Uncle who live in San Antonio. Drew was kind enough to coordinate with them and ask if it would be alright for me to stay with them a night or two. Thankfully they said yes, so I’m riding to San Antonio with purpose. I must mention that Drew was consistently there for me after my breakup. He even had an extra room in his apartment and I lived with him for a few months before departing on this trip. I miss him a ton and spending time with his family will be a great way for me to get back in touch with a valued friendship in an unconventional way. I mean the best way to really get to know your friends is to have their relatives tell you all the embarrassing stories of said friend. Don’t worry Drew, I won’t tell anyone…except for this very public blogosphere.
Before I reached San Antonio I stopped off in the town of Boerne. Boerne is the epitome of a quaint small town. It’s just pleasant. An actual thriving Main street harboring unique, independent window shops. A well-kept park with little American flags sprinkled throughout the lawn and the purest white gazebo I’ve ever laid eyes on. People walking up and down the streets holding hands. Joggers passing by. Everyone just seems so lovely. I bet there’s a fabulous place to get brunch around the corner. IT’s the quintessential ideal image of any town U.S.A. and it bores me to tears. There’s no action. No deranged man holding a knife in the streets yelling about the end of days. No one’s honking their horns or making threatening remarks about another individual’s spouse. This town is too perfect for me. It’s just too generic, too cookie cutter. I miss Philadelphia. It may be grimy and seedy, but at least it’s got depth. I don’t know. It’s an alright town, just not for me. I sat on a park bench for a while and fixated on a leaf in the road. There have been many moments on this trip where I’m gazing into a void, then quickly jerk my head, look around, and ask myself “What am I doing? Why am I here?” That happened on the park bench in Boerne. I sat an pondered about some profound impasse I was facing and the true meaning of this trip. Right when I thought I had figured it out, a voice in my head yelled out “You’re just riding a bike across America. Can you for one day relax and just embrace that notion. Why do you constantly have to turn it into some reflective deeper meaning? Just ride your bike and look at all the pretty stuff around you. For once. Please. Give it a rest.” So I did.
I reached Donna and Bob’s (Drew’s aunt and uncle) house around 4pm. I took the most majestic of showers and introduced myself to their dogs: Pete, Bruiser, and Jupiter. Pete is the man, Bruiser is the little man, and Jupiter is not a fan. I’m determined to get her to like me before my stay here is over. Anyhow, we ate dinner and talked about all kinds of things. Donna and Bob are awesome, by the way. Bob is a recently retired military dentist, so they have lived all over the country and even Europe. Naturally we had in depth conversations about travel, Texas, and faith. Discussing spirituality used to be such a touchy and taboo topic of conversation for me, but Donna and Bob are ultra-approachable and I found it tremendously beneficial to hear about their faith and engage in a open, comfortable dialogue about it. It’s important to not only be aware and tolerant of other people’s beliefs, but to take it a step further and learn about them. Donna is a devout Catholic and I didn’t know much about the Catholic faith/practices. She was nice enough to enlighten me a bit about her spirituality. I used to simply reject other people’s beliefs that didn’t coincide with my own but that just perpetuates ignorance and I’ve learned to deviate from the habit. Even though I don’t particularly agree with some foundations of the Catholic faith, it’s still important to understand and learn from it. Usually I’m having these conversations with myself, so it was a nice change of pace. Family found itself in the rotation as well. We talked more about Drew and his family and the advantages/disadvantages of living far from home. Both Donna and Bob’s extended family lives on the east coast so very rarely do they get to see each other.
It was absolutely wonderful engaging in such thought-provoking and meaningful conversation but it did make me realize a few things:
1.) I really miss my friends. Bring around Drew’s family made me realize how much I miss his company and the company of all my friends for that matter.
2.) Things are going to be different when I get home. I feel like I’ve changed a lot on this trip and I have to acknowledge the fact that so did everyone else. No one pushed a magic pause button on everyone else’s life while I was away.
3.) Integrating myself back into normal society is going to be a lot harder than I thought.
4.) Teaching English abroad is looking more and more enticing. Bob spent some time in South Korea and made it sound enchanting.
5.) I truly miss my fwiends.
Total Ascent: 2307 ft.