Today is my last day in Austin. I’m leaving slightly less confused than when I arrived…I think. The week I’ve spent in this town felt like a minute. I still remain the undisputed king of indecision and second guessing. I still talk about myself way too much. I still invest unhealthy amounts of energy in romantic relationships. And I still air out my dirty laundry on this blog. As I sit and type my retrospective of my time in Austin I question if leaving at this moment is the right move. Then I am overcome with the urge to get back on the road and ride east.
Yesterday lay down in the grass with my notebook over my face and that was it. No ulterior thought. No worrying about the past, present, or future. I think for the first time since I’ve been in Austin, I was truly living in the moment. My mind was totally unoccupied. Life can be rough. Scratch that. Life is rough. Laying down in the grass, stretching out all my limbs, and taking a deep breath, sanded off those rough edges of life and left me with a peaceful consciousness. For a brief moment in time, I understood all my faults, acknowledged my fears, embraced my fortunes, and recognized my self. If I can harness that frame of mind all the time, I could perceive a forthcoming scenario in a new light. It’s mediation. I used to try to meditate. My mind would be like “Ha! Look at this jerk off trying to meditate here. What say we barrage him with images of elderly couples mid coitus, and make him think about John Travolta roaming an Applebee’s parking lot for an unnatural amount of time?” It never worked out. But yesterday it did. A brief moment was all it took for me to realize that this mind state was attainable. Amy told me about a meditation flash mob that was taking place on the pedestrian footbridge this afternoon. We attended it and I reached that feeling of enlightenment yet again. Trouble in life is unavoidable. You will never be able to change the fact that and unforeseen obstacle will at some point inconvenience your life. What can be changed is the way in which you manufacture a way of dealing with the obstacle. Meditation doesn’t make the obstacle benign; it simply reassures you that you have the capability to resolve the obstacle without reacting in an erratic manner. Stupid hippies aren’t so stupid anymore. They are still smelly and irritating though.
I am missing SXSW in Austin. However, last night was WXWC which was the first annual ‘West by West Campus’ a music festival which highlighted younger, local acts. The bands played in the backyards of various co-ops on campus. My junior year at Temple saw a lot of Saturday nights at a house a block down the street from where I lived. The house was free range for sex, drugs, and alcohol. All the good stuff. The backyard of the house was always packed with dancing, smashed wine bottles, and Doc Martens. Wandering around this festival I found myself in backyards identical to that. I was swept away in a sea of kitschy haircuts and drunken commentary. It was god awful. To think that I used to salivate at the prospect of getting loaded and gallivanting around that house prowling for girls causes me to shudder now. I couldn’t be surrounded by that any longer, but the music; the music kept me there. Youthful American angst is alive and well in the music scene. It never faded, it’s just nice to see it still there, doing its thing. BLERG! I firmly believe that if you’re not passionate about your writing, you can’t expect anyone else to be. Right now I’m not passionate about this bit of writing. Instead what I’m going to do is just list all the things that happened to me over the last two days:
- Amy’s friends with Lee Daniel, who was the cinematographer for the film Slacker. He is seeing another one of Amy’s friends, Gala. It was her birthday last night and Amy invited me to the party. Naturally, Lee was there. I love that movie, but I also love not being an annoying fan and bombarding an artist with praise. Instead I asked him a question. There was a character in the film that I always interpreted as representing death. I asked Lee if that was an intention or if I was just reading into it too much. He didn’t give me a firm answer, but did tell me that the man who played that role died shortly after the film’s completion. You can work on that one yourself.
- I told a room full of people my story for the thousandth time while thinking about how badly I wanted to hear theirs.
- I talked to an Italian grad student about Fellini. She told me her thesis about the relationship between actresses and prostitution in the Neorealist era. I clung to every word.
- I got stoned.
- I thought about how I think too much.
- I got drunk.
- I told Selene that I was worried my fondness of her was growing too strong. She told me I’m too emotionally invested. I tried to think of a song relative to this situation, but passed out instead. We slept in the same bed, but on two different planets.
- Oh and I cut my hair. Well Selene cut my hair. I got a haircut.
Is it unethical to be using people’s real names on this blog when describing my feelings/thoughts/encounters with/towards them? That never really occurred to me until last night. There may very well be people who would prefer that I didn’t write the things I wrote about them on this blog. I don’t know what to do. I want to write about them, but is it inconsiderate to do so if what I am writing is not favorably portraying them in the best manner?
I didn’t get to tell her everything. I didn’t get to tell her how I really felt. How I am reluctant opening up to a woman because of a crippling fear of vulnerability. How I tried so hard to make her laugh in an effort to distract her from my overbearing uncertainty. How I wanted her to find a bicycle and ride with me. How I knew there’d be no longevity to our relationship. That doesn’t make it any easier. My relationship with Austin and my relationship with Selene were two separate entities but shared many commonalities. Bewildering, jubilant, perplexing. I don’t really know what to think right now. I’m feeling it all. I’m going to stop talking about them now. There’s much more I want to write, but I’ll spare you. Is there a difference between a blog and a diary? This feels like a diary more than a blog. This is supposed to be a log of my travel around the country by bicycle. Usually that would mean there would be more content related to bicycling touring. That topic’s staring at this ‘blog’ from a distance right now.
The true question at the end of this journey will be: “are you a better person after completing this trek?” I think that I am right now. I think I still have a lot to work on in my life, but who doesn’t? The day you stop to better yourself and those around you is the day you die. I fell that I have grown more understanding of others. I used to constantly compare someone else’s values, beliefs, and opinions to my own. I am now realizing that is a fruitless endeavor. Just because I don’t agree with someone else, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. If a person is doing, creating, thinking, or speaking their mind and there is no victim as a result, no one has a right to make them stop. Too many people are hurt in this world because they’ve forgotten that idea. Realizing that something you do is hurting another person and stopping shouldn’t be a difficult decision to make. Unfortunately, sometimes it is. One thing that I have opened my eyes to is how often I’m typing the word “I”. I’m constantly writing about myself and my experiences on this blog, but that has transformed into me constantly talking about myself and my experiences in real life. I am talking about myself way too much and it’s bothersome. My social dialogues have dramatically changed as a result. I used to have hour long conversations surrounding wicker chairs and Bruce Willis. Now all I talk about is myself and what I’m thinking. Instead of listening, I’m just waiting for my turn to talk next. Inevitably it will be about myself. So while I have grown tremendously on this trip, some characteristics of mine have deteriorated.
I will miss Austin. I will miss Amy. I will miss the abundance of live music. I will miss the abundance of strategically placed food trucks. I will miss the liberalism of this town. I will miss Selene. I will miss the functional uniqueness of this town. I will miss seeing people on two wheels. I will miss the artistic fervor of this town. Shit. I’m really going to miss Austin. More than any city I’ve been to thus far. I think I want to move back here. I think I’m going to move back here. I think I’m going to leave something very important here so I’ll have no choice but to come back. I think it’ll be my heart.