Driving into Austin I didn’t know I’d be applying to grad-school there the following year, it was just another place to check out. To be perfectly honest, the first time I set eyes on Austin I wasn’t thrilled.
After we’d checked in to the La Quinta Inn at the corner of San Jacinto Boulevard and 11th Street (I cycle by it almost every day now), I lay on my bed and felt thoroughly down in the dumps.
It was odd not having Drew around and no longer being a crowd of three, and the drab confines of the hotel didn’t compare favourably to the warm welcome and domestic fineries we’d enjoyed in Houston.
Having checked the guide book it seemed that Sixth Street was the place to go. But we found it deserted and the bars empty at the beginning of the week. An empty bar is always depressing, a whole street of them is really melancholic; there’s a sense of the party being terminally over.
We had a drink at Bikinis, which again seemed pretty sad with only us two, a few solo drinkers dotted at tables and a some bar girls walking around incongruously in their swim wear.
This was definitely not the American Dream. We bounced between another couple of places and, spurred on by the guide book, ended up at the Elephant Room listening to jazz.
We decided to leave once I’d nodded off for about the third time. The music was good but the previous two weeks had caught up with me. Pete was full of beans as ever and up for staying out. He was to me what the Samoan attorney was to Hunter S. Thompson.
Strangely enough, part of the problem for me was it didn’t feel right to have headed west, back tracking on ourselves, when our trajectory previously had been continually eastward. It was if we’d lost momentum.
I needed to get back on that strange torpedo.