Friday, July 9th 2010
Texas Road Trip, Part Two

TxRdTrip, Part 1

I’m WAY glad we went to see Willie in Austin.

However.

HOW. EV. ER.

Much was learned, y’all.

After internet research and looking at weather forecasts, we arrived at the venue with a certain set of conclusions, many of which were incorrect.

We thought there would be seats – as seen in an online photo. There were no such seats, and we were real glad we had little towels and flimsy, scarfy things with us to spread out and sit on.

We also thought it would likely rain and also be way hot. We brought ponchos we never used and these little spray mister fans that I’d gotten the week before just for this occasion. (This is my so-cute mom, demonstrating the use of such a device.)

You fill them up with water or ice water, turn on the battery operated fan, and it sprays you with a fine, cooling mist. If you have ice water to spare, which we did not.

I didn’t want to venture back into the extremely scary bathroom facilities at one point and Mom wanted LaLa to fill up the fans with water and she LOUDLY (because LaLa is loud) exclaimed, “I AM NOT GOING INTO THE BATHROOM WITH THREE MISTERS!” Mom and I thought this to be a hilarious declaration, particularly when it caused a lady nearby to jerk her head around and gape in LaLa’s direction.

We arrived at 10:30 am. There were various singers and bands and some were worthwhile and some kinda not. The venue had a “once you’re in, you are in and not leaving and coming back” policy, so when we realized Willie wouldn’t likely come onstage until midnight, it was a sad, sad realization.

We laid out our little scarf-y things and one beach towel over an uneven, highly uncomfortable square of grassy ground. We weighted the corners and edges with water bottles and flip flops and I instantly became very aware of our collective tattoo-less status. Not that it bothers me — I don’t even like bumper stickers.

We slathered on a sunscreen that had this unfortunate quality of forming a thick, gray layer of grime on the skin. It was ugly. But effective. The sun could not get through. I couldn’t scrape it off even though I tried. Out of sheer boredom.

We inhabited our uncomfortable but up-close and centerstage plot of land for fourteen hours. I’ve had babies faster than that. Mom pointed out that you can fly from Honolulu to Sydney way faster than that.  It was a bizarre 14 hours.

The venue where this was held is new. And… needs some guidance on some basic issues but I wish them well and am sure it’ll all work out soon and I don’t want to list all the things that went wrong for them.

At one point Mom and I split up to go forage for food. Whoever got to the actual food first was to buy enough for all. We stood in two different food lines for more than an hour and a half and LaLa held down our little plot of ground despite the protests of dozens of jumpy spiders. Um… gross.  I stood amidst other hungry fans and a small group of us bonded over our common circumstances in the endless and unmoving taco line. They were nice. One guy told me a detailed history behind every Willie song. Yes. I think it really was EVERY song. One girl told us the secret of how to avoid the crazy long lines at the bar (they were selling through the back door, no line, just be sure to tip.)  The Taco Line Group was like family by the time we finally reached the counter and went our separate ways.

Then I sent a text to LaLa begging her to come help me. There weren’t any aisles or pathways and there were 7500 people there and I was ready to fall apart at the idea of pushing through and stepping around them on my way back to our scarf-y place. She came and got me and pushed through the crowds so I could follow her. She’s like that.

(This looks way serious, but actually LaLa is describing a very bizarre behavior she observed and then we were forming theories on why the lady did it. We were bored. The observed behavior involved boobs. Check out the guy behind me in the green shirt! We should have asked his theory.)

By this point my back hurt SO bad. Where I come from, ground is flat. There’s none of this craggy unevenness. That just doesn’t happen. Sitting, lying, standing on uneven ground for that long messes with me in ways I should have predicted but didn’t. It ached. It hurt. I stretched and did not complain. We were in this endurance thing together, and we had a silent, understood pact not to complain.

And as you might predict for 7500 Willie Nelson fans at an outdoor venue – there was quite a cloud hovering over us. Mom thought it smelled like sausage. But it was pot. And a LOT of it. There weren’t any attempts to be discreet – it was just everywhere. And that’s part of going to a Willie concert – we knew that, no big deal.  I wouldn’t say it bothered us in any way – it was just notable.

Willie finally appeared. We were miserable by then, and my back was having these awful spasm things. Willie, short hair and all, was worth staying for. He really was. That voice. I love that voice. And the ugly guitar.

We finally left. He’d been onstage for more than an hour, and I’d heard all my favorites and ow with the back and all.  We got back to the hotel and LaLa saw an animal family in the parking lot. I saw it too, and did not understand why she was so excited about weird, long haired orange cats. I thought they were ugly.

We went to our room and she showed me yoga poses and stretches. It was 2 a.m. and I’m betting not many other of the 7500 Willie fans were doing THAT in hotel rooms. But oooh it helped. We took turns in the bathroom and I was delighted to scrub off the gray sunscreen grime.

The next morning my back didn’t really hurt that much. Some. But not much. Everything else hurt, though. My head. And I had a real hard time not bursting into tears every few seconds. It was awful.  Mom came into the room and I was crying and she glared at LaLa as if it were her fault and that was sad and funny because all LaLa had done was tell me my shoes were cute. And? Hello? They were. And I cried.

We were all kinda taken aback by whatever was wrong with me. I don’t do that. And what set it off was my realizing it was time to get all our stuff to the car and that task was SO overwhelming and … yeah. Serious tears. We discussed how fragile I felt and how uncomfortable that makes me as I really like to not ever feel that and we had some great analysis going on. What a bunch of girls.

I went into the bathroom and tried to get it together. I failed. But I did come out and say, “OH! Maybe it was all that POT!” And suddenly it all made sense so I started crying again. Not because this was in any way acceptable to me, but just because I could not STOP. It was awful. Have I said that? Oh man.

We said goodbye. LaLa mentioned the raccoon family she’d seen the night before. Oh.

Pot + raccoon family + me = weird, long haired orange cats.

That is my brain on drugs.

Mom drove. She was VERY careful and talked in hushed tones and was very compassionate about my numerous limitations. I sat very still and silently reminded myself do not cry. We drove through Lampasas and wondered why they had banners advertising the Spring Ho. (no, not making that up, and wouldn’t it look awful embroidered on a satin beauty queen sash? yikes.) Mom told me to look it up on my phone. I think she was trying to give me small tasks to keep me busy, but I was a bit afraid to ask google what a Lampasas Spring Ho was. We wondered why it was a “Spring” Ho when it was already July and clearly we were in Summer. So shouldn’t it be a Summer Ho? But I did look it up. And I already forgot – but it wasn’t as bad as it sounded.

We ate at a Chili’s somewhere. On the way to the restroom I silently repeated, do not cry, do not fall, steady… steady….why is it so bright in here…. is it really too tacky to wear sunglasses inside?… do NOT cry, Kels…. It was a sad reflection in the mirror. I leaned forward and whispered, “Oh, dear GOD.” Not in a blasphemous way  - but in a three word prayer invoking the name of the One who might be able to help that unrecognizable,  pathetic creature wearing my clothes kinda way. Apparently my hairbrush and I had not renewed our acquaintance that morning. At all. I put it in a ponytail and made myself dizzy in the process. On the way back to the table, the same silent self talk was necessary so that I would not get lost, fall, or cry. Every movement I made was in slow motion out of pure necessity.

Mom asked about my back. “Mmm. It’s a hangover, Mom.” That walk to the bathroom had solved that question quite effectively.

She smiled sweetly and said, “Oh! I don’t usually associate that word with you.” In the same tone of voice one might say, “that’s lovely!” when handed a gift. Or that’s how it seemed. She seemed VERY chipper. But it mighta just been by comparison.

I said thank you.

Then she brightly said, “At least you’re not in trouble!”

And then a few minutes later, she smiled sweetly at me again and leaned across the table and said slowly and meaningfully, “You may not be able to feel this right now… so I’m just going to tell you since you don’t seem to know…. your nose is running.”

And it was.

Snot. On. Face.

I tried not to laugh. That was easy. I tried not to cry. That was not easy.

It was awful.

I sent Mike a text saying I needed to go right to bed when I got home. I did not tell him my newfound revelation about how 14 hours of breathing huge amounts of second-hand marijuana smoke and I do not mix well.

I cried for two days and bumped into walls more than usual. I didn’t want to eat anything and was grumpy for a full four days, and if you ask my mother, she might say it was longer than that.

And now… I’ve been drug free for almost 6 days and am feeling much better, thank you. This accidental jaunt into narcotics is completely over and does not need to be repeated, even for Willie.

The last Willie concert I almost got really physical and mad and ended up in the car missing the whole thing because my kids were tired and smelled like beer. I thought I’d leave the kids at home this time and SEE Willie this time and then everything would be better. And I ended up kinda high and crazy and surprisingly hungover for an otherwise clean-living stay at home mom. I did not see all that coming.

And maybe I should have.

But I’m glad there’s an explanation for why those cats were so ugly. I was sad for Austin and their ugly, oddly nocturnal orange cats.

Sometime while I was crying and falling apart in the bathroom, my sister put a sweet note in my purse that I only found yesterday, and an Aleve wrapped up in a homemade pill envelope. Like a really thoughtful drug dealer might do. Or a sweet big sister who teaches yoga at 2 am if needed.

Proof she’s to blame for some of my laugh lines.

Our next trip will be drug free. That’s the only detail we’ve really hammered out so far, but I know it’ll be great.

~hm

3 Comments on “Texas Road Trip, Part Two”

1
LaLa
July 10th, 2010
4:27 pm

Oh sweet pea. Aren’t you glad we did the giraffe then pig snort laughing BEFORE you got all hungover and delicate??!?

2
Michele
July 10th, 2010
11:05 pm

You made the trip sound really fun. I wish my big sister, mom and I had a relationship like yours. It sounds wonderful. Laughing and making jokes together. The complete acceptance of all quirky quirks. I love it.

Btw, I have a friend who’s allergic to marijuana. Even if it’s just near her and no one is smoking it. Maybe you have something like that too. Though I think she gets all itchy…Or her nose runs. I don’t remember.

3
Heather
July 13th, 2010
8:48 pm

Ohmigosh, I couldn’t stop laughing…. Even as I was reading about you crying over LaLa’s commenting on your shoes, I was saying… “It was the POT!” So sorry for the hangover experience, but sounds like memories were made. :)

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