Wednesday, March 28, 2001

(part 2)
I bummed around the rest of the afternoon, getting wired on coffee at Starbuck's and taking a look at the grassy knoll and the former Texas School Book Depository. Around 5, I headed back to the Greyhound station. While I was standing outside smoking, a guy walked up to me and introduced himself. Uh-oh, I thought. His first comment after the introductions were made was that I was a man of God - he could tell by my energy as I walked by. Any time a stranger mentions the word "God" to me, my immediate reaction is to become immensely uncomfortable. This was no exception. We (he) talked for a few more minutes; he pried about my life and offered up details of his. Then he asked if I would help a man buy a hamburger. Overjoyed that this must be a precursor to his departure from my company, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a $5 bill for him. He thanked me and gave me a big hug, which was oddly peaceful.

I did manage to make the 7:00 bus, which was great.

This story is to be continued as I have no more time in the Internet cafe!
When I told my friend Dave that I was planning on doing a cross-country trip on Greyhound, he was absolutely horrified. He said I should keep a journal, reasoning that if I survive, I'll definitely be able to publish it. We'll see. Last Saturday, I went to the bus station to buy my ticket. I already knew from looking at the schedule on the web which bus I wanted - 7:45 on Monday morning. Somehow (I'm now completely sure how) I wound up with a ticket that had me leaving at 1:35 am, wrapped in a ticket jacket that had written on it 7:45 pm. I figured they just issue you whatever ticket and it gets straightened out when you actually want to take the bus. Whatever.

When I showed up at the bus station on Monday morning, I found out the 7:45 bus runs only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Yes, the computer says the bus runs, but it doesn't. Ok, I said, already glad that I was taking this journey for the adventure, rather than to get to Chicago in a timely manner. There is a bus leaving for Dallas at 9:05, I found out. She said I could board that bus, but remarkable she couldn't ticket me for that one - I instead wound up with a ticket for the nonexistent 7:45 bus with an impossible 11:45 connection in Dallas. Due to arrive in Dallas at 12:10, I was supposed to catch a 12:30 connection to Memphis.

We didn't get to Dallas until around 12:30, so I figured my connection was shot. I went to the ticket counter, and they told me to board the bus bound for Detroit. Awesome, I thought. I went to that bus and had the baggage guy put my bag on that bus. Then when the driver eventually opened the door, he told me it was full and I would have to take a different bus. Besides, I didn't have a ticket for that one - I had missed my bus. "Ok, but I'll need to get my bag." His response was to yell at me for putting my bag on the bus before talking to him, then he grudgingly opened the door to the baggage compartment. I went back to the baggage counter and got ticketed for the next bus to Memphis, six hours later. I decided to put my bag in a locker. The locker wasn't working - the part that took my money wasn't turning on. A guy sitting a few feet noticed this, walked over, opened the locker, gave it a skilled tap (at which point the machine turned on), and sat back down, all without saying a word. Pretty cool.

Once out in the streets of Dallas, I was able to find a trendy-ish restaurant to dine in. it was really great - very un-Greyhound.

Friday, March 16, 2001

Kathryn and my sister picked me up at the airport, and there was quite a bit of tension in the air. She asked me to spend the night (even if it's just one last time), but I declined. I feel guilty enough already, without sleeping with her. I know what would happen, too...if we starting up a physical relationship again, I would want a continuted relationship...until I went on a trip, then it would only last about 2 weeks. Definitely don't want to put either of us through that again.

We went with two friends to a Ron Jeremy documentary for SXSW today. Unfortunately, he wasn't there. It would have been so cool - he probably would have signed girls' breasts if he had been there. It was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

Monday, March 12, 2001

I had the tough talk with my girlfriend last night. It actually wasn't nearly so bad as I expected; she didn't seem too surprised. She wondered why I hadn't waited until I saw her, and I said it was because I didn't want her to get excited about my coming and then have a big let-down when I showed up. I'm sure there will be more difficult conversations when we actually see each other.

Last week I made a list of goals for my leave of absence, and here they are:
  • Keep a journal of some sort (blogger, paper, whatever) - so far, check that one off
  • Unload my BMW
  • Have some experience where I randomly kiss a girl or something of the sort
  • Read a Harry Potter book in Spanish
  • Create a spending plan for my leave and stick to it. I can't spend as much money as I've been spending.
  • Go to at least 1 country I haven't been to before
  • Meet some people that I keep in touch with afterwards. This shouldn't be too hard.
  • Kiss a Scandinavian or Spanish girl.
  • See midsummer in Scandinavia
  • Saturday, March 10, 2001

    Ahhh...only 5 1/2 days more to go before I officially start my leave of absence. (Not that I haven't already started.) I went to an erotic fair in Stockholm today. I saw ads for it last week in the free daily newspaper, so I was curious. I was going to go last night, but I couldn't convince anyone from my project to go, so I was by myself. When I got there, there were tons of people in a queue outside the place, and I had a severe attack of not wanting to wait there alone. So, knowing it would be less crowded, I went there this afternoon. It kind of sucked, but I'm glad I went because I otherwise I wouldn't know it sucked. There were lots of couples there, which made me pretty jealous. Then I remembered that my girlfriend would love going to shit like that, but I'm about to break up with her, so I'll never be the one she goes with.

    They had a peep show and lap dances. I paid $4 for 5 minutes in the peep show booth, but it rather sucked. Then I asked how much lap dances where, and after the peep show, I decided $60 was a little pricey. I am definitely looking forward to going to the Yellow Rose in Austin though.

    I'm still somewhat drunk from going out to a club tonight, so that's the best excuse I can muster for having the writing style of a 4th grader.

    Thursday, March 08, 2001

    I haven't officially started my slacking yet - that happens next Friday. I'll be taking a five month leave of absence from my company. Right now I'm wasting time, not doing anything productive. Next week I have a bit of work to do, as well as packing up all my stuff in preparation for my move back to Austin. If you want some reading material, Salon.com has a great article on the new slackers. The article focuses mostly on laid-off dot-commers, but I feel I have a great deal in common with them. I can't wait to see my first daytime movie, sometime week after next.