My hometown employers will be upset. Actually, if I had to guess, they are very upset right now and wondering why I haven't showed up for work all week. Starbucks called me and asked me if I crashed my bike. I said no, I was having a personal emergency. Which was very very true.
On Sunday before work, I went to Peets for an afternoon latte.
All the seats were taken. I was about to leave when a man in a golden scarf said to me "Here, sit here." He offered a seat at his table. I sat down and drank my coffee and we talked for a bit.
"So what do you do?" he asked as he picked at a roast beef sandwich.
"Um... I'm a waiter at a Japanese Restaurant. And a barista at Starbucks."
"No, no," he said, "What do you want to do in the grand scheme of things?"
We got into talking about mind and body, life and purpose, and he concluded saying "You live in an exciting time. You're young. You can do anything. No obligations. It's so eeeasy for you to travel," he finished his sandwich and licked his fingers. "That's my one regret. I didn't travel enough when I was your age. Your mind is expanding right now, and you need to use it!" he began picking up the crumbs of the sandwich with his fingers. "If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?"
I thought for a moment. "Austin, Texas."
The man laughed. "There you go! Austin, Texas. What's stopping you from packing your bags and going right now?"
"I have two jobs," I said.
"Psh," said the man. "For kids your age, jobs like that are a dime a dozen. I am sure if you went to Austin you could find work. You're smart, you're friendly-" he gathered his napkins. "- you could make a living for yourself in Austin, Texas. WELL! I have to go. I'm already late."
"It was a pleasure talking to you," I said. "I guess I'll see you around."
"I hope not," said the man, and he left.
I sat at the table alone for ten seconds before what happened next.
I rode my bike home, packed my backpack, took all the money I had stashed away in my drawers, and biked to the bus stop. I did not go to my scheduled shift at Starbucks.
After a brief stop in Santa Cruz and 48 hours of bus travel, I arrived in Austin, Texas. I have been here for two days now and I already have a novel's worth of shit that's happened to me. As some of you might have seen on Facebook, I MET JASON SCHWARTZMAN. I was just walking down the street, looking for food, and I see JASON SCHWARTZMAN across the street. I got his autograph, had a short but pleasant conversation, shook his hand, and went on my way. Apparently he was in town shooting a movie called "Seven Chinese Brothers" (more on that here) with Bob Byington, who was also with him when I ran into them. I met up with some friends later and tried to express to them how exciting it was that I met JASON SCHWARTZMAN, but no one seemed impressed. "Yeah, that's Austin" was a common response.
Where the f**k am I?
Since I've been here I've been trying to get a job so I don't die. I got my Texas Alcoholic Beverage Certification and my Texas Food Handlers License, so the world is my oyster. I have been applying to restaurants all over town, and so far I haven't heard anything. It's tense, because I am reaching the "point of no return", when I will eventually not have enough money to buy a bus ticket home. And why on Earth would I want a bus ticket home? I need to somehow find a way to survive here and DAMMIT, I'm going to do it.
As for living arrangements, my first night I stayed in a hostel ("Hostelling International - Austin") which was like heaven compared to the bus. I slept soundly in a bed next to a man from Denver who had a pleasant demeanor and unpleasant smelling feet. Last night I managed to use my Facebook connections to find a friend of a friend who lives in Austin, Texas, and I crashed at her place last night. Everyone has been so kind and I am so grateful, but it is time to get a job. ASAP. Or else I quite possibly may die.
This is, of course, a summary of events. I have been taking extensive notes and I know that I will definitely be putting together a book or something to talk about all of my adventures on the Greyhound and in Austin, but for now I think I need to focus on getting that GUAP.
My life is sheer and utter insanity. There are certain things that are very hard to express in a simple blog post, like how everything felt "right" when I left, and how certain opportunities arose and it seemed too perfect to be coincidence. And how much I love Austin so far. I could go on, but I'll save that for the book.