Sunday, March 5, 2000
@ home 2023 hrs
It has grown warmer as it’s grown darker today. Not like last night. Last night I could feel the chilled night air sweep through the loading dock-cum-sidewalk/patio doors of Ruta Maya.
After an hour of listening to local bands play on a stage in the middle of a downtown intersection for Austin’s fake Mardi Gras, I landed in the first coffeeshop I ever went to in Austin. The coffeeshop I frequent whenever I’m downtown.
I had forgotten my pen, as usual. So I sat in silence, listening to Bob Schneider and Fiona Apple on the coffeeshop’s sound system until I built up the courage to ask a pretty co-ed sitting near the entrance if she had one to spare. She did.
I tried to write, I really did. I tried to write an entry, something good enough to stick up here and write “@Ruta Maya” rather than “@home” — nothing. Pure shit came out. I described the yellow and white walls as a yellow sky with cumulus clouds, the sun in descent. I wrote about the girl who gave me the pen. I tried to write a story with her as a character. I tried, I really did. Nothing.
Before I left I wanted to smoke a cigar. As I started lighting up a guy took a seat at my table. Talking about how his roommate had kicked him out of the apartment until his date left, he asked me to a game of chess. It was horrible. I hadn’t played chess in a long while and wasn’t in the mood to try to verbalize anything after having struggled in writing all day. Soon enough, though, he left to fill a job at a gay bar his friend works at. Halfway through my cigar, I left and hiked my way back up to Guadalupe and Ninth where I had parked my car. Got home and went to bed early (11:00pm).
Got up early today and went to Georgetown to find the courthouse annex where my divorce will be finalized on Thursday. Found it and headed back downtown in search of some place to eat. All the IHOPs had full parking lots. Doesn’t anyone eat at home with their families anymore? Does no one know how to cook? Diners are for lonely people like me. Everywhere was filled. Stopped by the Tesoros Trading Company and browsed Latin and South American artifacts.
Nowhere to eat? Fuck it. I’ll get a mocha. Back to Ruta Maya. Tried to write, again with the girl’s pen. Nothing. Described people again. Left around noon and headed toward the Austin Museum of Art. Stopped off in the Congress Avenue Booksellers. Still nothing. Bought a cityscape drawing of Austin from Ricardo inside the gate to Hickory Street Grill (I think that’s the name–I need a beer). Talked to him as I always do while thumbing through his drawings. Headed to the AMOA.
Nice exhibit. I tried to slow down and take it in, wasn’t working. Good quotes from Anais Nin and Henry Miller and Kafka in some of the works, though. Left and headed for the car. Got the hell out there while everyone else partied on Sixth still for Mardi Gras.
Stopped by B&N as usual on Sundays. Saw the pretty red-head from last weekend at the info desk. Bought a LonelyPlanet guide to Mexico. On my way out I heard the red-head (dyed, certainly) on the phone about being picked up in a few minutes after work. Sat outside in the cold wind thumbing through the travel guide waiting for her, not knowing what I’d do if she actually came out before I got cold enough to go home.
She came out, dressed in black, short red/orange-hair shining in the late-evening sun, a styrofoam cup in her hands. She saw me sitting outside the door and smiled a nice, big smile as she passed and kept walking. What could I do? The options raced through my head. I could run after her, say something like, “Hey, you were supposed to stop and talk to me.” But why? For what? How? These were all questions she might pose that I couldn’t answer. I watched to see if she’d come back my way, but she headed over toward the Pier 1. I was out. Back in the car and on the streets.