In Which My Mother and I Keep Austin Weird
On my first day back from Austin, Texas, I find myself reading a Holy Week Myers-Briggs to figure out which Catholic saint shares my personality. Since I am not Catholic, nor sure of my Myers-Briggs personality type, I quickly take this as a sign that I should stop and do something more productive like write a blog post.
As some may know, and some most certainly do not, I gifted my mother a mystery vacation for her *significant birthday this year. Starting in January, I sent her what I hoped were cryptic clues in the mail. These purple pieces of paper appeared at her doorstep in Birmingham, Alabama, suggesting she pack “2 wigs and hiking shoes” and be prepared for things to get “really weird.” They kindly requested she memorize this poem for recitation. They told her a range of dates and a range of temperatures.
On the evening of March 22, I called her on the phone “from Seattle” to “give her more details.” I was actually on her front porch with my suitcase. Then I was in her kitchen and she was screaming her head off. For the good and bad, this hyperactive shock system is something I have inherited.
Early the next morning, we were off. She still didn’t know our final destination, or if she did, she did a great job of pretending she didn’t, at our layover in Charlotte. At this point I was dying to talk about the trip, so I gave her more obvious clues, and she guessed it right before we headed to the gate to board.
There was no big specific reason to go to Austin, Texas, just a lot of little ones. Great weather in late March, a big mix of indoor and outdoor activities, foodie joints and live music. Most importantly, Mom and I had never been there, so even if we ended up walking through cold rain down Dirty 6th with newly buzzed mohawks and botched tribal tattoos, at least it would all be new.
We had a charmed week. In the morning, we’d wake up in our adorable periwinkle guesthouse, drink our coffee, and plan our day. We’d go for a run down Shoal Creek Trail, slowing periodically to huff low-hanging wisteria blooms or be terrified by the throaty death-noises grackles make. In the afternoon, we might go for a hike, lounge at Burton Springs, peruse the Blanton Museum or Mexic-Arte, or consignment shop hop.
One of my most cherished moments from the week was when, after a long sweaty day of tromping around the graffiti castle and Zilker Park, we ducked into the bathroom at a Mexican restaurant and PUT WIGS ON. As we were fussing with them in the mirror, women came in and acted like everything was completely normal, which was hilarious. BECAUSE WE WERE PUTTING ON WIGS. When Mom put hers on, it was sticking out like crazy in all directions. She looked like a nameless male rocker from the 80s. Absolute perfection. I wouldn’t trade that moment for the world.
But enough of that. Let’s talk FOOD. We splurged on one meal out a day and did it right. The Culinary Final Four = our multi-course dinner at Olive & June (special shout out to the butternut squash which was pretty life changing), the spicy margarita at La Condesa, the scallops at Swift’s Attic, and the overall vibe and decor at East Side Show Room.
We ended the trip by dancing our hearts out (feet off? arms away?) to Bob Schneider, outside at the Nutty Brown Café amphitheater.
I’ll always be grateful for the good time Austin showed us, and this sweet one-on-one time with my mamacita. Texas forever a week!
* Number censored in light of social convention. This will be the only social convention I agree to follow in this blog post.