Saturday, September 10, 2005

Keep Austin Weird

Sorry its been so long. I've been fighting a little cold and getting ready for the Women's Adventure Race this weekend with Emily.

A coworker of mine loaned me a little inflatable kayak for the race. I had a long lunch break on Thursday, so I ate a quick meal and decided to try it out. I drove down to Zilker Park, the big city park downtown, and plugged the electrical inflater into my cigarette lighter. Then I hauled the tiny craft and the oars down to Barton Springs. A couple of shirtless guys saw me and shouted out, "Hey, are you gonna go paddling in that thing? Need any help?" I said no thanks and kept walking, and put my little craft into the water down where they rent canoes.

Its really a tiny boat. My knees were up under my chin, and I had to row with my arms at an unnaturally high angle since I was so low in the water. But it was great being out there on the water in the middle of a workday. The water in Barton Springs is an amazing blue-green color. There are some scum bubbles on the top and floating chunks of algae, but the water is so clear! I could see sunfish beneath me, and lots of huge red eared turtles basked before me, waiting until I got about 3 feet from them when they decided to dive for the bottoms.

I heard guitar music, and then a guy shouted to me, "Hey, I'll give you a dollar if you'll listen to one of my songs." In the shade of the trees on the banks, there was an older guy, playing guitar for about 4 of his buddies. "That's OK," I said, "I'll listen," and paddled over to the other side of the stream. "The song lasts 3 and a half minutes," he warned, "That's a lot of paddlin' " He came to the edge of the stream over me and sang his song, traipsing back and forth over the dirt banks. I didn't recognize it, but it was a love song with lyrics like this: "Tell me all your secrets, but don't ask me none of mine/ We'll kiss as we cross the Mason-Dixon line." I could feel the cold water soaking into my underwear. In the live music capital of the world, however, the scene and the song seemed entirely appropriate.

I really enjoyed the song, and said so at its conclusion. He said, "Wait a minute,"as he fished for a buck in his pocket. I assured him that I didn't need the dollar. "Well, all I really wanted was your phone number, anyway." I declined to give it, since I was married. "How can that be? Well, I don't mess around with a married woman," he said.

I paddled down a few more minutes before heading back. My troubador and his posse had left. I pulled ashore next to a man skipping stones and his naked toddler daughter who asked me how much my watercraft cost (nothing, since it was on loan). I walked past college students in their swimsuits and their happy lucky dogs on my way back to the car. Then I went back to work.

Only in Austin...

Tomorrow is the race, so we'll see how well the kayak does with 2 people in it!


Dad said...

Oh, another great post. I would like to have been one of the unmentioned witnesses to the kayaking and singing.

A.Norma said...

What an interesting story, wondering if the tune/song was Country Western style which I love...we would have joined in wouldn't we,Eric? A.Norma.x

Anonymous said...

No worries,

I think Austin is stayin' wierd.=)


EdamameMommy said...

Hope the kayak worked for you two and the race was another success.

Have been thinking about Montana A LOT today. Please pet her lovingly and abundantly for me...

messymama said...

I love this story!! xoxo, lisa