Austin

by Berck

I asked Jonah if she wanted to come to Austin with me for work. I wasn’t being all that serious about it, but she was. Until she checked the weather and discovered that the temperature was mid-80s. That was weeks ago. This week, the week that I’m here, the high is at least 95 every day. Humans apparently voluntarily decide to live here. I told her it was no big deal–they have air conditioning. Joke’s on me, my employer hosted the welcome happy hour on a rooftop bar.

After the work thing, I wandered around the streets of Austin by myself. I passed the Floppy Disk Repair Company on my way to a promising place with live music called Shiner. It stopped being promising when I got to the door and was greeted with rap. I was going to just go back to my hotel, when I decided that the Floppy Disk Repair Company must be a bar, since even in the days when it was relevant, there wasn’t much in the way of repairing floppy disks. The well-groomed guy outside told me I couldn’t go in without the code, and gestured at a numeric keypad. I shrugged and kept walking… “BUT!” he said, and I stopped and turned around. “If you tell me a joke, I’ll let you in.” I thought for a minute, pretty sure that I had absolutely no interest in going in, and decided to tell him my best joke. “What’s purple and commutes?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he said. “An Abelian grape!” He actually did a good job pretending to laugh, then let me in. I wondered if he’d have had the same reaction to the dead baby varient.

There was only one couple inside a very dark bar. The music was some sort of innocuous ska, and the bar stool reasonably comfortable. I was presented with a menu of very fancy cocktails but ordered a scotch. The bartender with his shirt unbuttoned to the navel poured me a Laphroaig, noticed that there wasn’t really a whole second pour left in the bottle and poured me the rest. I thanked him and spent the next hour watching fairly normal bar things happen and walked back to my hotel.

My hotel is… weird. I love that they describe it as spacious because it is exactly the opposite of spacious. It’s the first hotel room I’ve been in outside of Europe where the toilet is in the shower. It’s nice, but small. Which is fine, since it’s not like I’m going to spend much time here.

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