I wake up on a tile floor, beset by cats. They play with my toes and pounce on my chest. They jump on my sleeping bag and jump off again. The cats are cute, as are many killers, including Ted Bundy, who worked for a Republican governor’s campaign (please excuse About.com link). Plus, I’m allergic to cats. For this reason, I guess I’d prefer the company of Ted Bundy, were he still among the living, to Mittens or Tabby or Doc.
I eat lunch with the owner of the cats, an expat D.C. punk living in Austin. We drink horchata, eat migas, and talk Texas politics. The ex-pat D.C. punk informs me that Gov. Rick Perry, like former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, may not even finish his term, and that Texas Republicans have split Democratic Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s district into five pieces at Doggett’s house, like a pizza. Though I cannot confirm this, it makes for a good anecdote.
I drop off the expat D.C. punk downtown and wander around downtown Austin. I meet my manager and his former publicist on the east side within sight of I-35, where food trucks churn like the helicopters at the beginning of M*A*S*H*. In this din, we have a conversation about whether Mail Chimp is a more effective spam email program than MacBulk Mailer. My manager and his former publicist defend the former; I defend the latter while drinking a Pepsi. This is rare—-that is, drinking a Pepsi, not defending MacBulk Mailer, which I defend regularly in conversations with my manager or whoever else might be interested in my opinion of spam email programss.
We play a showcase at a deserted bar in South Austin—-our last scheduled performance at SXSW. Though we win over the almost nonexistent crowd, our lives are, in many ways, the same as they were before.
My bandmates go to see The Magnetic Fields, or try to. I go to an old friend’s house for dinner. She and her husband, like many locals, are doing all they can to avoid SXSW. We eat a stir-fry. The tofu is very dry and firm, like the tofu at a restaurant. I’m accustomed to relatively moist tofu when dining at home, so I ask my friend how she dried her tofu. She says that she wraps it in cloth and puts a weight on it “for hours.” When I ask how heavy the weight is, she hands me an iron cylinder about as hefty as a bowling ball. “That’s really fucking heavy!” I exclaim, unafraid to use profanity to express my great surprise.
When it becomes clear that my old friend and her husband plan to go to bed at 10 p.m., I find a deserted parking lot and review my sleeping options: 1) the place I stayed at two nights before with a pit bull mix that wanted to kill me; 2) the place I stayed at the night before with the tile floor and the attack cats; 3) the floor of my labelmates’ somewhat distant motel room; and 4) the minivan. Though option 3 involves a small amount of pleading, an even smaller amount of sneaking, and is a bit pathetic, it is the clear winner. When I arrive at the hotel, my labelmates are in their pajamas watching a tennis match. It is 11:15 p.m.
The next day, I enjoy a complimentary breakfast at my labelmates’ hotel though I am not technically a guest. The hotel offers waffles shaped like the state of Texas. The problem: The waffles are self-serve, and making waffles is a difficult art, hard to master. Though my labelmate claims waffle-making competency, when she produces a waffle, there is a hole in it somewhere near El Paso.