Mondays are for trivia
I have a few relatives in the South. I don’t talk about them all that often, but they’re there, and they live in portions of Louisiana (my mother grew up in Lake Charles) and parts of Texas, and probably a fair number of other places I’m less familiar with. So when facing the possibility of being stranded in either Austin or Dallas, I was well-covered, as I have a cousin in both locations.
The Austin cousin is named Katie. Back when I first planned this trip, my mother suggested I contact Katie to let her know I would be in town and also-maybe-I-can-meet-her-for-lunch-or-something. But I really didn’t think I’d have the time, since most of my three days were fairly well-planned by the publisher already. And then I got stranded by a hurricane and had almost an entire day of free time.
After getting past the necessary, “how did I not know you were in Austin and why are you here?” exchange, Katie and I agreed to meet for lunch on Monday.
“What would you like to eat?” she asked.
“So far I’ve had a burrito, pulled pork, fajitas, a falafel wrap, and Italian food, and I’m supposed to go out to a steak house Monday night. So maybe whatever’s left?”
We ended up at a place called The Snack Bar, which I’m linking to here so you know where to go if you ever have a hankering for fried Brussels sprouts. (Note: they were awesome. Order them.) I also had something called a Saigon Sub, which I ordered partly because I could recognize only half of the ingredients. (It was also awesome.)
Katie, in case you’re curious, is winning the “most interesting person in this family award” over me. Sure, I have the novelist/cyclist/banker thing going on, but that’s not topping physical-therapist/trapeze-artist any time soon.
No I’m not kidding. She’s planning to run off with the circus someday.
We also discussed the likelihood of my actually leaving Austin on Tuesday, which Katie deemed highly unlikely, because she’d seen all the news stories I’d been ignoring.
My dinner plans ended up being changed from a night out at a steak house to pizza-in-the-lobby because everyone involved was basically exhausted and too worried about the storm to speak politely to the general public.
I was exhausted too despite a nap, but I was notified that Austin is essentially the pollen capital of the world and this made me feel a little better about not feeling so hot.
And Katie was trying to interest me in dinner-and-trivia, which happened to be taking place near the hotel in a bar/restaurant called North by Northwest, and there would be beer and frivolity and so on. And the trivia event was actually called “Geeks who drink” and who could pass that up?
Geeks who drink
I didn’t agree to go until after I’d wheedled Katie into driving me to the airport the following (very early) morning, which she was happy to do because she fully expected the flight to be canceled.
“Look at the map,” she would say every time we walked past a television set, with all sets running a more or less continuous image of the weather map of Sandy, along with shots of a crane on 57th street that for some reason was going to fall any second.
“Planes fly,” I would counter. “We’ll go over all of that and land safely in Boston on the other side.”
“Yeah, you’re not flying tomorrow.”
Trivia was a great amount of fun. I’m more accustomed to the kind of bar trivia known locally as “the sucky kind” where the bar is too crowded, the host isn’t interesting, the questions are canned, and so on. But this was outdoors under a tent, and the host was a clinically insane person who had a tendency to break out into dance numbers last seen on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. And the questions were brilliant enough that I was kind of hoping I got held over another week.
(Quote, from all of Katie’s friends, and the host, to me– “Yeah you’re not flying tomorrow.”)
I’m not going to give you a trivia blow-by-blow because I’m pretty sure the only thing less interesting would be my describing how my fantasy team is doing, but I will say that our team– me, Katie and her boyfriend Brent— came in third behind two six-person teams. So we did well.
Okay there was one question I want to talk about. It was, “Name the two leads in the movie Prizzi’s Honor.” I was perfectly happy to know the answer to this (Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner) and could have gone the rest of my life not hearing the next thing the host said, which was, “I know you were all fetuses when the film came out…”
THANKS SO MUCH.
Tuesday on a non-canceled flight
I woke up Tuesday morning to a non-canceled flight to Dallas followed by a non-canceled flight to Boston. I texted Katie, whose last words to me the night before were, “I expect a text from you in the morning telling me the flight is canceled” with the news that the flight was not canceled.
Not only was it not canceled, it actually happened, on time and everything.
And I swear to God the captain said, as he described the path of the flight home, “There’s a lot of bad weather in New York still, but we’ll be going over all of it.”
There is an entire bar of people in Austin who owe me a beer.