ADVENTURES IN AUSTIN

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 01:31:36 -0400
From: KramerW@aol.com
To: benbubba@aol.com
Subject: FIshing for Pisces in Austin

AUSTIN, TEXAS: It was late. The Austin fair was just geting cranked up, and wham! I had one of those nightmare sequences. I had just returned from the bathroom, just like in “Pulp Fiction,” and I was adding fliers to the outside table. You know, the advertising. I turned around and a couple of ladies are approaching the table. Tall, stately, elegant, a bit roguish — Sunday morning in South Austin anything goes. One of the women looks at me and says, “Hello Kramer.”

“Hi. Here, have one of these.”

I smiled, turned and returned to my table, scared to death. She knows me, but from where? A few minutes later, after circling around the fair, she stopped to talk. I remembered: I had chatted with her a month before. No need to worry about this being someone I knew from a previous life in this lifetime. It wasn’t someone back to haunt me. It wasn’t!

That one scared me, Bubba. I was worried, if only for a few minutes. But wait. It gets worse. I got stuck with the final lecture slot on Sunday afternoon, a slot that does not allow for a large attendance. I figured out what the deal was: The woman who coordinated the lectures is a Pisces. Yesterday she’d complained about my forecasts for Pisces in my monthly newsletter, saying they were getting shorter and shorter. She felt like I was doing her an injustice. OK, she is editing the local newsletter. I will pay more attention to Pisces. But look: It’s not my fault that the whole sign is suffering from an onslaught of reality brought on by our friend Saturn. Besides, between you and me, Bubba, reality is overrated.

Since her monthly astrological forecast was getting shorter, she saw to it that I got shortest lecture draw. Remember the classes in college right after lunch? The sleepers? Same thing. All because Saturn is in Pisces. That’s the trouble with being an astrologer: I get blamed for what the planets do.

But that’s not what I was going to explain. My Gemini dinner date gathered me up after the fair, and we traipsed off for South Austin food. After awhile, it became abundantly clear she wanted to go grocery shopping. This is the same person who told me about a real Texas night, late-summer style: carrot juice, vodka and chocolate chip cookies. Go figure. I guess you had to be there.

Tonight evolved into one of those things. She wanted a few groceries — washers and garlic — but the trip turned into a pleasant time at Amy’s. The Amy’s Ice Cream on Guadalupe is nowhere near the grocery store. But after a day of doing readings it became near the grocery store. Besides, I was letting the Gemini drive and who knows what they will come up with.*

The store was packed. A line snaked its way out into the parking lot. Sunday night, after ten. Where do these people come from? There were the usual suspects and then there were the patrons. I’ve told you before, and I’ll tell you again: I want to work at Amy’s — it looks like too much fun. As soon as we walked in, a girl behind the counter started a contest for free ice cream. “Eat four sugar cones in a minute, and you get a free ice cream. Who wants to try it?”

She attempted to goad me into the gambit, but it didn’t work. I had already eaten as much as I could and I was merely humoring my friend. In stagger in a couple of your typical student-ghetto types: long hair, earrings, faded t-shirts, nondescript shorts, baseball hats on backwards, glassy eyes, the usual. The last of this motley crew was conned into making a fool of himself. To be fair, he wasn’t that foolish, and he most likely felt like a victim of circumstance. Here’s this cute girl saying, “You can do it! Come on! Free ice cream!” and the rest of us in line chanting his name.

No, he didn’t make it. But it was close. He was having trouble chewing the last bit when the store counted down the last ten seconds. I’ll bet he got free ice cream anyway. That’s the way it is at Amy’s. When it was finally our turn to order, with The Beatles blaring on the hi-fi, the kids behind the counter were singing and dancing. That part didn’t really bother me, but I couldn’t help but notice that no one behind that counter had even been born when the White Album came out. Yet they knew some of the more obscure lyrics, word for word.

I mentioned this fact and the rabble rouser of the crowd asks me, “How would you know?” Think, Bubba, when was the White Album released? To cap it off, I had been dealing with birthdays all day. I was in work mode.

The ice cream was a blessing, I had Butterfingers and bananas mixed in mine. The Gemini friend dropped me off at home, and here we are.

Oh yeah, the scary girl. I couldn’t find one of my FGS cards so I gave her one of yours. If you get a date out of the deal, please name the first child after me. Or an ice cream store, if it’s a female. Me? I’m drinking herb tea and calling it a weekend.

* Gemini is always plural. Believe me. It’s an astrology thing.

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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