Weekend Coffee Share: Sayonara, San Antonio!
If we were having coffee, I’d pass on the coffee and have some minty tea instead.
I’d explain that I spent the last several days in San Antonio, Texas for work, and that I drank at least twice as much coffee as usual to rouse myself after awakening so early each morning. There’s still so much surplus caffeine coursing through my veins that I need to back away from it today for any chance of decent sleep tonight.
I had this funny idea as I departed for Texas that I’d have tons of quiet time to soak in the tidiness and space of my hotel room. I’d get the kind of I’m-an-introvert dream break that I’ve been craving since I learned firsthand–almost two years ago–that finding a little breathing room is about a million times harder with two young kids than one.
I’d shake my head with a rueful grin. I could not have been further off! For starters, being away from my kids was more physically and emotionally exhausting than I’d realized it would be. After the stress of flight, the working hours were longish and heavily interactive. Then, after each workday was over, more discussion ensued over long dinners. I experienced approximately none of the introvert wind-down I’d envisioned as I packed dreamily early in the week.
I’d clarify that I dug the conversation, though you probably wouldn’t need the clarification. I’ve already mentioned multiple times that I love my team and my new job. That’s even more true after this trip, for reasons I confess I don’t have the energy to describe just now, though I’d probably mention with profound gratitude that my primary team colleague (and trainer) … creates safe space like no one I have ever witnessed in my professional career. For someone so used to feeling unsafe, this is the single most remarkable part of a job that will challenge me in all the ways I long to be challenged.
Was my trip relaxing? I’d ask rhetorically. Not so much! But was it rewarding? Amazing? Invigorating? Absolutely!
One of the first things I saw after reaching the hotel was this mind-boggling gas sign:
That’s half the price of gas in Los Angeles right now! (I discovered later this was the more expensive local gas.)
I saw a tree with white leaves in addition to the autumnal colors to which I’m more accustomed:
Later that evening, I walked down to the gas station I’d seen earlier in the day. Two young men opened the door for me. “How ya doin’, sweetheart?” one of them asked as I walked into a wide dining room filled with red-and-white checkered tablecloths covering picnic tables. Indoors!
I enjoyed brief walks outside during the workdays. I was fascinated by little balls of what appeared to be moss on the trees nearest the office. This “ball moss” isn’t actually moss at all, and apparently destroys the branches on which it settles. Still, it was so pretty and novel I couldn’t help but examine it in wonder.
I’d break into a huge grin before telling you about the very bestest part of my trip.
Valentine Logar and I have been blogging friends for about four years. We’ve talked on the phone a couple of times over those years, so that I felt like I met her years ago. I didn’t need to meet her body to feel like I’d met her in more substantial ways, you know? All the same, I knew she lived in Texas and wondered if this might be our chance to meet in body, too.
She drove down to San Antonio on Wednesday evening.
When she pulled up to my hotel and hopped out, I hugged her once and almost started crying when I asked for another hug. It just felt so right to finally meet fully! I couldn’t explain it better than that even if I did feel more rested.
Together with her lovely companion, we made a trek to her longtime favorite Mexican restaurant.
We shared our love of expletives–don’t look so surprised!–and laughed over her favorite expletive-filled Facebook posters. We talked about many other things, but that’s neither here nor there.
What’s here and there is that she was as thoughtful and brash and loud and compassionate as I’d imagined after reading so many of her words the last several years. She was pure strong-but-sweet Texas in a way I could not have understood without hearing her talk and seeing her move. And, oh! Our gas station stop en route to the hotel was best of all! I wish I had an Instagram video of it, for I’d play it over and over and over again if I ever got to asking myself, “What did Texas feel like again?”
I do remember saying I thought I’d see someone open carrying a gun in light of recent politicking. “You’d have to go to Wal-Mart!” she told me, laughing and saying I’d have to find another ride for that. I chuckled and said I surely understood.
(Even as we laughed, I found myself hoping she makes her way to SoCal someday. I’d happily make a long drive for more time with her!)
At the hotel afterward, a man 100% stereotypical cowboy in appearance got on the elevator with me. As he let me off the elevator first, he drawled, “Have a good evenin’, hear?” and I felt ripples of I’m-really-in-Texas! excitement.
Whew! I’d say then. I’m all out of steam after that monologue! I’d apologize for running on so long before looking at you and asking what’s new with you.
I’m in no hurry, so please! Take all the time you need.