Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lance and the Texas Trip

So the bald guy sets up a meeting with client down in Austin last week. I had never been there, but now that I have, am busy setting up an exit plan from the business and making some adjustments to accommodate a move there someday. In 30 hours I experienced a pretty decent go over of the city. I think I could live there, ride there, be there, a great place.
We arrived around rush hour after kicking a bunch of cowboys off the plane in Dallas. We programed the GPS and made our way to the hotel. By the way, if you don't already have a GPS to navigate foreign places, get one quick. I have one of these and it does the trick pretty good. However, beware while talking and texting on the cell. If you don't pay attention to the device while discussing family matters and/or business, you will miss things, like pedestrians and cyclists.

One of the stops was in Westlake Hills, an affluent suburb of Austin that boasts, yes, our boy Lance Armstrong as a resident. We made light of the fact that we would sooner or later bump in to him just hanging around the area. Not that we were stalking him, because that is not my style, we were there setting up an eating disorder clinic of which he was to be involved in some way, so said our client. He is a pretty decent community guy, they told us. We were prepared to handle and encounter if such an occasion would present itself, with stories of our recent dirt crit series, some wallet pics of me in a team kit. I put a good smooth shave on my calves that morning, just for Westlake.

I hate to brag and all, but stuff like spontaneous superstar encounters just happens to me. I am a star magnet, for whatever reason and I need to write about it for just a sec. Ask my wife. I have many (encounters) to my credit in the past couple years. We make contact because...well it's the girls. Natalie and Janie are kind of nice to look at, so if we end up in the right place at the right time, things heat up. Whether its Jerry Springer strolling St. Armand's Circle in Sarasota, Chris Daughtry in Manhattan Beach or Ed Bagley Jr. in Telluride, never do we miss an opportunity to strike up a conversation with these people. We keep an eye out, and usually get a a little something out of whomever. No pics, no autographs, just good ole chatter. The key: lose the tourist look.

So it could have happened at any time, our encounter with Lance, and we were prepared to rise to the occasion. Since we were both hungry it was important that we found a brew pub, and fast, to take the edge off the travel fatigue. Kevin struck up a conversation with a tired corporate attorney on the plane and she gave us the skinny on the entertainment scene. After finding a couple cool spots with yeasty flavored beer near the University, we ventured to the Warehouse District to find a place to eat. Truluck's of Austin proved to be the number. A high number when it came to paying the bill. kaff, kaff.

I couldn't help but notice Antone's Music Hall as we were searching for a parking place. A bunch of Emo's were hanging out front, in line, smoking and doing their thing, Converse high tops on every one of them. I looked up at the marquis and there it was, Blind Melon! Freaking Blind Melon was playing! It was a must do for me and the bald guy. And lets not forget, Lance surely wouldn't miss a one night show of this 90's (kind of) grunge band of yesteryear. Shanon Hoon (overdose) has been replaced by (once biggest fan) Travis Warren as lead vocals. I was a fan back in the day. The band seems to be re-emerging, a re-invention of what lies ahead and what once was. We ran in to Travis while strolling 5th street. He was screaming at somebody into the cell phone while outside his tour bus. We went ahead and bought tickets to the show.

After a couple songs I thought I would venture to the head for a break. I motioned to Bald Guy from the Mosh Pit that I was out. I used the facilities, the walls covered in posters, stickers and graffiti from years of bands coming and going. I opened the door to return to my spot at the front of the stage and wham! Greatness appeared before me.
Nope, not Lance, It was Antone's famous Shoe Shine Guy!

It is not everyday you encounter someone as authentic as this and I wasn't going to let this one slip by. The picture below pretty much tells the story. I asked (Charlie, I think was his name) if I he would mind me taking a picture. I tried to explain my quest for encounters, the search for celebrities etc. Then it occured to me. The best encounters are those with true authenticity. Shoeshine Charlie was certainly the most interesting person I had met in a while and he couldn't even talk, he was mute. So fellers, Lance will have to take a backseat to the blog this week, while we take a trip down authentic lane and Charlie's contribution to the Austin music community. While Charlie couldn't talk, I heard whathewastalkinbout by the smile on his face. I got my encounter, and in a big way.

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