for labor day weekend i went home to brady, Texas. here's a brief overview of some of the goings on:
i took the truck and it performed nominally. i decided to leave work early to see if i could make it to mason by 7:30pm so i could surprise my parents and brother and his girlfriend and watch the 2nd pirates of the carribean movie with them. i was making good time until i hit austin. at 5 minutes before 5pm. the east side was slow moving for 25 minutes or so, then near i-35 it cleared up. a few miles after 71 and 290 split on the west side it backed up...crawling...for miles. i was afraid my engine was going to overheat. by the time i got through that crap it was like 6:15pm. i decided to go for it anyway.
i had been doing ~75mph before austin, now i picked it up to 80-85mph. a car that didn't want me passing it sped up, so i stayed behind him. a few miles later, a cop came over the hill and whipped around on us. i slowed and got in the slow lane, then the car in front of me did the same. the cop passed me, pulled in front of me, and turned on his lights. i kept going. after the marble falls intersection i kicked it back up to 80-85mph. once i got on 29 past llano i went 90+mph most of the way to mason. i got there at 6:45pm, and was a few minutes late for the movie. so i saw it in the same theater as my family, but not exactly with them. i didn't see them until after the movie was over.
the movie was entertaining, but it got pretty absurd in a lot of ways and it totally ended with the intention of having a 3rd one. it was also really long. so overall it was sort of mixed for me -- it had some great parts, but it was too stupid in parts and lengthy overall, and that brings it down some. the special effects were pretty impressive i thought, especially with davey jones.
changing tracks, my dad was in the jaycees when they started the annual event that still happens on labor day weekend in brady -- the world championship barbeque goat cookoff. so most years i head home and go down to the park to eat goat for lunch on saturday. this year was no exception.
even though i enjoy (and need, really) having a few friends around to do stuff with in general, i'm not a big socialite and don't really enjoy going out and meeting a bunch of people and chit-chatting about nonsense. i also don't really like "catching up" with people i hardly remember and honestly don't feel i have much in common with. which doesn't mean i can't do it, i just prefer to avoid it if i can. (call it a character quirk...or just call it a flaw if you don't like such traits.) so one thing i don't like about going to brady is i am likely to end up running into people i knew when i was growing up. i say all that to mention that this time not one single person recognized me at the goat cookoff. yea!
or maybe they recognized me but didn't care to talk to a pompous, snotty jerk like me. (which actually i'm not, i just don't like superficial conversations, going on in excited tones about what each of us is up to and where so-and-so is and "remember when", and all that jazz.) but i'm pretty sure they just didn't recognize me.
as seems to be the case lately, whenever i go home i end up feeling like i'm getting sick when i wake up after the first night there. i had decided it's allergies. this time was the same, however it got worse than it's been before. i'm not sure now if it was just allergies or not. i still think that's probably the case, and me being out at the park just intensified my reaction. but i'm still having some sinus issues as i write this, and it got pretty nasty while i was there.
sunday evening i drove with an ex to brownwood to eat supper. we haven't seen each other in 9 or so years. it was kind of awkward, but so much has happened to both of us that there was definitely plenty of things for each of us to talk about. it's weird how much time changes some things, while other things can make you feel like hardly any time has passed at all. (and by that i don't mean i'm looking to get involved with her, just in case you were going there.)
monday for lunch i ate with my parents at a new place on the square. it's run by the wife of the pastor of my parents' church. when we were driving up to park, i noticed jennifer's suburban was parked out front. she was my first post-marriage relationship, a hometown girl i've had some level of thing for since pretty much the 5th grade. she moved to houston, months after tamara had told me about the affair and in no uncertain terms that she was finished with me and moving on, and eventually we started dating. about 8 months later, she broke up with me. i'm sure she saw me and my parents walk in, but the one time i glanced over at the table she wasn't looking so i never said "hello" or anything. and she never came by before they left. so we managed to not interact.
it's kind of awkward since she broke up with me and i can't help but have feelings for her. she wishes we still had our friendship, but for me it was always a double-edged sword -- i enjoyed our friendship, but there was always a part of me that wanted more than that. i lived for years with that mixture of happiness and pain whenever i was around her. i guess although the scenario is different now since we actually dated, nothing's really changed either. i kind of keep hoping those feelings will go away at some point, but based on the previous track record it seems unlikely.
on the way back to houston i stopped by the graveyard where my grandparents -- as well as numerous other relatives -- are buried. that's something i started doing recently. sometimes i also stop by the house in art, or go up to the church my ancestors helped build. it kind of gives me a chance to reflect on my life, and put it in a larger perspective. a lot of times it makes me cry because...well, because i'm not too happy with what happened with tamara, and that was one of the most important pieces of my life. but sometimes it just makes me realize my relatives also had hard lives and disappointments, and they persevered, and there is still the possibility that my future can be filled with a meaningful relationship and a family of my own.
i also stopped in austin and ate at kerbey lane with my brother. on my way out of town i was at a stop light before getting onto i-35, and a guy with a big bushy beard and a squeegee standing on the sidewalk at the intersection said "nice truck, man." i looked at him and said "thanks." then he said "'65, huh?" i got a big grin because he pegged it and i said "yeah." he said "i've got a few classics myself." then as the light turned and i started off, he said "take it easy, brother!"