The dreadfulness of the world outside the Austin City Limits festival continues. A couple of weekends ago my Dallas-based friend Lauren and her roommate, Holly, were in town for the festival. Lauren arranged to meet up with me after the festivities. It was around 11 pm, and she and Holly were ravenous. We were in East Austin, so the only food available would come from food trucks. Normally, everyone is happy to frolic in the fields of food trucks in East Austin. But this particular weekend, the Heavens hath opened to remind us that the universe is still, as always, happy to ruin our lives with weather. It had taken them a while to find parking, and then it took them a while to escape from the paunchy pervert who had stationed himself outside their vehicle.
Lauren explained that a man approached her car and asked her to roll down the window. She had, slightly. This was a controversial move, according to Holly. The man asked if he could have a ride. Lauren explained they had just parked. “Well, if you’re parked, you should get out. You shouldn’t just sit in your car.” Then he just stood there. Waiting.
Lauren explained over the phone that she would be walking to meet me, but she had to wait for the man with dubious motives to make himself scarce. Incensed, I decided to stomp through the rain to where they were parked, and shoo the weirdo away, or drown him in a puddle, or make fun of him until he cried. Whichever seemed quickest. “Wait, he’s leaving.” Lauren said. “He’s following some other girl.”
It was then a man with salmon pants and a dumb shirt stretched over an ample belly walked up to me and said, “This rain sucks, doesn’t it?” I default assume everyone’s a serial killer, so I hurried in the other direction, without acknowledging his existence. Lauren and I compared notes later and confirmed we had encountered the same mook.
I thought we had a chance of both a food truck and shelter on the back patio of nearby Cheer up Charlie’s. We squeezed through a rude, sweltering crowd only to discover the decorative tent I remembered in the backyard was purely decorative, and no help whatsoever.
The tent was a bust, but there was a covered stage, opposite a sea of puddle. Getting to the taco truck felt like swimming to a submerged taco submarine. After they gathered some vegan tacos, we found chairs so they wouldn’t have to sit on the stage’s repulsive carpet, spattered with unidentifiable crumbs. Out shoes weren’t shoes anymore, just watery prisons for our raisin toes. We laughed hysterically at our gross misfortune. This, I thought, must be what being a marine is like.
The next day, Austin City Limits had reached its limit. The last day of ACL was cancelled due to rain, meaning Holly wouldn’t get to see Atoms for Peace, the band she had primarily come to see. But they did get a refund for the cancelled day. We met again the next day, to eat a Brazilian lunch under a real roof, in dry clothes. As Holly determinedly sawed her ACL wristband off with a butter knife, they explained they would use their refund on a shopping expedition. Consummate troupers! Besides, they were still exhausted from almost drowning.