Monday, March 19, 2007

Home is Everywhere

Back home in Denver, after a week or so at SXSW and I'm just now rested up. I love that event but damn, it's exhausting. At the end of the day, you fall into your bed, completely spent, worrying about what other Amazing Thing is going on at that exact moment, what perspective-changing item that you are missing. Sometimes, it feels like an organized, public Burning Man without all the dusty penises, glittered boobs and bottled water. You get so immersed in this concentrated batch of amazingly focused artists – writers, filmmakers, musicians, producers, even the average attending fan - that just keeping an rigid, open-pored attention span kicks your ass. Also, experiencing one amazing conversation after another can be enlightening but ferociously taxing. Even the chit-chat.

For instance, I met a guy under a tree at Brush Park named Keith. He was working the festival, serving beer at his company's promotional tent. I learned about his niece, an independent-minded 30-year-old woman who happens to be blind and deaf. She lives in his house but basically runs the place. I told him that he was a great uncle to give her a home. "Oh, no. She doesn't need me at all," he said, laughing, "I make her live with me to make myself feel better. I don't want to have to worry about her." But she does all the cooking and insists on going to the grocery store – alone – every Saturday. He had to train himself not to move things, as in, anything.

"If I use the salt and don’t put it back in the same exact spot, she'll get mad," he says. "It's the same reason we don't have much furniture in the house. Too much clutter and it's dangerous. Things have to be organized, every thing has a place."

Immediately, I thought to myself: "Hmmm. Sounds like a good documentary." After so many days of this, one starts to view the entire world - at that point, a seemingly endless sea of unmade films - through the eye of a camera lens.

But it's great to be back in my Denver cave and sleep in my own raggedy bed. The weather has suddenly turned into sunny spring days and the city's parks are full. I put air in my bike tires and ventured out to Washington Park myself yesterday to lie in the grass, snuggle up with scattered goose turds, and finish an intense book that HDW lent me. Dogs of every breed and folks of every creed, all moving forward in some kind of fashion. Kind of like being in Golden Gate Park on Sundays except no roller disco or ethnic parades/political protests. Lovely, just lovely.

Still, I must admit to a certain Austin tug at my heart this past week. Can't help it, I feel something when I'm there and it must show for every year, I get mistaken for a local by locals. It happened blatantly twice this year. One time, I was standing in line for (surprise!) a film and started talking to the woman in front of me. When she assumed that I lived in Austin, I corrected her. She looked confused. "Hmmm, that's weird, "she said, "You seem to have such an Austin vibe about you." Oof.

Also, this past week, I stayed with two beautiful new friends, Tiffany and Michael, who provided my own free SXSW resting cave. Tiffany is becoming a certified healer of the spiritual kind and god knows I'll take any and all kinds of help. We had a two-hour session and I'm not sure what happened but I think some rusty doors were opened. There may not be anything much behind them except maybe some old Esquires and neglected ant farm but sometimes it's good to clean house.

Meanwhile, Michael is a foodie, like me. We went out to a fancy dinner at Gumbo's in Round Rock and talked it up. We're talking crawfish, broiled shrimp, asparagus and tabasco-mashed potatoes, fresh bread, tomoto salad and divine red wine followed by Lousiana Bread Pudding and port wine. FUCKING YUM. He insisted the waiter was hitting on me, though I'm not so good at noticing these things. Now I'm now thinking of taking Michael with me everywhere - god knows what else I'm missing.

Still, when T&M asked me to stay another day to enjoy a birthday party they were hosting (Michael tortured me with the elaborate menu he would be preparing - I tried to ignore him but the words "fresh fish", "fennel" and "champagne sauce" managed to get through), I couldn't bring myself to oblige. I love Austin but I was worn out and ached for the place where I actually collect my mail.

When the plane zeroed in for a Denver landing, I looked out the window and smiled. "My mountains!" God, I suddenly couldn't wait to get home to my lil' place, my cheap guitar and my zany batch of new buddies. Once in the door, I was so happy that I laid on the floor and did carpet angels, with my cat mashing her head into my armpit.

And the tug-o-war continues …


Kath said...

This zany buddy is thrilled to pieces you came back.

Next year, we go as a team!

ClizBiz said...

You're on, Kath!

Howard said...

Huzzah! I'm glad you're back and looking forward to see you tomorrow night.

I absolutely adore Austin and had the most romantic night of my life there several years ago.

Glad you're back, but also glad you go to enjoy the hell out of SxSW.

hotdrwife said...

I almost went to Wash Park yesterday. Would've run into you I'm sure!!

And the book ... what do/did you think???

ClizBiz said...

Thanks, Howard. I'd like to hear more about that romantic evening in Austin ...

HDW: Very intense! Makes me realize how poverty is created, as well as our stereotypes of 'hillbillies.'

Heidi's heart said...

Ah, Heather, I sure would like to have that at-home feeling that you so often share with us about Denver. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever find a home on this planet. Hmmm...