Monday, January 7, 2019

I've Thrown Up Once per Day in 2019...

Following last week's inspiring, happy-go-lucky post, I felt like we were due for some upset.

I write this from the city of Austin, Texas, where things are not going well.

Despite photographic evidence to the contrary.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's proooobably not Austin's fault.  Austin has been great and I needed a break from Los Angeles after the New Year's Eve I had.

I'll get back to Austin in a minute.  First, I need to talk about my awful New Year's experience.  (Fun fact: large portions of this post later became a Yelp review!)  (I don't like to leave one-star reviews but just listen.)

So the bar's name was Clayton's.  Three friends and I had gone downtown for New Year's Eve.  There's a big countdown in Grand Park.  We were moseying our way there and stopped at a bar.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  Am I about to complain about the service?  No.  That is not my primary complaint.  We understand that New Year's Eve is going to be staffed short.  We understand that the service might be a little slower than expected.  We understand it's busy.  We came willing to forgive slow service.

No, the thing that bothered me was the racism.

As my party approached the door, a bouncer was arguing rudely with a woman who wanted to come in to use the bathroom.  I'm not clear why he wouldn't let her in because she was over 21 and she was saying to him that she was willing to buy a drink just to be let in.  She was not being belligerent or unreasonable; she was well-dressed and as far as I could tell, completely sober.  She was also black. 

 Artist's depiction of the situation.

I said she could join us so that she would be allowed in.  The bouncer didn't check any of our IDs, which was weird; I look like a damned Cabbage Patch doll, and the lady who needed to use the bathroom appeared to be much older than us.  Why was the bouncer there at all?  To prevent people from using the bathroom?  Our party was all white.  Draw your own conclusions from this.

 Here's a hint...

We were seated at a table immediately and left there for thirty minutes.  No one brought us water.  No one took our drink order.  No one even greeted us or offered a hasty "We'll be with you soon."  It was about 10:30 pm. 

We finally had someone take our drink order.  We ordered beers and wine.  No mixed drinks, nothing fancy.  Our drinks took another fifteen minutes to arrive.  At this point we were a little bit worried because the table next to ours had gotten both drinks and appetizers already.

I ordered the vegetable crudité plate.  For those who don't know what this is, it's a plate of raw vegetables.  Picture carrot sticks.  This should be the easiest plate in the world.  But my food didn't come out with the rest.  Were they growing the vegetables themselves?  For some reason, this vegetable plate took forever.  By the time my plate arrived, my friends were already finished and we were impatiently checking our watches because we wanted to go to Grand Park for the New Year countdown.  We had to ask for our check, explaining our rush.  The check didn't come.  We asked for the check a second time.  It took forever to get.  We ran to the park and because it took so long to get the check, we missed the countdown.  It was an extremely disappointing New Year's.

Plus side: My New Year's resolution to be disappointed is already complete!
...why I made that my resolution, we'll never know.

And to top everything off?  I'm pretty sure I got food poisoning.  About twelve hours after eating the vegetable plate, I was throwing up.  No one else in my party was ill and each of us only had a couple of drinks that night, so I'm inclined to think it was the raw vegetable plate, which was the only item that was not shared.

I ended up going home alone on a bus that night, furious at the world.  Furious about the way that lady was treated, furious that I'd missed the countdown, just... indignant as fuck at everything that had happened that evening.

After spending New Year's Day puking a lot thanks to Clayton's, I decided to go on a roadtrip to Austin with Jack, because nothing calms an upset stomach like a twenty-hour car ride.

We had actually planned the road trip in advance.  Jack moved to Austin for a new job and I had agreed to attend as a chauffeur / life coach / IKEA furniture builder.

(We hit an ice storm!)

We stopped in Phoenix along the way to visit Jack's stepmom, Charlotte, who was incredibly kind and hospitable and fun.  Once in Austin, we got a hotel and went about looking for an apartment.  Jack had (understandably) wanted to see apartments in person before signing any leases.  He had also gotten contacted by some shady "apartment hunter" who directed us to places with actual fucking roaches.

After six visits to locations that practically had rugs laying over big pits in the floor, I went on a search of my own and found a place for Jack.  Not to brag, but it has the largest private athletics club in Austin, pools, spas, bochi-ball courts, and organized wine tastings and poker nights.  It ticked off Jack's major criteria (laminate floors, a balcony, a reasonably good-looking rug to cover the floor pit, et cetera) and so he signed his lease, and we went about the process of furnishing it.

By the way, IKEA now has vegan hot dogs and they're amazing.  Made with 100% real, free-range vegans.

Having toured a few roach-infested apartments and witnessed a hit-and-run (no, really), I was ready to unwind for the weekend.  Half of that was drinking beer and helping Jack build furniture, but part of it was also going to experience Austin's night life.  Austin has a vibrant gay community with multiple leather bars.  Since I have the title of LA Pup and am also temporarily internet famous right now, I had agreed to go to a few bars to meet the local pup community.  We hit up the Iron Bear, Sellers, and Bout Time 2, and I got to meet with some really incredible people.

All of whom were taller than me.

Unfortunately, I fell ill after the first bar.  I know it wasn't the crudité plate because Iron Bear doesn't have a crudité plate and also, gays would never mess up a crudité plate.  I assume it was simply moving to a new place and getting exposed to some weird strain of something.  I spent the day puking and the night swallowing my vomit and putting on a smile.

Funnily, one of my questions during my title contest was how I planned to balance my own life and mental health with the responsibilities of the title itself. I think I said something about, you know, boundaries or something?  And also, you know, being med compliant, talking to a therapist, et cetera.

Little did the judges realize...

At least in theory, people do not have the right to unlimited access to you, even if you win a title, even if you're famous, even if you're important.  No individual should have to be any other individual's emotional tampon; help should not be an obligation.  After all, other people's problems can affect you, so you should have the right to say no if you're not feeling up to listening or hanging out or taking part in a social situation.

That being said...

One of the guys asked me to come out because he had a present for me.

Pay tribute to me, minions!

How am I supposed to say no to that??  Everyone was so welcoming and nice and excited to meet me, and I had so many invitations, and turning down those invitations felt worse than any stomachache ever could.  Don't worry, I totally practiced self-care.  When they offered me free shots, for example,  I very responsibly only drank peppermint schnapps to try to calm my stomach down.

I was so sick I couldn't even play Pac-Man very well.  
Although I destroyed Jack in Skee-Ball.

Well, I guess a big part of it is FOMO.  I hate disappointing people and only have the one weekend in Austin.  And a year from now, what am I going to remember?  Feeling sick, or having a good time?

I was so sick I had to cancel my flight back to LA.  I'm currently waiting to return to my hometown.  By my estimation, between the food poisoning of New Year's mixed with the current flu, I have probably puked at least once per day since the beginning of the new year.  I'm hoping this just means I'm getting it all out of my system and I'm about to have a great year.

There is a silver lining to all of this, of course.  I missed the countdown, sure, but I also helped and stood up for someone.  I would do that again.  And yeah, I'm sick and stranded in Austin, but I've made a lot of friends here and helped Jack get settled in, and I would do that again, too.

Life isn't about the lemons you're handed, but the lemonade you make from it.  But now that I'm talking about food, excuse me, please.  I need to go puke some more.

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