Two summers ago, Michael, Anna Marie, and I embarked on a weekend trip to Austin. En route to ATX, we decided to make a pit stop in New Braunfels. New Braunfels is famous for two things:
1. It is home of Wurstfest, a festival dedicated to German food, polka, and beer (more like Bestfest)!
2. The Guadalupe River runs through it, which means folks can go tubing!
There is nothing better on a hot (read: 103° and suffocating) summer day than to sit in a tube and lazily float down a river with some friends and beers, so we visited the Tube Haus and kicked our celebratory weekend off right.
After going through all the folderol of payment, tube selection, and sunscreen application, we finally set foot in the river. Y’all, that water was as cold as Voldemort’s heart. I felt like Rose at the end of Titanic. Ugh, it was dreadful. To make matters worse, by the time we acclimated to the water and sat in our tubes, we realized that the river was at a record-setting low so we had to perpetually hoist our hips to avoid unfortunate rock encounters.
Despite these conditions and the fact that our fellow floaters became rather choleric by the end of the trip, we had the loveliest time on the Guadalupe. My joy was only slightly diminished by my consumption of an entire party-sized bag of Ruffles potato chips; I am a disgusting and impulsive person. But still! Floating the river was the perfect pregame to our night out in Austin.
After we got to our Howard Johnson (which, by the way, was the grottiest place I’ve ever been to in my life – it’s worse than Delaware! – and just thinking about it makes me want to bathe in a tub filled with bleach, oh the HORROR) and showered, it was off to the theatre to see Michael’s friend perform in The Drowsy Chaperone then hit up Sixth Street.
Sixth Street is in downtown Austin and is famous for its plentiful bars and music venues. It’s basically a glorified frat house for undergrads at the University of Texas. Anyway, it’s not really our scene, but when in Rome! A few things of note happened that night:
1. I ran into Patrick Swayze! Well, not really, obviously, but I did encounter a bouncer who was quite strikingly Swayze-esque.
I have harbored a huge, unrequited crush on Patrick Swayze ever since watching The Outsiders in Mrs. Burke’s 7th grade Language Arts class. I even wrote him a 12 page love letter. (He never wrote me back. I operate under the assumption that he lost my mailing address.) When he passed away, I received phone calls from my friends’ moms, checking to see if I needed anything. So meeting his doppelgänger was A Big Deal for me.
2. We were dancing at a club and glanced down at our feet – and we realized we were dancing on top of sharks! Y’all, the dance floor was a shark tank. It was disturbing, cruel, and fascinating all at the same time.
3. Most importantly, we discovered that I was severely sun-burned. My memory is that I reapplied sunscreen rather frequently, but I guess I didn’t.
A few days later, after returning to Houston, my skin started to flake and peel off. I looked real unfortunate and like I was suffering from some terrible disease.
To help expedite the process and return my body to normal as soon as possible, I actually started peeling off my own stomach skin! I didn’t lose my tan; I removed it.
Because my chest was also burned, my skin would slough off onto people’s car seats due to seatbelt friction. All in all, I was a pretty gross person to be around for a while. And for the next month I had to drive by myself most places.