It took me 45 minutes to drive the one mile to downtown last night (yes, I am single-handedly keeping BP in business). There are three things that make Jen cranky: Extreme humidity, hunger ….. and traffic. Its Republic of Texas (ROT) Rally weekend in Austin. For this, everyone that owns, or pretends to own, a motorcycle within 300 miles of Austin rolls into town to take shots and do stupid things on dirty 6th street. It’s a mini-sturgis. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those haters of things that bring people to this ridiculously awesome city. I love the bikers. At least while I was sitting in the completely gridlocked downtown Austin I had AC, great music and glorious people watching.

HP and I used to say “Fucking trail of lights” every time we got stuck in traffic. This was because every year around Christmastime, Austin would roll out the Trail of Lights just a mere .25 miles from our apartment. Thousands of cars would line up for miles to drive through the park and gape at pieces of wood shaped like snowmen and presents lined with 25 cent twinkly lights. Meaning, we were pretty much shut-ins unless we were willing to fight an hour of traffic to get 3 blocks from our home. Its like fireworks. I don’t get it. Please explain to me again why we think it is so amazing to look at strands of lights wrapped around objects or explosions in the sky? They bore me. Beer please.

Side Bar: The only time I was ever stimulated by twinkly lights was the Pelzer light people. It was a neighborhood just outside of Greenville, South Carolina, where my parents lived. It was kinda white trashy. And this family would do up their house then wrap themselves from head to toe in lights and stand at the end of their driveway waving at people. That, for some reason, was highly entertaining. We went in the minivan and kept the side door open, drive by style. I hate shows like Cops and Dawg the Bounty Hunter because I truly feel embarrassed for the people that those shows exploit, but for some reason I enjoyed seeing these jackasses wrapped in 50 lbs of Christmas lights, wandering around their driveway. I bet the kids are now old enough to fight the tradition. “But Dad, I want to go TP Fatty Patty’s house tonight, I don’t want to stand on the driveway chained to a power cord waving at people. Plus Susan might see me.” “Son, you will wrap your ass in these lights and you will wave like the queen of the gay pride parade, because the money that people throw in this bucket to help pay for the electricity bill is going to send you to college!”

And we’re back. Now, I hear, the city is saving money by shutting down the Trail of Lights. No argument here. I’d much rather put up with traffic because all of the bikers in town. From now on, traffic, regardless of where it is or why, will be met with “Fucking ROT Rally.”

Me and Berta, stuck in the biker parade

I will live this weekend as if I had no car, because it will be sleeping in my downtown parking garage until Monday. After I literally hopped up on the sidewalk and took out two orange cones yesterday to finally put Berta to rest in the garage, I have no desire to finesse my way back home with that piece of machinery. That, and by the time I went home last night there was a bit too much vodka running through my veins to safely put this fine piece of human machinery behind anything with horse power.

Tonight is the tour send off and CD release party for an incredible band called Stonehoney. If you are in Austin, head to Threadgills South. These guys will blow you away. I just have to figure out how the hell I am going to get there. Forget calling a cab. It takes hours because of all the people that wish they owned Harleys and who want to get downtown to gawk at the real deal. Maybe if I just start walking that direction someone will let me hop on their hog…