Austin will always have my heart (and my book)
You should probably have a little more background information on me here; so as to truly comprehend this situation I was in. So here it is:
I am a notorious stickler for keeping all of my possessions on my person at all times, especially when I am traveling. I am that person that checks my pockets once, twice, three times, and once more to be sure that, yes, yes my keys are in fact in my pocket. Did I lock the car? Let me run to my patio window in range of my vehicle, and click the lock button on my key fob down for a solid 8 times. Then and only then am I internally satisfied that yes, my car is in fact locked. (Side note I have a minor anxiety disorder as well and it definitely is a contributing factor to these funky OCD-like quirks I suffer from.) So if I do end up losing something I feel this very painful empty void inside my soul. From priceless heirloom necklaces to hair ties, the lost object just causes my anxiety to spike and generally makes me feel shitty. Needless to say; I DON’T LOSE MY SHIT. Like ever. So you can understand that when I lost my book ( my only source of entertainment besides people watching at the Austin International Airport) I was caught a bit off guard.
So here’s what happened:
I was in a weird combination of sad and giddy moods after my best friend dropped me off at the airport in Austin, the newest city I will be moving to in the upcoming months. I was upset about leaving her because we had had such a fun past week, but I was happy about the future memories to be had in Texas. I was at odds with myself and needed to take my mind off it all. I had a solid hour before the initial boarding call of my plane. I slacked 45 minutes of this time away by people watching and calling my mom to tell her of my emotional predicament. I was also able in this time to finish the preface of my newest book that I had been excited to start. THEN IT HIT ME. (pause for dramatic effect.)
Everything went blank in my head and a line of forehead sweat began to form. Followed by a gurgling sound from my gut (and not where most gurgling sounds should be coming, your mouth, the former is way more disturbing/upsetting.)
Diarrhea. It was happening.
It was happening soon too, judging by the gurgling combination of sound that was happening inside me. I needed to remedy this situation. Fast. Gurgle.
I had managed to fit my week long trip worth of necessities and clothing into a single backpack along with a skateboard and a massive water bottle. So I wasn’t traveling light at the time. I grabbed what I thought was all my belongings and quickly but swiftly, so as to not draw attention to what was occurring inside my body, rushed to the women's restroom. Luckily the bathroom was not more than 20 feet from where I had been sitting in the terminal. I was in the bathroom for maybe all of 10 minutes, but honestly it could’ve been longer. You never really have a clear grasp of time during situations like these, especially when one doesn’t carry or even own a wrist watch.
Fast forward about 10 minutes and my crisis was resolved. I then decided that I needed something salty like very badly, probably due to the dehydration. So I headed to the quick mart that was next to my gate and decided to just post up there for the next 5 minutes before boarding; nomming down my Chex Mix. THEN IT HIT ME. (pause for dramatic effect, again.)
Where the eff did my book go?
I distinctly recall removing it from my stuffed bag so as to enjoy it on the plane without the hassle of rummaging through it in those tiny, confined seats. I remember this so sharply because I really thought I was being so organized and on top of it all.
My first thought. I must’ve left in on those seats across the way, where I had previously been lounging before my IBS induced melt down…(ha gross reference.) Alas it was not there. Instead what was there was a male person in my seat. He gave me the concerned/worried eyes as I stealthily darted my gaze around his body and general area. No doubt he was thinking I was some kind of bomb plotting freak that had just discovered the perfect spot to ignite my device. I even did the struggle crouch down to look under his person; with my 20 pound backpack I was strapped into weighing me down. No such luck. I knew I couldn’t just keep standing there staring at him all day in hopes my book would reappear. Also, I felt like he really wasn’t enjoying my probing presence.
Next thought, bathroom. I ran over to check what I had assumed was the stall I was in. But I couldn’t be sure if it even was the right one; it was a stressful situation I had been in and my mind wasn’t operating at 100%. Also, all those airport stalls look the same anyway. I investigated 3 stalls with no luck either.
The next logical step was to back track to the quick mart. At this time my gate was boarding and my time frame for recovering my belonging was dwindling. I shuffled back, but no dice, no book at the quick mart. I even asked the counter lady to be sure; who now looking back I wished I had smiled at more so as to be more receptive of her concern for my clearly dire circumstance.
Alright, I thought, back to the bathroom for a double take. I’m kind of wondering now if anyone has begun to track my chaotic back and forth hustle I was doing in the terminal. Maybe the airport security cameras are already onto me, maybe they really do think I am a suicide bomber. I felt like a genuine weirdo and that everyone’s eyes were on me; like the crazy lady in the spotlight. My heavy backpack and my waddle walk I was doing to support the thing was definitely not helping my situation either. These were the thoughts that came fluttering in and out of my head. Thanks anxiety.
I returned back to the same bathroom for the third time and realized that the stall I am almost positive I was in is occupied now. So I stood weirdly out of place waiting for the occupant to exit. Women around me were pushing past to the open stalls and were totally judging me as this crazy street urchin (skateboard, remember.) Most likely thinking, “why is this strange, sad girl hanging out in the bathroom and in such an inconvenient spot at that. Is that what the kids are doing these days?”
Despite their judgmental looks I managed to track down a janitorial woman who was meandering on the stall bank opposite of me. I rushed up to her and asked if anyone had turned in a book. “Un libro?” She responded with. Light bulb. I took this woman more fully into sight. Upon further inspection discovered that she was straight up fully of the Mexican descent and then I remembered that I was in Texas (basically Mexico’s older show-off brother.)
I responded with the little Spanish language I remembered, “si un libro.” She took that as a green light that I was maybe somewhat fluent in her language (I am in fact, not) and then proceeded to string together a sentence of what I can only assume was coherent sentences. But it all sounded like exotic, jumbled noise to me. At that moment I wished I had studied harder in my Spanish classes and made a mental note to definitely brush up on my that before I move to Texas for good.
I responded with clearly nothing but silence (because yo no hablo espanol) and she shrugged and gave me a blank stare and continued back out to her cart, the universal sign for “sorry no dice, no book here, mi amiga.”
I glanced back at my gate almost everyone from the crowd that had formed earlier had boarded the plane and the doors were closing in like 3 minutes. I headed back to my gate defeated and bookless. (Siri is telling me that bookless is not an actual word here. But what would you call having just lost your book, one that you were all hopped up on good vibe energy to read, due to some gastrointestinal emergency then, Siri?)
I asked the Jet Blue agent at my gate as one last hail Mary attempt to recover my only entertainment source for this 4 hour flight, to no avail. She did however have another book tucked away in her lost and found area. I gave her the title of my book and seeing that it did not match the one she had so clearly been hoarding, she said no. I was tempted to ask her if I could just have that weathered, sad looking book that no doubt had been sitting on that shelf for a decent part of its’ life, probably just waiting its’ owners return. I wanted to rescue that book. I needed reading material and my hands all of a sudden felt so empty without uno libro in them. “Sometimes it feels like this book rescued me tho, am I right?” The rushed look she gave me as she hand motioned me to the floating hallway that connects the plane to the airport told me that I should probably just get on the plane, because everyone else was waiting on me and we were already 4 minutes past the time door closing time. It just was not in the cards at that time to go through the process of a book adoption.
I endured the flight bookless. But luckily Jet Blue has fancy TV’s and I passed the time with repeat episodes of ‘My 600-lb Life.’
This post has no official end because I never found my brand new book in the Austin Airport. So it’ll end as abruptly as my IBS abruptly hit me in the airport, so as to keep an air of authenticity to this shit show (literally) of story. However looking back upon it now. I kind of see this incident as my future city keeping something hostage till I return. Austin just couldn’t bear to have my entire presence leave so instead it took my book as a placeholder. That or I just really need to start taking some kind of probiotic pill to control my temperamental inner body parts. Regardless don’t worry Austin I’m coming back to recover my book very, very soon.