Sunday, March 23, 2008

Traveling solo.

Traveling solo.
Current mood: satisfied
I was talking to a friend a few months ago and wondering aloud what I was going to do that evening. The answer came easily to her, being a married woman, with two children: Anything you want, Brigid. Anything you want.

So simple. So true.

A couple of people offered to make the trip to Austin with me, so that I wouldn’t have to drive a thousand miles solo. I declined their offers because I was really looking forward to making the trip by myself.

I realize that I’m at an incredibly lucky point in my life where I am self-sufficient and unattached. And I don’t in any way mean to rub this in the faces of you who have families and landlocked careers. Even those of you who do could likely use a couple of hours of solo time. Or maybe you can just try ordering a pizza by yourself and getting that weird combination of pineapples and banana peppers and no-cheese that no one else in your household will eat.

It’s a great feeling.

I stopped at every brown historical marker I wanted to read. I pulled off when I wanted a bottle of water, or felt like stretching. I went to Graceland. I ate at vegetarian-friendly establishments without a tinge of guilt for dragging my carnivorous friends to a place with tofu on the menu. I left venues where the music sucked. I never had to sit through something just because my company liked it, or pretended to like it. I went home early when I felt like it, and I stayed out late when I felt like it.

When I woke up one morning and didn’t feel like braving SXSW madness, I drove to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch, watched a little film on LadyBird, and wandered around the grounds by myself. I saw LadyBird’s flowers and laid down on an old wooden bench. I skipped around the gravel path because I felt like it.

I stopped when I saw a Longhorn grazing by a cactus just past the fence. We smiled at each other. The Longhorn was hanging out on a beautiful day, enjoying the scenery and eating grass. Exactly what he wanted to do. Just like me. (Except I probably won’t ever be killed and eaten for my flesh.)

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