Austin – Day 3 (Monday, August 5th)

NOTE to readers – SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM (if you are on the main blog page) and work your way up if you are the type of person that likes chronological order. The first post is “The Backstory”. ALSO –forgive any grammar, spelling, or whatever other writing mistakes you will find in my posts. Yes I love to use dashes and dots – I write how I would speak! Since I am writing from the road my first focus is enjoying the sights and trying to record them as best I can. Therefore, in regards to proof reading  – Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

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I woke up early so I could be up and out early when New Yorker & Guy headed out the door for work. New Yorker offered me a key in case I wanted to get in and out of the house that day but I politely declined (I’m still working on accepting the kindness of strangers!). I was invited again to couch surf with the boys so I decided I would stay yet another day. There is SO MUCH to do in Austin and since I didn’t have a true map of my road trip I wanted to just enjoy the moment.

New Yorker and I headed over to Dolce Vita to grab some coffee. As I was sitting down I checked my Facebook and found a message from my former Cali roommate Brad saying – “I need to talk to you, i have to tell you something, call me when you get up.” Hmmm what could it be? I had a feeling something was wrong but messaged him back that it was 5:30am his time so to just call me when he got up.

After New Yorker left the coffee shop I opened my lap top to get some writing done. As soon as I signed on Facebook I received a message from Brad’s girlfriend Ruth in England stating, “Lindsay have you spoke to Brad?” …

Me: No… He messaged me though. What’s up?

Ruth: Lindsay you need to ring him right away. let me know if he doesnt pick up.

 

At this moment my gut reaction was something happened to Chad  — since Brad moved in with him after we moved out of our place. I tried phoning Brad but since it was only 5:30am he didn’t pick up… so I continued on with Ruth…

Me – I just tried. He didnt answer. What’s going on?

Ruth  – Chad was in an accident yesterday. He died.

Me – Oh no! What?

Ruth – I’m so sorry. He was driving his motorbike and someone pulled out on him. He was killed instantly.

Me -Omg I’m shaking

Ruth – im so sorry babe. its so awful. Brad told me this morning .he’s inconsolable

Me – I can’t breath

 

I fell to pieces. NO NO NO I was just with him last week. This isn’t happening. Chad was always so careful on his bike! Such an experienced rider. WTF! NOOOOOOOOO. It felt like someone had just stuck their hand in my chest and ripped my heart out. I was gutted. The tears just poured down my face and my body felt weak…. a mix between wanting to vomit or pass out. Just writing this brings back those feelings. It still doesn’t feel real. I had said my goodbyes a week earlier because I was leaving on my road trip so I wasn’t expecting see Chad for a little while – BUT NOW… I can’t ever see him again.  NO. Please no… not Chad. He’s far too great of a person to have this happen.

He’s the type of friend you come across very rarely in your life. He took care of me, supported me in my goals, drove me nuts with his opinionated ways, and probably helped me gain 5 pounds because one of our favorite things to do together was take the motorcycle out and go find some cool place for lunch.

NO NO NO NO. this didn’t happen to him. I was just on his bike a WEEK ago! We wanted to get one last ride in together before I left. That day was AMAZING… yet I didn’t know Sunday, July 28th would me my last moments with my dear friend. We took the bike down the coast (Pacific Coast Highway) and met friends for drinks at the Beachcomber. We had planned to go back and get ready for Brad’s show (he’s in a band) that night but in our true fashion — we both live in the moment and decided to go to our friend’s house instead!

We had a blast at the show and Chad giggled from the crowd as I jump into the “mosh pit”. The last time he was at that venue he ended up getting hit with a bottle and needed stitches on his forehead. So I decided to take one for the team and participate in my first “mosh pit” – which was more like a bunch of kids running in a circle kicking their legs and pushing each other. I managed to get out with no injuries and we laughed and laughed about it.

That night I stayed on Chad’s couch and we had planned to get breakfast together. I woke up early because I needed to head back to LA later that day. The boys (both Brad and Chad) were a wee bit hungover so I left them in slumberland and went to the beach. Around 3pm Chad had texted me that he was feeling “vaguely human” again and I invited him to meet me in downtown Huntington for one last hoorah. He said he was going to bike downtown to check out the damage after the previous night’s riots – http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-huntington-beach-riot-social-media-20130729,0,4602387.story ) –  but we never ended up connecting before I left to drive back to Hollywood.

The next morning as I was preparing to leave for my cross country journey Chad had texted me jokingly saying I should just get a bunk bed with Brad and stay with them. I wrote back “hahahaah tempting” and he responded with a sad face. We sure had some gooood times together and I know he was bummed that Brad and I moved out of the front apartment and I that was leaving.

From the road I had been snapchatting and texting him and in his straight up protective fashion he wanted to make sure I stayed hydrated and checked my car’s oil and water at every gas up… ooooh CHAD. Always looking out for others!

But now he was gone.

Given it was still so early on the west coast I didn’t know who to call or what to do. I was on this patio in Austin all alone (well I had LaRoo of course!). I tried calling my Mom. No answer. Thank goodness for Facebook chat – I chatted with Ruth and it provided me some sort of comfort.

I sat.

And I sat.

I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t think. NOTHING made sense to me.

A couple of hours later and the calls starting coming in from my west coast friends. Hearing their heartache and disbelief was like a knife in the heart. It made it real.

I must of looked a mess because a kind man came over to me and asked if I was ok. I briefly explained what happened and he sent his regards.

I sat on that cafe patio in 104 degree heat til 4pm. I had not eaten. I drank 2 cups of coffee and water which I could barely stomach. I was simply heart broken. I’ve never lost anyone so suddenly.

NOTE: Thanks to everyone who reached out to me at this time via facebook, text, & phone. I felt the comfort in your thoughts and words.

I decided I wanted to clear my head as best I could so I searched for a place and found Twin Falls. I mapped where I was going and I was off… I ended up getting lost several times. I just couldn’t think straight. I eventually found where I was to park, packed my backpack (that Chad had given me a few weeks back because he knew I needed one), and started walking.

I walked for about 10 minutes in the heat before LaRoo refused to walk and I was pouring sweat. There was supposed to be a watering hole but as I came to the river it was bone dry. Not in the mood to continue exploring, I made my way back to my car. I needed to try to eat something so I drove back toward downtown Austin.

My head was so foggy it took me a bit of time to figure out where I wanted to go. I parked alongside 5th street and Yelped dog friendly happy hours. I found a few and called J. Blacks…simple because the whole name of the place is J. Blacks. Feel Good. Now. I needed something, ANTHING, to make me feel better.

I developed the habit of calling places to confirm they are dog friendly as well as ask about specials and the parking situation (THIS IS A MUST – when you are in a new town with new parking regulations signs can be misleading… and we all know how sign-challenged I am!). Once I got the green light on the dog I found a place to park and made my way to a patio table at J. Blacks.

A waitress came over and took my order, a beer and some chips/guac/salsa combo thingy. My phone kept whistling at me (my chosen alert for texts…if you have an IPhone you should totally set it to whistle at ya!)…friends were texting and calling me and I was in between tears when the waitress came back with my drink. NOTHING like having a beer on an empty stomach to make ya feel better (sorry liver…but I’ll detox you later!). We got to chatting and she asked where I was from.

She also has a passion for travel and when I told the news I learned earlier in the morning she has also lost a few friends to motorcycle accidents. She was so sweet and kind and when I told her I was looking for live music that night she walked around the corner to get me the Austin paper with events. SIMONE – if you are reading this THANK YOU so much for being sweet, patient (as I was on the phone a lot), and kind to me during my visit at J.Blacks! I managed to eat a tiny bit but I think LaRoo ended up eating the majority – little piggy that she is.

Yesterday New Yorker said that if I stuck around for Monday night we could go out for a motorcycle ride to this one awesome spot to get photos of the Austin skyline. Having made these plans before I heard the news about Chad I was torn as to what to do. My gut just told me to go for it. It’s amazing what happens when you just trust your instincts. I had been looking forward to telling Chad that I went for a ride because I knew he would have been so happy.

I met New Yorker back at his house and we were on our way. He was aware of what had happened to Chad so he was extremely careful. My last text message from Chad was about BBQ… he had mentioned several times to eat Texas BBQ! New Yorker and I drove over to Green Mesquite and shared a plate of deliiiiiiiiiicious food. He had some ideas in mind of where to go so I just trusted him and did my best to enjoy the ride. We next went over to a park along the Colorado River where you can stand on a hill and get a great shot of the skyline. We laid in the grass, looking at the skyline and stars, and just hung in that moment. THIS IS WHAT LIFE IT ABOUT. Enjoying the small stuff. Feeling grateful for each moment we get. Not thinking about what comes next but about what is happening right NOW.

Next we drove up and down South Congress before heading back to the apartment. As I sat on the back of that bike I had so many thoughts swarming through my head. I was in disbelief. My friend isn’t gone. NO. Please no.

I will forever be thankful for New Yorker for making that happen. To be able to honor my friend like that… I know he was smiling down on us and keeping us safe. THANK YOU!

Once back at the apartment, exhausted and tired, it time to get some rest….what a day.

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