Before I begin, let me preface with this. Walker and I are completely aware of how fortunate we are to take any kind of trip. We recognize the privilege to drive even just down the road as we have cars and gas money and eyes that see. We know that. But we are human. And sometimes we show it…bigtime. I’m choosing to write every detail of the weekend, because I never want to forget. Nor do I want to “pull another October 11” as the new catchphrase around our house goes. Now, onto the story. Two weeks ago, Walker and I took a quick trip to Dallas to celebrate our 2-year anniversary and my birthday, and so the affectionate story of Birthversary weekend begins…
After racing home from work on Friday and being told to hurry and pack, my hormonal self lay on the floor of our closet atop dirty clothes and shoes poking me in the back. After five minutes of staring up at 2 full racks of fashionable attire, I heard myself lament, “I have nothing to wear.” And so began the 10 minute tantrum of no longer wanting to go because “I wouldn’t feel cute.” I’m sure Walker was questioning his desire to take me with him by this point, too.
I changed outfits 4 times before finally pulling a trustworthy chambray out of the dirty clothes and dressing myself in wrinkled desperation. I grabbed my antibiotics, threw my rain boots in the truck and positioned my body to the window. I’m such a good companion.
The ride was quiet with intermittent interruptions of Walker’s attempts to lighten the mood. He really is a good companion.
The situation plunged again as hunger pains arrived, and we thought it a good idea to grab a snack. We pulled off the road for that ‘quick snack,’ and before we knew it we each devoured 10 chicken nuggets followed by fries. We were stuffed and in no need of an actual dinner. Our lack of discipline and addiction to instant gratification left us frustrated angry we had wasted a Birthversary meal on McDonalds. McDonalds!
My horrible mood finally took its toll on Walker as he grew quiet with inner thoughts of having ‘ruined the weekend.’ He had waited ‘til Friday to book a hotel for Friday night. ON RED RIVER SHOOTOUT WEEKEND. While all of Austin and Oklahoma were trekking to Dallas, so were we. And we were paying for it, literally, in having to book the only open hotel room in Dallas—a club level room in the downtown Sheraton. So of course I said we just shouldn’t go because it was a waste of money.
Not only had I dampened the trip with my repulsive disposition, Walker now began sprinkling the weekend with gripes of self-loathing. Together we straight up drowned the trip.
Then, by some immaculate conception of higher hopes we unsteadily managed to gather ourselves into making a decision: “We will do better and enjoy this weekend.” As we drove into downtown Dallas we had no idea that Dallas was about to wreck us. And not in the ‘that worship service really wrecked me’ way, but more in the Miley Cyrus kind of way.Sitting in the hotel lobby in black-rimmed glasses and cuffed jeans, I have never before felt like such a fun-hating, miserable grump. While Walker cut in front of 30 drunken college kids oblivious it was their turn to check in, I omnisciently sat assessing the situation in my head.
We had arrived at the Sheraton around 8 p.m. to find a mass of cars attempting to edge their way into parking garage numero dos. Parking garage numero uno was full. There were honks, near collisions, an excess of selfish attitudes and I’m sure a few middle fingers. After 45 minutes circling the same 6 parking levels including 10 minutes of trying to back out of a dead end with 5 cars behind us (who plans a parking lot with a dead end?) we finally made the decision to park illegally in a space for rent cars only. The situation only got better when a girl also trying to park told us she wasn’t even staying in the hotel. Must memorize license plate. Must memorize license plate.
Relieved and exhausted, we made it to the hotel lobby frat house. For one weekend and one weekend only, the downtown Sheraton transformed itself into the biggest frat party of all time.
So there I sat in a sea of toned, tanned thighs and high pitched squeals observing my surroundings. Every girl in TX and OK had vowed to wear cut off jean shorts paired with cowboy boots, unless they had already committed to mini skirts and wedges. As I watched cooler after cooler being rolled past (seriously though, even Wal-Mart doesn’t own the amount of rolling ice-chests I saw that night), I tried my best to relate. “They’re in college! They’re just having a good time! Who am I to think they’re annoying! I don’t want to be their kill-joy!” I’d like to think I’d succeeded in wishing them the best, until I witnessed a dude introduce himself to a girl and then ask her if she wanted to go upstairs with him.
And with that, Walker and I dodged our way to the elevator thinking the situation couldn’t have been worse, until we saw 2 young parents with 3 kids walk by, and we knew, yes, yes it could be worse.
Floor 27. Club level. We made it. Maybe it was destiny that ended us here on an expensive yet quiet, peaceful floor in the middle of collegiate chaos.
Walker decided he actually did need dinner, so after a quick check of the room, we wearily ventured back to ground level.
Waiting for the elevator Walker joked, “You know what would complete the night? Beer pong.”
No sooner did his vocal chords finish vibrating when we undeniably heard
Followed by cheers and laughter.
Forget destiny. There was no escape.
Having dashed to poke my head around the corner, I turned back to Walker with my jaw on the floor. Someone had taken the time and effort to lug a Ping-Pong table from home, through the parking garage, to the 27th floor. And they were playing beer pong. Across the hall from our room. With the door open. On the club level.
Good thing I had time to pick my jaw off the floor before we got in the elevator, or I might have accidentally shared saliva with a stranger. The elevator floor was littered with leftover Jell-o shots. It was then we knew it was all out of our control. We could laugh. Or we could complain. We did both.
Knowing that we absolutely could in no circumstance move the car and knowing every restaurant would be a mirror image of our hotel lobby, we settled on walking to some place simple—Jimmy John’s seemed to be the only nearby establishment.
So, for our 2nd attempt at a Birthversary meal, Walker purchased a hotdog and Funyuns from the only dining availability—SEVEN ELEVEN.
Let’s go back to the hotel. Get in bed. Watch TV. Forget this day all together.
Having forgotten my pajamas, before collapsing on the bed I stared at myself in the mirror wearing Walker’s sweat-stained undershirt with cut-off sleeves. See, it really was a Miley kind of weekend.
Around 9:30 with a mix of enthusiasm and despair, we jumped into bed unable to click the remote fast enough. Oh please let the TV take us to a land far away.
Half of our channels did not work.
But that’s ok. Because we found a modern family marathon. And by 9:45, my day was over.October 12 proved to be evidence of the power of hormones as I awoke chipper and positive to take Dallas back. It wasn’t my doing, but thank goodness it was done. Overcast and dreary, Dallas seemed bright and beautiful as everyone had begun making their way to the stadium leaving us with a city to explore. We ate Hypnotic Donuts at White Rock Lake and visited a fun antique shop. We cried our way through the JFK 6th Floor Museum and did a little shopping in the afternoon. Our evening ended with pizza, which is always a great ending for us. We began our drive home Saturday night grateful that a bad day didn’t turn into a bad weekend. And realizing how much we just wanted to cuddle with Opal. It wasn’t what we imagined it would be…like, at all…but any time away together is good time. Or at least a growing experience in some way or another. Dallas, you wrecked us, but maybe our selfish, grumpy, materialistic, entitled selves need to be wrecked every once in a while. May we never ‘pull an October 11’ ever again. Happy Birthversary!