I was in a bit of a funk last week. Fresh off of a trip to Chicago, I tried immersing myself in work and had trouble focusing. Am I happy I went? For the most part, yeah. I got to see some familiar faces, and while quotes from Junot Diaz like “the half-life of love is forever” don’t make me feel especially optimistic, I can say with sincerity that I’m trying my best with the current hand I’ve been dealt. Whether or not I’ll regret traveling 1,000+ miles to see someone who I’m starting to feel very distant from really remains to be seen.
In any case, I wasn’t feeling like myself. The week ended without anything super monumental happening, and I retreated to the relative serenity that is my apartment on Friday afternoon with no concrete plans for the weekend. Enter Westlake, Texas – a small, affluent community that sits in the rolling hills just outside Austin proper. I had absolutely nothing to do on Friday night. The bar felt like a chore and so did talking to girls. So I got in the shower, shaved everything except my upper lip, and got in my car headed for Westlake.
From this neutral observers standpoint, students who attend Westlake High School want for nothing. The facilities, the faculty, the coursework – everything in Westlake’s school district is top-notch according to the onlookers who I spoke with at Friday night’s game. The Westlake Chaparrals (“Chaps”) versus the defending state champion Katy Tigers. For two and a half hours at Westlake’s 10,000 seat stadium, I forgot about my personal life and watched a high school football game. Therapeutic? Not quite. But certainly entertaining and a hell of a lot better than sitting alone on my couch watching baseball.
Movies and television had skewed my expectations as to what a high school football game would be like on a warm Friday night in Texas. I walked into the venue thinking the stadium would be twice as big as it was. That there would be scouts littering the sideline (there were) and that unruly parents, upset with their kids play would be more interesting than the actual game. To be honest, I was expecting a lot of Billingsley-esque behavior. Not so. I was told for that type of thing I needed to go to West Texas, which I can assure you will not be happening.
One high school football game was enough, and I definitely got my money’s worth for the eight dollars it cost to get in and the two dollar bucket of popcorn I ate at halftime. The Chaps ended up winning a barn-burner that came down to the last few possessions, despite the fact that pundits and probably most of the crowd expected Katy to win. I left the stadium as the clock winded down to zero amid cheers and jeers from Westlake’s student section which I’m fairly certain was about 90 percent under the influence.
The night took a rather fortuitous turn, though. I had just started my car, and as I drove back towards my apartment with the last half of “This American Life” from last week that I hadn’t quite finished playing, I looked down to see a text from Rachel. You remember Rachel, don’t you? Our heroine from a few Sundays back?
“Are you doing anything tonight?”
The double text. I knew I was in as soon as I saw the banner that read “Rachel – Text Message (2).” The double text message can mean a few things depending on context and whether the person sending said double text is a boy or a girl. When a girl sends two texts in a row to a guy unsolicited, one can assume that she wants to have sex with him. If you’re in the middle of a conversation, a double text from a girl can mean you’re in serious trouble. Or maybe she’s just correcting a typo. A lot has been made of the double text in recent months but, for the most part, I don’t find it to be that big of a deal. When a guy sends a double text, it’s either out of desperation or, you guessed it, to correct a typo.
Rachel and I ended up having dinner at 9:15 p.m. on Friday night at a shitty little Mexican restaurant down the street from my apartment. The conversation? Not particularly great. The food? We had queso so I guess it was fine. I’m not interested in Rachel at all really. She doesn’t even live in Austin, and the fact that she was back on this weekend was pure luck. She didn’t have to text me but she did. And she doesn’t know it but she helped me out a lot on Friday night. If it wasn’t for Rachel, I would have gone home alone and probably sent a regrettable text or left a voicemail on you-know-who’s phone. I didn’t do that because Rachel spent the night and didn’t leave until Saturday morning.
Predictably, Rachel couldn’t save me from myself on Saturday night. Around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning I walked home by myself, fiddling with my phone and trying to think of something good to say in text form. I woke up with that feeling one has when they know that they’ve texted someone something that was probably a mixture of sappy and passive aggressive. What did I text my friend in Chicago early Sunday morning? I have a pretty good idea. But I deleted the text message history before I could look at it. It really doesn’t matter all that much. It’s Labor Day Weekend and the world is my oyster or something like that. Thanks again, Rachel. It was fun until it wasn’t. .