~~~Houston Hostel. Houston, TX. Review days 10-14 and 2 Week Review~~~
~1~ About a week into my time here in Houston I was driving home from a massage, tired, hungry and wanting to get home to call it a night. I was but two blocks from the hostel when I witnessed, what I believed to be, a UFO, except these where not flying saucers with gliding neon-green monsters. They were humanoids, decked in full rollerblading gear (helmet, pads, and one with a hockey goaltending stick) flying down the streets in a huge pack - very alien to me.
Unidentified sightings will give me a jolt more than expresso and I acted immediately, turning right instead of left, and following; tailgaiting (or tailblading, rather) them with my car, just admiring the lunacy of it all (it was well past 10 PM). Who were these nuts? More importantly, how could I join? I didn't want to be rude and scream out these questions from the safety of my car so I ditched it at the nearest street curb and ran after them on foot trying to catch up with the slowest of the group, a beautiful, 30'ish, woman with very long flowing blond hair, who I later find out is Kimber, one of the pack leaders (apparently, tail-enders are the most gallant of the group, he/she being the first to get run over in the unfortunate case a driver goes crazed at the sight of 30 and 40 year olds enjoying, in what most "adults" think, a pubescent activity).
I find out info from Kimber and decide to meet with them the following week. The following Thurs. (yesterday) I did meet up with them at an inconspicuous tavern (Big Easy's) and set off on my big adventure, a course totaling 10 miles of Houston asphalt. The team was the nicest bunch you could find, especially Harold who helped me immensely even showing me how to tandem-blade, something I have never seen done. I was thrilled, ecstatic, focused on how good I would feel at the end of 10 miles! Instead, I made it to the Walgreens down the street, and was already flirting with the idea of heading back. It was REALLY hard, these middle aged guys were animals!
After 6 miles, and lots of self-denial, I made it to the heart of downtown, happy, but in much pain, especially from the blister in my right foot (which, at the time, felt like a balloon, but after inspection the day after, turned out barely noticeable -- what a wuss!). I decided to bail out and take the train home, the only problem was that I did not bring any money with me and not even my telephone, thinking I might lose either along my trek. I didn't want to impose on Harold, my super-awesome-nice guy of a roller mentor, so I decided to wing it instead. The worst thing would be to walk bare-footed home 3 miles.
So there I was at the station weighing my options:
A) Call my sister -- oops no phone
B) Freeride the train -- potential fine: $70
C) Walk home -- potential mugging: this is the seedy part of Houston
I decided to spange (ask for spare change) instead (despite hating to impose on others). I found my first "target" a very approachable looking 20-something black girl. She was reticent but after I told her my sob story and tried to flash a winning smile, she couldn't help but give in. I asked for her name - Britni, and I realize there and then, it is the same Britni who responded to my personal on Craigslist! Holycowsonofabillygoat! Just then the train arrived and she took off, disappearing from my life...forever.
But forget romance, I was focused on getting a ride home. A thuggish-looking bunch of Latino guys approached the station, and there I was, decked fully, still, in roller-blade gear (helmet and all, minus the hockey stick) approaching these guys (now I realize how rediculous I must have looked). Somehow I was blessed that day and they gave me spange to by a ticket home. I thanked them by giving one of them my rollerblades. It just felt right, and besides, Urban Animals don't wear shoes.