Saturday 26 May 2012

Texas: Marathon, Alpine, Marfa

Friday, February 10.: Wind, Coffee, Marfa, Brass.

At four in the morning a freight train passed through Marathon, TX. 

The trailer where I was sleeping peacefully were sitting just across the road from the railway, and I woke up when the driver hit the horn half a mile before the town. It took me a moment to realise what had woken me up, and the realisation came along with the knowledge that the trailer was moving rather more than it had when I fell asleep, in fact rocking like a small rowing boat when someone leaves it by way of stepping on the rail and then onto the dock - but continuously. The wind had picked up sometime during the early morning (which, technically, it is at 4AM according to my standards) and was howling along with the train that was just then thundering past.

In the front end of the trailer, Erik was moving around as well, being woken by the same series of events that had pushed through to my awareness. To him fell the task of dubious pleasantness of going out in the wind to jack up the trailer. I sleepily offered to help, but was in all honesty grateful when he told me to stay where I was. I am sure going out and *doing stuff* in the night would have been a part of the adventure I would have remembered with a smile at a later date, but at that point I was warm under a stack of blankets, and the boat-like rocking, while slightly disturbing, also was making me sleepy. Even under those circumstances I was unable to fall asleep again until Erik was back inside the trailer - but at that point I slept right through his moving about, having lights on, and so forth.

A few hours later morning properly arrived, the wind died down, and we were up, on our first morning in Marathon.

We had parked the trailer at Marathon Motel, where Erik was planning to stay for a month or so. It was a nice place - the only thing that annoyed me about the place was the fact that the ladies' restroom consisted of a single bathroom (WC and shower stall in the same room), which meant you had to be prepared to spend some time waiting outside in a line.

For breakfast we hit Marathon Coffee, where two ladies gave us food and much-needed coffee, chatted away and had us sign their guestbook. Their menu was totally foreign to me and Erik had to order for me as I hadn't the faintest idea what anything was. I wanted to take the entire place with me home.

Breakfast over with, we were back on the road to explore the neighbouring towns - Marfa and Alpine, the latter being the closer of the two. We went to Marfa first, first driving then wandering about for a bit, Erik got a haircut while I found an internet connection and bought him a domain where I was planning to set up a blog for him, as thanks for taking me on this little adventure. Then we went back to Alpine, and in short we had lunch (at Cowboy Grill) and went shooting...

I had never been shooting with a handgun before, and while I was looking forwards to trying I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself. It was difficult, much harder than shooting with a rifle (or at any rate different enough that I pretty much sucked at it). I am normally a bit nervous about trying new things with an audience, seeing as I easily feel ashamed if I "fail". I know this is stupid because nobody necessarily excel at anything the first time they try but that is how I feel. Erik however turned out to be a good teacher that way - patient, calm, constructive in feedback and explanation, and making me feel good about the entire thing. That aside, it was something else that really blew my mind. This took me a while to figure out - why had I enjoyed the time spent on the shooting range so much?

I was clued in by the fact that I had, and have, only a very vague idea of how long we were there. Normally my sense of time is fairly accurate, one of the many processes that run continuously in my head. I fidget mentally, always thinking about a myriad things, planning ahead, thinking back, analysing my surroundings, noticing that brilliant green over there, having great ideas - all at the same time. It means I can sit still, seemingly doing nothing, for hours on end, just letting my mind work. It also means I have problems winding down properly and relaxing.

Those minutes, quarters, hours on the shooting range my mind stilled. I was only doing one thing. When we left I felt rested.

But all was not bliss and happiness: We had company to our left, and some of their brass flew close and hit us. By a lucky hit I got brass down the front of my shirt that got stuck in my bra. Only a very light burn that quickly faded, and turned into another scarless memory, but right then and there I was less than amused.