Since one of Britt's many Rock And Roll bands (as Josh would call it) had a show tonight at Beatnix coffee house over on Lake Shore Drive, we decided to do Happy Hour at the La Fiesta located not too far from the airport. I've always wanted to visit this place because it reminded me of the Gilbert's El Charro #2 in Tyler. Owned and run by the same people, but with the feeling that the second one is more of a secret, reserved only for those with the fortitude to get there.
After a heartier-than-normal round at the bar, Lindsey came and drove Josh and me to Beatnix so we wouldn't have to be behind the wheel, which was a wise idea. At the end of the night, after being dropped off at my car, I began the journey home. It's a top-shelf night weather wise. It's cold but not miserable. Overcast without being gloomy. In short, it's what January should be. Weather like this always makes me reflective.
The bartender told us that most of their business comes from China Spring. After pondering this I actually felt a twinge of shame at having lived in Waco for 6 1/2 years and never been to this place they call "China Spring." It's akin to living in Tyler and never visiting Whitehouse. Dallas without the joys of Forney. It's just not right.
The area over by the lake and airport is actually quite nice. On my way home I passed a tiny little tobacco store just off the road. It was before Lake Shore Drive, in that seemingly endless stretch into the city, which is actually probably only about a mile. Beatnix up ahead, the lake to my right and river leading to downtown to my left, I couldn't help but feel at home in this just-before place. I thought about that blue aluminum tobacco store that had closed for the day and felt at peace with what these quiet places outside the city limits bring to me-- bearing, perspective, and even a little proud defiance and having largely avoided the loud and busy places for most of my life.
In this place there is a fine line between rural and urban, and nothing lays that bare like a trip down 19th from La Fiesta #2. Peace and chaos hang in a fine balance, with little, if any, neutral ground.
With all my bravado about loving this place, which I do, I have this uneasy feeling at times that I don't belong-- that only circumstance and a few well-timed friendships are what give me the energy to keep hanging my hat. I long sometimes for the confidence of that tiny tobacco store perched next to a secret hideout Mexican Place outside of town, where drinks are consumed and friendship flourishes outside the boundaries and with little fanfare.