Ah Guano, Get Outta Here

The reminiscence of the Metallic trip got me thinking about some other memorable experiences in this rich, checkered life that I’ve lived to date. There was this one time…

Austin, Texas during the SXSW music conference. It was April and HOT in Austin. Texas hot and sticky. By some miracle or SNAFU, we were booked at the Ritz Carlton hotel for our stay. It was very swanky and very proper. I was only in for the one night so had a quick overnight bag with a change of clothes, a toothbrush, some Copaxone and that’s about it.

After a day of running around Austin in the million degree heat, I had one major mission at the end of the day, a glass of wine. (If it hasn’t been clear before, let me state now that I am a complete wino. I can walk away from beer, whiskey, tequila, gin, brandy, etc., but I love my nightly glass or two of wine). So I headed to the bar, get a nice glass of Pinot Noir and headed outside to cool off and see the sunset.

Austin, as it turns out, is famous for bats. LOTS of bats. Most specifically, they dart out from under the Congress Street bridge at a precise time every night and bat watching is a local past time. The Ritz even has it’s own bat-watching dock! At about 8:05 that night, 1.5 million Mexican bats shot out from under the bridge as if shot from a fire hose and headed off into the evening sky like black clouds ~ really something amazing to see.

Prior to the migration however, I found a bunch of my buddies, clients and co-workers on the bat-watching platform of the Ritz by the side of the river, preparing for the show. It being really, really hot, I made one of the stupider dares of my life. If Mr. No-Fun Guy that was hanging around (I assumed he was a client, or at the very least, a prospect) would take off his shoes and socks (which we all had done, but he would not), I would jump in the river. In my defense, I was hot! The river looked enchanting, refreshing and cool.

Son of a gun, he took off his shoes! A bet’s a bet, so in I went. It was cool, alright. It was also about 100 yards from the underside of the Congress Street bridge which was inhabited by 1.5 million bats…..OMG. I found myself thigh deep in 3 feet of guano slime. Gross…gross….GROSS!

I hauled myself back out onto the dock. We all watched the bats sail by the thousands and thousands into the fading sky. It was magnificent and memorable. I was a mess. Next stop was definitely back into my room for a shower and a change into some fresh clothes.

Tiny problem. The only way back in was through the lounge, the bar and the lobby. This being the Ritz Carlton and Texas, of course there was some sort of formal wedding or cotillion going on and the lobby and lounge were filled with women in fancy voile, tulle, satin and Chantilly lace dresses, replete with matching shoes, bags and wraps. Egad. I was a stinking, seeping, oozing creature from the black lagoon, with a wine glass in my hand, parading right through their midst.

I slithered to the elevator, up to my room and into the shower. I put the offending items into a hotel laundry bag, and tucked it in my suitcase to be cleaned upon arrival home (needless to say, they were beyond saving and had to be thrown out ~ that’s how nasty they were!).

Whew. What an ordeal. Too funny in retrospect, my friends had a laugh, I had a laugh, we chalked it off to Erika’s antics. Then my friend Phil sent me an email. How charming! He had the whole thing on video tape, and turns out his SOB friend (the guy with the shoes) had only pretended to take them off, and the dare was bogus. And he was neither a client nor a prospect.

Right then and there I vowed to behave from that point forward. Ok, just kidding.

6 thoughts on “Ah Guano, Get Outta Here

  1. Wait. Were you the least bit scared? Bats? I’m not sure if I would even know one if I saw one. I would have lost my composure for sure! So hats off to you!

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