Pause at El Arroyo

Monday, June 7, 2004


Across the tabletop at Ararat.

I’m sitting at El Arroyo — in one of the booths outside, right alongside the eponymous arroyo — finishing up a plate of fish tacos and a Dr. Pepper. One of the youngish waitresses came over a minute ago to ask about the photos I was flipping through on iPhoto: Zane’s bachelor party photos. Of course I’m too socially retarded to participate in a conversation with a stranger without having a couple of hours to research them on the web first. I just mumbled a couple of sentences about my camera like a nerd. Left it at that. A few months ago a waitress here gave me the phone number of one of the other waitresses whose eye I had inadvertently caught some afternoon. If something like that were to occur again I’d have to move across the street and take all of my meals here: The only plausible explanation would be that something buried deep in the earth underneath the restaurant was creating strange localized magnetic fields that make the girls crave tall guys who come around regularly for quiet, romantic dinners alone with their laptops.

Yeah, so last night Zane had his bachelor party. I met him and about a dozen other people — including Coté, Jaylon, Chris Graf, and a handful of BMC employees I see at work — at Ararat. We sat out back underneath the “gazebo” in the backyard and ate middle eastern cuisine and drank some wine we brought and had little arabic coffees with turkish delights on the side afterwards. They cook excellent food over at Ararat. I had never been out there in full daylight before. And I must say: The building looks like a barely-standing house of cards made of corrugated steel and plywood. And the backyard looks kind of like the yard behind the New Guild student co-op: Splotches of grass, elderly lawn furniture, a few lit tiki torches scattered about… Inside, of course, Ararat’s quite nice and cozy. But from the outside you could sort of fool yourself into thinking that you’re really approaching a restaurant in some second-world country or other. But the food is excellent. I had a stuffed green pepper dolmah and mixed grilled veggies.

After we finished there, we headed down to Club de Ville in the bus Zane had rented for the night. Apparently Jaylon’s brother-in-law Conrad works for Austin Duck Adventures — that company that offers amphibious vehicle (amphibiously vehicular?) tours of Austin and Austin waterways. If you have seen the episode of Dave Attell’s Insomniac filmed in Austin, you’ve seen Dave riding one into Lake Austin at the very end of the show (after getting rowdy with the Austin Rollergirls, hanging out with the Austin Robot Group, and having a drink with the Latin Kings). Anyway, Austin Duck Adventures is located right across the street from El Arroyo — where I am right now — and El Arroyo has a big party bus (read: a grade-school bus covered in lots of spray paint and with a stereo system). So we ended up with the El Arroyo party bus for the night. Zane rented it for a few hundred bucks and Conrad drove us around and played P-Funk and the soundtracks from Office Space and Deliverance on the stereo.

So we took the bus down to Club de Ville and sat in the back corner of the building and had a few more drinks and carried on. And then walked down to 6th for a little while to look around. Because, you see, this weekend the yearly biker’s convention was happening (bringing enough Harleys to literally pack 6th street and several other streets with parked bikes — insane) and the Gay Pride March on Congress. So all of the bars on 6th were packed to obnoxious levels. Bursting. As if there were simply too many people downtown to even legally fit inside of all of the bars. Our group accidentally got split up and a few of us had to wait in line for fifteen minutes at some random bar just to get in to see that the others weren’t there. That annoyed me a bit. (And when did 6th street get filled up with bars named things like “Chuggin’ Monkey” and “Dizzy Rooster?”) We got reconnected and lost a few participants to other groups of friends who were downtown (which I found to be kind of rude considering we were supposedly there to help Zane celebrate), got back in the bus and drove back to Zane’s house up north to play the new Super Mario Cart on the Nintendo Gamecube for a while and watch Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. Which Jaylon had brought.

So that was the big event of the weekend. Otherwise I say around and watched a few movies (Saving Private Ryan and Monster) and went for a run yesterday afternoon. And slept late today. And now I’m at El Arroyo.

And the circle of life is complete.