Sunday, May 18, 2014

Austin


The plan was to drive from Dallas and arrive in Austin to teach class late that same night. There were no weather abnormalities nor anything to upset the drive, which was quite simple and straight-forward.
Arrived in Austin

Thanks to Donn's Bar-B-Q across the parking lot, the whole motel smelled like bacon the next morning.

I arrived in Austin with enough spare time to meet with a massage client. Someone answered my ad and requested a very gentle massage. I set him up with a time, but he called fifteen minutes late and was confused about the address. I gave it to him again and apologized for not knowing the lay of the land better, to help him find it. (I actually didn't have any trouble finding the place, myself.)

Another twenty minutes goes by and he's called three times, trying to hone in on the motel. He was very apologetic and said his biggest concern was that if he couldn't make it in time that I wouldn't get my funds, and he wanted to make sure I got paid. I told him not to worry about the time. I did have to leave at a certain time to make it to class on time, but I would go for as long as I could.

"We can focus on quality over quantity," I told him. He liked that.

So he finally made it and as I was working on him, he started telling me his incredible story. He was a very successful, hard-core type A executive at a computer company and was sitting near a fountain in a resort hotel on a business trip. Unbeknownst to him, the fountain was infected with legionnaires disease, so the pleasant spray he was sitting in nearly killed him.

He was originally diagnosed with severe pneumonia, but wasn't responding to treatment because it was actually legionnaires disease. In the meantime, his brain was swelling. It swelled so much that it was being compressed by his skull and suffered permanent damage.

He survived the ordeal, obviously, but not with his brain fully intact. His left brain was damaged so that he had a very hard time with lists and order and task initiation, but his right brain left him feeling blissful and happy, dispite the fact that he was in constant pain in every joint and felt immense pressure in his eyes and forehead.

He claims to be a completely different man than he was before "the trip" began. He was so appreciative to be alive, that he cherished every single thing and every moment. He was especially excited by bright colors. It was so much fun to be with him because he didn't seem able to criticize and was always being positive.

He ended up really enjoying the short session we had together even though much of that time was spent just squeezing down on his eyes. That was difficult for me at first. It seemed very counter-intuitive to squeeze someone's eyes. But he demonstrated it and explained how he does it to himself all the time and that it feels wonderful. So I did it. He paid me for the full time, even though he only got about a third of it. He gave me a $40 tip and invited me to come to his apartment after my class so he could make me dinner.

Class was wonderful. The crystal genius theme I've been using seemed especially poignant to me after meeting my new friend with the blissed out left brain. His zeal for life and childlike love for colors really embodied the crystal genius model.

So after class, River and I went to his apartment in downtown Austin. It's a very modern city. I guess it had resisted growth for many years, but finally began to succumb to it in recent decades, so everything downtown seems shiny and new.

His apartment was a giant loft with a view of what he told me was Austin's "Central Park." He clearly had plenty of money, but he didn't work any more. His next goal, he told me, was to buy a yacht so he could take it out a couple of times a year and then rent it out for parties the rest of the year. 

He made me a big steak for dinner, but it was very difficult to get the evening to progress. He tended to blather on and not make with the cooking. At one point he even told me that I would probably have to prod him along more than once. The one drawback of "the trip" was that he lost the initiative to get things started.

He told me about how he had recently gotten into the elevator to go outside, but stood in the car for twenty minutes without pushing the button. He said it was a weird sensation of knowing that he was supposed to do something but simply not doing it. Fortunately he lives in a building with lots of closed circuit monitoring and the concierge could see him in the elevator. They all know his condition and take good care of him.

I enjoyed being with Don, but many of his old friends don't recognize him. It's too bad he had to have a near-fatal accident to introduce him to the pleasure centers in his brain. We ended up staying up way too late.

The next morning, before heading out, I needed to buy more coffee beans. I didn't want to get non-organic beans, and I didn't want to support Whole Foods, so it took a bit of sleuthing, but I finally found Texas Coffee Traders in Austin. They roast the beans on site and had a nice, dark Italian roast that was organic and fair-trade.  In this video I say that the beans are "locally grown" but of course I misspoke. They are grown all over the world but roasted and packaged here in Austin.
video

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