This is my new friend Amber. Also pictured, Amber’s red glasses. Hello there, cute glasses.
A few months ago Amber emailed me her Life List, you may remember her as the one who wants to gallop on a horse. I read her list, started clicking around her site, and decided I liked her very much. She was baking pies for homeless people, saving up for a trip to Paris, and trying to break the world record for Most Checkers Stacked in the Palm of One’s Hand. Since I’d had a couple glasses of wine, I obviously sent her a note:
I think I like you. And I am also afraid of horses. Do you want to do this galloping thing together? How long do you think it would take? Like, a lifetime, or 8 hours or so? I’m betting on the latter. Will you be at SxSW? I will, and I bet there are horses, even in Austin. I think we should do it.
We will need hats.
To which Amber replied:
I like you, too. We should gallop together, even though the thought makes me terrified. But I’ll pretend I’m brave.
I’ll be at SxSW in March, for the interactive portion, and I’m sure they’ll have horses somewhere driveable from where we’ll be in Austin.
What sort of hats should we wear?
(Actually, the original notes included some fear-based Christopher Reeves references as well, which are not amusing in a public forum, but you get the jist.)
Thus began our email courtship and life-list plotting. We called some Austin riding instructors who informed us that we didn’t have time to acquire galloping skills, so we decided to try parasailing (#60 on Amber’s list).
As you may recall, parasailing is also on my list, and I had some misgivings about attempting it again. We decided that if parasailing didn’t work out, Amber would give birth instead (#51).
We both arrived at SxSW having never even spoken on the phone, so we met up in the lobby to assess any latent serial killer vibes before finalizing our plans.
As it turns out, both Amber and her husband Rob are lovely, and gave no signs of verging on murderous rampage.
And so we took a cab out to the lake where we met the folks from Airscape Parasail. The drove the boat out, strapped us in to our harnesses and…
Parasailing is incredible. You just float up from the back of the boat like Superman! In a life vest! With your new friend Amber!
Everything was so peaceful, it didn’t even occur to me to worry that we were nearly a thousand feet up. The feeling was the opposite of zip lining. It was slow and quiet, like floating in space.
They reeled us in so gently that we just set our feet on the back of the boat and walked onboard. I liked it.
And it turns out I was right about liking Amber too.
On our way home from Argentina, we stayed for a few days in Austin. On the drive from the Dallas airport, we stopped at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco. There we found:
â€¢ A blood-splatter simulation display.
â€¢ A collection of bugs that inhabit the human body as it begins to decompose.
â€¢ A safe full of valuables that contains a beauty pageant tiara.
There were also enough guns to outfit a large militia, and endless photos of white men in hats. While we were there, a man’s cell phone rang, and before he picked up, I recognized his ringer as “God Bless America.” I love you, Texas.