I started the tour out in Denver Colorado
I made the first one but I did not make the second show
Cause I met a girl there that brought about quite a big change
Then I OD’d in Denver and I just can’t remember her name
On Thursday night, roots country artist Jason Boland had done me the courtesy of playing “OD’d in Denver,” a Hank Williams Jr. song that I’d only before heard Boland sing on a bootleg. I had it stuck in my head the entire drive up to the convention, even while other music was playing in my CD player.
Boland had always brought me luck, it seemed. A little over a year ago, the day after going to a show I met someone at a wedding and we dated. Things didn’t work out, but it was the first time I had gone out with anyone after a serious heartbreak, so it was a success nonetheless. I had an interesting incident during a Boland show early last year and it was a show in December right before I met Camryn.
Friday was uneventful for the most part, save for a blast from the past meeting someone that I hadn’t seen in years and almost hanging out with friends I haven’t seen in over a year. I did notice all the couples, which was interesting because conventions are full of unique people and it’s always nice to see unique people with atypical interests hooking up. I, of course, was only there with my guy friends, single as single can be.
I guess you could say that my love life was not up to par
Too many nights alone had left a permanent scar
I first saw Shawn outside while I was catching a breath of fresh air. I didn’t think that much about her, really. Not until I saw her at the hotel bar. That meant that she was over twenty-one. At conventions, age can be a very deceptive thing.
I’m generally not good at picking up people in bars, and considering how often I go to them for musical acts, it’s something I ought to get better at. So I decided that there was nothing to lose there (it was doubtful that she was from Houston since the convention was in Austin). I went up to the bar, propped myself right beside her, and said “Hello.”
We talked about the shuttle accident that had happened in the morning. I talked about my relatives at NASA and she about her present stint in the Navy reserves. We talked about us and what we were like when we were younger, what we’re like now. I talked about my career and she talked about college. I told her about No-Lyfe Productions and gave her my business card. We got to know each other at the bar for about two hours before we migrated to the balcony.
Out there, the conversation started drifting more towards relationships, where we established that we were both single. We’d both had a little to drink, so the conversation had flowed quite smoothly. Our inhibitions were gone. I kept thinking that if it wasn’t for the distance between Austin, where she lived, and Houston, where I do, it could really turn in to something.
The night wore on and we never had a lack of things to talk about, from goofy inebriated small-talk to our station in life and what we’re looking for in life and relationships.
I made a special point to look at the back of her admissions tag. She had my business card, I figured, so it was only fair that I know her full name, which is on the back of all the tags. “Shawn Fitch?” I thought to myself, remembering a girl I knew a long time ago with the last name. But that wasn’t her name, that was just an assumption on my part because I saw the F and the top part of the T. I removed my thumb and corrected myself.
To the bar, to the balcony, the bar, the balcony, our talking continued. We started making more and more physical contact. I’d say something and place my hand on her shoulder. In the bar She’d chastise me for something and tap my hand, then leave it placed on top of mine. Outside, I put my arms around her and she put her hand on my leg.
Then there was a moment. That moment where the back of my head sends a message through my various synapses with the singular message: “Kiss her.”
But I couldn’t. My best friend was sitting across the way, talking to us. So a message followed shortly after with the message “Wait, not yet!”
My best friend went back inside, the couple other people left, and we were
alone. It didn’t take long.
Once we’d broken that threshold, the evening began to speed up. We didn’t really talk about it at first. In fact, prior to that we’d never even mentioned the prospect of an ‘us’ and, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted one.
Shortly after, we were joined by a crowd of people enjoying the fresh air. A young man with a goatee and sunglasses in the dark began playing his guitar for his friends. As Shawn and I slow-danced to “Hotel California,” I decided that I wanted this to be for real. I just had no idea how to tell her that.
She swore she loved me and I told her that I’d do the same
Then I OD’d in Denver and I just can’t remember her name
After another trip to the bar and back out to the balcony, I was looking out at the state capital absorbing it all with her under my arm. My mind was awash in alcohol, but I was trying to wade through it when she asked, “So what happens when you go back to Houston?”
I told her that I wasn’t good at or comfortable with flings. She backed off and asked what I meant by that. Our inebriation was immediately put on hold while we discussed it. Three hours. Not a deal-killer, really. We both really wanted to try. “What can I do not to mess this up?” she asked.
“We’re doing fantastic so far,” I answered.
Later she asked, “So if I ask you to call me, then you will?”
We went back inside for another drink. She couldn’t recall what the R. in my name stood for and got out the business card I got her. She accidentally dropped it. I pulled out another card and put it on the bar in front of her. She said it was all right and she’d get the old on off the floor.
After finishing our drinks we decided to go out and grab a bite to eat. When I cranked the CD player on, she immediately started singing along with a confused look on her face. “Is this. you listen to Cross Canadian Ragweed?!”
Our excellent start had just gotten better.
We talked about Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, and other Oklahoma musicians as we drove to Katz’s on 6th Street. We talked more about ourselves at the restaurant, our families, our philosophies.
Generally, that was the point in talking to someone where I become uncomfortable. When a relationship is imminent, I start getting scared. I didn’t let myself that night, even as I become more sober as the night wore on.
We kissed goodbye and said we’d see each other the next day.
I brought it on myself I guess that I shouldn’t complain
Doc says son you can’t do anymore of that cocaine
I had a knot in my stomach when I woke up. The hangover was in the head. The
knot in my stomach was something else entirely. The feeling that I had not covered all of my bases. The knowledge that I did not have her phone number. The knowledge that I’d told her I’d call her. The memory of seeing the card still sitting by the barstool when I left the hotel the night before. The belief that if I was hung over, she was probably in Hell (she’d drank more than I had). The prediction that she would not make it before 3pm when the con closes.
I stuck in the main area until 3:30 or so when I finally gave up and left. I thought about trying to find out her number, but any time I thought of her name, all I could think of was Shawn Fitch. But her name isn’t Fitch, and I can’t remember for the life of me what it is.
She treated me nice and I’d like to find her again
But I OD’d in Denver and I just can’t remember her name
I kinda overdid it in Denver and I just can’t remember her name
[Italicized lyrics by Hank Williams Jr., "OD'd in Denver"]