Checked Boxes, Non-Wizard Deer, and Purposefully Losing Your Way
4:32 P.M. JANUARY 14TH. 2017. HAYS COUNTY LINE.
Checked boxes sometimes result in unchecked possibilities. Or at least that's the way I'm gonna explain how the hell I ended up crossing into Hays County on Farm to Market Road 1826 as opposed to I-35 and how I found myself at the oak tree shrouded entrance to a mist enveloped Wizard's Academy.
I started this trek alone on a soupy Saturday afternoon, although I question the extent to which anyone is ever truly alone anymore in the creeping fog of our information ad nauseum age except by choice, a reacquaintance with the [insert de(vice) of choice here]'s OFF button, or solitary circumstances somewhat beyond your control. In an attempt to enlist Google Map's help in accidentally finding what needs to be found while still keeping my no-sense-of-directionless ass on course, I've begun setting the Options of each trip as follows:
While no tolls and no highways makes a longer a trip, it also makes it less predictable and slows 'er down a gear or two. P.S. You have to set the parameters for every trip since Google Maps defaults to using the most efficient route--something, something route optimization something something Dijkstra’s algorithm something something can they just add a fuckin' feature to permanently avoid tolls on all trips with one click so I quit getting TX-DOT bills via snail mail when I forget to check the Avoid tolls box--therefore navigating you down interstate highways/tolls which do not typically have 10 MILES UNTIL THE NEXT WIZARD ACADEMY REST STOP signs.
4:50 P.M. THE WIZARD ACADEMY. AUSTIN, TX, 78737
When I first saw the blue Wizard Academy sign on FM 1826, my immediate thought was maybe this is some Harry Potter inspired Waldorf school, or maybe some rich techno-nerds set up a retreat camp for LARPers. Once I rolled up to the entrance and under an enormous oak I half expected the tree to start creaking and speaking Elvish to the redneck normie tresspasser taking photos with his anachronistic dark magic box. I hopped back in the truck in disappointed silence and rolled on down the non-yellow brickless road.
I found a parking lot with a few cars next to a building that had neon beer signs glowing through the windows and various paths with pillars next to them--still no wizards.
That plaque sounded promising, so I ventured further in and ran into a non-wizard wedding photographer. I inquired about the whereabouts of the wizards and she chuckled, said they weren't around today and that she was waiting for her bride and groom to show up for some photos at the Chapel Dulcinea, which is also on the grounds. I thanked her and headed down the path where I found the closest thing to a wizard I could find at this cock-tease of a "Wizard's Academy".
There was no plaque nearby to tell me who she was, why she was here, and whom or what she was attempting to flag down or summon. Perhaps these hallowed grounds are a sort of helipad for wizard landings and with the right incantation, she glows a phosphorescent green to guide in-bound airborne wizards safely through the fog back down to earth.
The human wedding party began to arrive so I discontinued my physical quest in favor of a digital search. Turns out The Wizard Academy is a "non-traditional business school" where people come from all over the world to learn "how to do consciously what a gifted person does unconsciously"--for anywhere from $3500 to $6000 for a weekend retreat. I packed up the tripod and took my broke, already unconsciously gifted ass out of there. And, just before I made my exit, a few feet ahead of the truck where the woods meet the road, I saw them.
Ta hell with wizards, I'll take the deer! (or maybe those crafty fuckers shape-shifted themselves into deer, sounds like somethin' they'd do). The first of them I saw was an 8 point buck, but he took off purdy quick, so I turned off the truck and waited. And just as I tried to leave once again, I saw the other two. According to whatismyspiritanimal.com, "deer energy" indicates the following:
I twisted on the headlights heading back home to Williamson County. I left the boxes unchecked on Maps and stuck to the interstate since the fog combined with the setting sun made visibility uneventful, although there is something to be said for the white-knuckled attentiveness a reduced range of vision provides on a crowded? (maybe crowded, hell, I can't see but two to four car lengths ahead) highway. The windshield wipers flapped in vain at the steady fog and I wondered when, if ever, I would finally get home: 48 hours and 9 counties later, I would have a better answer.
(to be continued)