I woke up early again; I decided to just lie there for a little while thinking. I eventually dragged myself out of bed and went to get dressed. I managed to get a private bathroom again which felt great. I looked at the tan on my arms and how unfamiliar this is. It wouldn’t register as a tan to most people but it is for my pale skin. I left my bags in the room to go for breakfast at The Frothy Monkey again, it was kind of underwhelming. I ordered an iced fruit tea that tasted like orange juice mixed with black tea. It was gross and wrong. The bagel with egg, cheese and tomatoes was ok but needed seasoning. I regretted saying no to the hot sauce.
I went back to the hostel said goodbye to my dorm mates and checked out. I could see one of the guys I’d hung out with and I tried to catch his eye to say goodbye but he didn’t see me. That’s ok though, I’ll meet more people. I got an Uber to the greyhound and only just discovered that the drivers rate you too! It makes sense but I wonder if people are way harsh.
I got to the station early and waited patiently for them to call the details for my bus. There was an announcement, I eagerly got off my seat and put my bags on only to be told that there was an hours delay. My seat had been taken instantly so, like the classy person I am, I sat on the floor. I did get on the bus an hour and a half later and it took another thirty minutes before I left. I was also sat next to a loud old man who kept hollering up at people. He coughed a lot. I felt paranoid that I was gonna get ill off him. I was relieved that he got off on the next stop and I could stretch across the two seats. I read all of The Maze Runner and it was ok, an easy read and a twist on Hunger Games. I just hated that the one female character was there to assistant the male hero. Have we not moved past that trope yet? I can just about accept if it’s done well but otherwise no, can we just not. I don’t think I’ll read the sequels.
I got into Memphis two hours later than anticipated and that meant my time in Memphis would be even shorter. I had only planned to be in the city one night. I somehow hadn’t realised that the hostel was physically connected a church until I was standing outside looking at google maps in confusion. There was a sign telling people to walk around the building to get to the hostel entrance. I had to call a number sent via email to be let in the back entrance – I was so grateful at that time that I had data and a phone that worked. The stairway up to the hostel was beautifully painted in bright colours but the actual common area/ kitchen/ administration area was rather drab. I was told upon paying that all guests had to do a chore, I was kind of annoyed about that as it was one of the more expensive hostels I was staying in. I think the chores had been mentioned on reviews of the hostel but I thought it would have been in exchange of a cheaper night? Another girl was checking in at the same time and we were sent to the same dorm, she immediately took the bottom bunk of the one remaining bed, I was stuck with a crappy top bunk. I tried to say hi to another girl in the dorm whom was lying in bed, watching stuff on her laptop whilst licking Pringles. She stopped and turned to look at me briefly before returning to her Pringle licking. It was a weird situation. I put my stuff in a locker and moved into the common area to look on my phone to find somewhere to eat.
There was a highly rated vegan café a few blocks from the hostel so it seemed like a perfect place to go. On my way to the café, I noticed several food trucks packing up and, a large gathering of young people sat outside of a building. They seemed purposeful, despite, lounging on the grassy lawn. ‘Imagine Vegan Café’ was rather homely inside, it looked like it had been renovated from a house. There were only a few tables inside, I was able to nab one near the window. I decided to have a barbeque pulled seitan burger with fries and cowboy beans. As I was waiting for the food, I read the local newspaper to find out what was happening in the area and to conserve phone battery. I found out that there had been a mental health awareness event earlier and that was why there’d been food trucks and plenty of people. Moreover, they were waiting to have tattoos of a semicolon, a symbol that meant your story had not yet finished. I love the idea behind that tattoo. It was simple but truthful. Considering the struggles I’d had with my insomnia, anxiety and depression the last couple of years and I was now happy whilst travelling. I was sorely tempted to get one, a permanent, physical reminder inked onto my skin. I still think about it.
The food was tasty at Imagine Café but it tasted homemade, not worthy of its price. The chips were frozen basics and the cowboy beans tasted just like baked beans. The bbq pulled seitan was always going to be the highlight of the dish, the barbeque sauce just the right side of tangy.
There wasn’t a whole lot to do in the hostel and the hostel was far away from the action of downtown. I decided to treat myself to a relaxing, long shower, I felt so clean and fresh afterwards. I had to leave my shampoo and conditioner to dry in my dorm room and it was then that I noticed how dirty the hostel was. There were huge dust bunnies and hair and dirt on the floor and the side table. If it was up to the guests to clean the hostel then clearly they didn’t. Admittedly, I didn’t want to either but you’d think the people working in the hostel would do the bigger jobs like cleaning dorms?
I moved into the common room to see if I could strike up conversation with anyone else but it was quiet. I was actually happy to just sit and read a book on a comfy sofa for a couple of hours, maybe the fact there wasn’t many people to talk to was the better solution to take more time for myself. When I went to go to sleep the bed was so uncomfortable and lumpy; I had to lie in an awkward position to not feel the springs. I wondered if the girl who was still watching her laptop in bed did it purposefully so no one could steal her comfortable mattress.