50 Days of Artpace: We All Begin Somewhere (Week 1)

Week 1

Monday, June 6th

I woke up today feeling a little tired. I tried to go to sleep last night but I couldn’t fall asleep until 3 AM. You know, because I’m a night owl, I can stay up late into the night but now I’m trying to reverse that. I have to be an early bird if I’m going to survive the rest of the summer.

I kept thinking too much I think. I was thinking about how different life is gonna be. I would have to start riding the public bus, making my own food, and getting around by my own means. I’ve done this already while in school but this time feels different. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m going into a situation in which I know nothing about. It’s hard to really say at this point.

Regardless, I managed to get up out of bed and get dressed. I was pretty much dressed in a work uniform. I mean, I knew that working at Artpace meant that I had to dress business casual, however, I hardly have any real professional clothes. I hardly have any “business casual” clothes to wear. But, what I had worked.

I then packed my backpack. I knew, because I had two jobs that I would work back-to-back, that I would need a backpack. I put my clothes and shoes for my 2nd job into my bag, along with my journal, deodorant, lip balm, and some cologne. I saved the rest of the space for my lunch bag and huge water bottle.

I went downstairs after packing my backpack. I decided to cook some breakfast because I had time to. After all, I woke up at 6 AM because that’s the time I realized I had to get up to get to Artpace on time and be presentable. I cooked eggs and bacon, you know, a very casual and easy breakfast. It hit the spot for my first day!

Then, after eating, I started getting those butterflies again. I went out into my backyard and just stared at it for a moment. I just wanted to admire how pretty the morning was because I knew it would calm me down.

My backyard. In the morning, it is nice to sit out here to relax. The sun hits the trees just right.

After looking outside, I went back in. I wasn’t out there for very long. I had to go and wake up my mother to make sure she could take me to the bus stop. See, I had everything figured out already in case I couldn’t rely on my parent’s for transportation.

If I found the case to be that my parent’s couldn’t get me to the bus stop, then I’d have to leave the house by 6:45 AM or 7AM latest to get to the bus stop by 8AM. It’s about an hour walk to the bus stop from my house. As crazy as that sounds (well, not to me) I was prepared to do it every day until the summer was over.

Luckily, I didn’t have to do that. I woke my mother up at 6:45 AM to make sure she could take me. She said yes and went back to sleep to catch the last few winks. While I was waiting on her, I decide to just lounge on the couch. I whipped out my phone and watched Cereal Time, a weekday morning show hosted in England.

I actually find Cereal Time very entertaining for all of the little things about it. I mean, firstly, it’s a YouTube show (and I do love me some YouTube!) Secondly, it’s hosted by one of the people I’m subscribed to (and have been subscribed to for years) so I had to go at least check it out. Well, I fell in love. Now I’m gonna use my mornings to catch up on all the episodes I’ve missed.

Around 7:30 AM, my mom finally got up and got ready so she could drive me to the bus stop. On the way out the door, I was distracting myself with what I could lay my eyes on.

A window above the front door. The sunlight looks divine through the glass…

Now, I was thankful for her graciously doing this for me but I still couldn’t get those butterflies out of my stomach as we were driving. By the time we pulled up to the bus stop, I was just stressed and couldn’t get rid of it.

Well, I gave my mom a kiss and got out of the car, then she drove off. I sat at the VIA bus stop (VIA is the name of the bus service in San Antonio) and waited for the bus. It was scheduled to arrive at 8:05 AM. Well, I got to the bus stop at like 7:45 AM so I was going to be waiting for a while. I really was not trying to be late or run into a mishap on my first day.

The bus signage next to my stop. 2 routes come to this stop and one of them is mine. Specifically the downtown express one.

Well, all those nerves kept running headfirst into my brain. So, I took a deep breath and let it out. Then I took a picture of myself. My thought was that if I take a picture, my brain won’t be worried about the stress. Taking pictures usually always de-stresses me so I used it as a coping mechanism.

A fresh haircut and freshly ironed clothes for my first day. And I don’t look like a cowpie!

Around 8AM, I pulled out my bus pass. I pulled it out of my wallet and just looked at it. I had never used a bus pass before, or used a public bus for transportation, or been on a municipal bus. So, I was clutching dearly to the thing. I was staring at it, hoping and praying that when I used it, that it wouldn’t deny me.

It doesn’t look intimidating but I was feeling that way. You little bugger…

Honestly, I was thinking about all the bad possibilities. I was trying to gauge how to respond to them, as I so often do. All it did was stress me out more but I couldn’t stop stressing as it was so I stopped fighting it.

Then the bus arrived. My butterflies had turned into tapeworms and were eating me alive. I got up off the bench, and loaded onto the bus. Then I had to insert my pass into the machine. The entire time I was just praying, puh-leeze don’t reject it! Then my card came back out and the green light and confirmation beep sounded.

My stress melted away. Like magic, it was just gone. So, then, instead of standing around like a dummy, I sat down in the nearest seat. I didn’t want to think so much so I sat by the front door. See, I also hadn’t taken my route already to get familiar with it so I was winging everything today. (It’s a little uncanny I know but I had to keep moving forward.)

At least the view through the front window isn’t bad!

After the bus got to moving, I relaxed a little. Then I glanced over at my window and noticed a rather particular sticker on it. Apparently, I was sitting in the “Senior Citizen Priority” section. Whoops! Already yet another thing I could do wrong (and did!) But I didn’t move. I didn’t have to because there were only five people on the bus. Thank goodness!

Honestly, this was easy to overlook. A bigger sticker next time VIA?

Well, about half way into the ride, I got nervous again. I knew that I would reach downtown soon so I whipped out my phone again. I opened my Maps app and watched my little blue dot move along the map.

Go little dot, go! You can do it!

See, I knew that I was supposed to get off near Artpace because my bus didn’t stop directly adjacent to it. But, exactly where that was, I didn’t know.

Well, funny enough, I panicked. I put in my route to Artpace so I could somewhat gauge where I needed to get off at. The bus turned a corner onto Broadway. I panicked again. The bus turned onto Martin. I was shrieking inside. Then, someone signaled to stop at the next stop. I just got off at that one as it wasn’t too far from my destination.

I made it off the bus. I was that much closer to my destination. Luckily for me, the stop that I got off at was the stop I needed to get off at. I followed my GPS to my destination. On the way there, I saw another bus that wasn’t mine. And it just made me think how I could not have noticed public buses more often. Being downtown, you see them everywhere all the time.

Seriously, these things are everywhere! How CAN you miss them?

I kept walking. My stress was still high so I snapped a picture on the way there. The sun was gorgeous and the air was clean. The sky was blue and the wind was slight. These things kept me calm as I kept walking.

En route to work. I had to take a picture.

Then, before I knew it, I had reached my destination. It turns out that I had only walked 4 blocks from where I got off the bus. To add, my work day didn’t start until 9 AM and I got there at 8:40 AM. So I did some waiting. Of course, I looked like a lost puppy a tiny bit but, I was where I needed to be. My anxiety had dispersed.

Well, eventually somebody who worked at Artpace came by and saw me. She walked in through the front door and I walked in behind them. She, of course, asked who I was. I told them that I was going to be interning at Artpace starting today.

She let me in and then inquired some more. I told her my name was Carlos and she told me her name was Zaneta (Zuh-nee-tuh). She took me to the backroom to wait. Zaneta told me that the room I was in was the Archives room. I gotta say, I was captivated. She told me there was so much information stored in here and that I, as an intern, could read it to my heart’s content!

*giggles* Look at all the books! They even have a ladder for them all!
And here’s the shelving for the black binders! There are archives all the way back to 1998 and further!

Well, I couldn’t resist so I picked up one of the black binders on the shelf and started looking through it. There were plenty of documents and essays and reports but what I noticed was the collection of 35mm color film slides. There were so many! I couldn’t help but look at each one so closely!

In the middle of my looking, another person walked in and introduced herself as Hyland. She too was an intern so I was cordial and introduced myself as well. I’m not sure who let her in but, she was supposed to be here so it didn’t matter.

While looking through the archives, Zaneta informed us that Hyland and I were actually early for our first day. Apparently, Taylor (my employer), sent out an email to all the new interns saying that we wouldn’t have to be at Artpace until 10 AM. Well, both Hyland and I didn’t get that email, and now we had to blow off a whole hour.

Well, I kept looking through the archives until I got bored. Then I talked with Hyland. I didn’t know if we would be working together but, I figured since we both were here and both missed the memo, why not break the ice?

Honestly, Hyland was very inviting. We didn’t managed to talk about much but we did talk about some trivial things like where we grew up in San Antonio, what schools we went to, etc. You know, the kind of questions someone in your high school would ask you or your family who hasn’t seen you in years.

Between our conversation and our pauses, Zaneta began informing us about little things here and there around the building. She told us that all the things she was telling us would come up again later once orientation started at 10 AM.

Well, 10 AM came sooner than we thought. Zaneta, Hyland and I moved next door, through a set of doubled doors, into the conference room. We sat down and soon enough, all of the interns started to roll in. All 6 of us. Some were more late than others but we all managed to get there.

One thing that made me happy was when Deidre, a friend from college, walked through the door. She, unsurprisingly, was the last intern to show up. But I was happy when I saw her! I, of course, motioned for her to sit next to me. We spent the few minutes before orientation actually began catching up with each other, for the 2 weeks in which we hadn’t seen each other.

Then Taylor walked in. She, of course, strolled in and was very relaxed and chill about the entire situation. She wasn’t really a stick in the mud and seemed flexible (and I got that impression when she interviewed me for the position.) She did promise everyone free coffee though! Of course, this didn’t mean anything to me because I don’t drink coffee.

She showed all the interns to the kitchen area just off the Archive room. From what I could smell, the coffee was delicious. After everyone grabbed their cup, we all sat down and orientation began.

Now, orientation was of course a little boring. I mean, I had to sign papers of agreement, look over some rules, regulations and policies, and some other stuff. Blah material. But important blah material.

The best part about actual orientation was getting a tour of the entire building. We saw the studio spaces, the building rooms, the offices, etc. But the best part was getting to go up on the roof!

We all took the elevator up and when we stepped out, well, the sunlight practically was staring us all in the face! Too bright Mr. Texas Sun! But, once my eyes adjusted, I saw what was on the roof. Man, there was a whole eating area up here! And it came with a covering to provide proper shade and protection from the sun!

Look at this roof man! It’s awesome! I wanna come back up here soon!


Taylor informed us that many employees tend to eat up on the roof because it is so nice and it gives them some fresh air.

We took a group picture up there but I don’t have a copy of it. What I do have is a picture of the intern badges that we all received shortly before the tour began! While it’s a bit bland, it’s mine and mine alone. So, hey, I’ll love it anyways.

My little badge. Oh, well, it’s the one thing I actually own as mine.

Then we all went back down to the first floor. Stepping out of the elevator, Taylor informed us of Linda Pace, founder of Artpace. She had her own artwork (made by another artist) dedicated to her and place by the front door for all to see. Honestly, thought I’ve never met her, I’m sure she was an amazing person.

Linda Pace, in an artwork. Well, I’ll never know her personally but, I hear only good things.

The last thing on the tour we did was meet all of the staff in their respective offices. Most of the staff seemed professional, but also very down-to-earth. Still, on some of them, I got a feeling of uptight-ness and that made me uptight.

Then the tour ended. We all moved back into the conference room to continue orientation and filling out more papers. However, we didn’t stay there long because we all went to lunch. When I say we all went to lunch, I mean we all went to lunch together! Taylor was nice enough to treat us all to lunch on behalf of Artpace.

That’s when Scott and Krystal walked in. Scott and Krystal are also employees of Artpace. Scott showed up to make sure that everyone could get to the lunch destination, which was a place I had never heard of in all my living in San Antonio. Krystal showed up because she wanted to go along and be treated too! Between the 10 of us all who went to lunch, 4 went with Taylor in her car, Krystal drove her own car, and the rest went with Scott in the company car.

There’s the company car. It’s a little compact Cube! I’m laughing inside..!

I decided to go with Scott because, hey, why not? My half piled into the car and we all took off down the road to 5 Points Local Restaurant. There was small talk being made in the car but I wasn’t really paying attention. I didn’t have much to say.Still, some of the eavesdropping I did wasn’t half bad.

Once we arrived to 5 Points, we all got out and walked to the front door. Then we stopped. The restaurant was closed because it was Monday. Wow? Closed on a Monday? That’s new to me.

Well, if we’re not getting in here, where are we going? We’re all confused!

So Taylor rethought her plan. She and Scott decided to go to Sobro Pizza which wasn’t too far from 5 Points.

Well, we all piled back in our cars and drove 3 minutes down the way to this other restaurant. Cool by me. Then, we park and all get out. Then we walk to the front door and stop. Closed on Mondays too! Are you kidding me? I was starving at this point! I was starting to think that neither Taylor nor Scott didn’t did their research.

Excuse the blurry photograph but this place wasn’t open either! What’s going on???

Then Taylor decided it would be best to walk around the area and find a restaurant that was open. We walked one block over to Green Vegetarian Cuisine and finally sat down for lunch. Although, because of how big our group was, we had to wait a while. This I could understand since we didn’t call ahead and it was the lunch time rush.

We all sat down, half of us at a table, the other half at the outside bar. I gave their menu a look over and I found some interest in it. They include a little history of the business, along with their options. I decided on ordering the eggplant parmesan entrée because I’ve had eggplant parmesean before so I wanted a safe choice.

Nice little menu here. Hmm, what else is it packing?

While waiting, the conversation which took place around me was both inviting and not. I was sitting at a table full of women talking about women things. I tried to include myself a lot but I couldn’t really fit in so to speak. But I did listen. The conversation was nice enough to at least do that while I waited for my food. I do admit that I glance around at the scenery from time to time.

It’s outside so it’s very nice. Honestly, the restaurant is super inviting!

Eventually, my food arrived. It looked so delicious! While I am not vegetarian, I do admit that the food was exquisite! I completely obliterated that meal! But, since I was among strangers and women, I was civil and not so uncaring about my eating habits. You know what I’m getting at…

Look at my food! Can you understand why I ate everything? I also got a salad as a side. Delicious!

Well, after eating lunch, we all headed back to Artpace. Once we got back, we finished up orientation. There wasn’t much left other than to receive our benefits. What do I mean by benefits? I mean receiving a free Artpace membership for a full year! Hell yeah! I even got a little card to show for it!

Wow, I’m just getting all the perks huh?! This is awesome! I’m gonna use this alright!

But after all that, orientation had officially concluded. 4 of the interns were free to leave and go home because their first real work day didn’t start until tomorrow. Hyland and I, well, we got straight to work. It was bittersweet.

I found out that Scott was going to be my direct supervisor for my internship. He showed me to my office, which I found out was being shared with Chris, another employee. Chris was cool. Didn’t say much but he definitely made me feel at ease.

Scott then took the time to explain to me how to log into the my computer, how to navigate the Artpace information server, and then he introduced me to my first project. He needed me to gather a list of names and locations for a specific reason (can’t reveal that reason as I’m under oath.)

What I found out was that all of the information I would need was on the server, which by the way (although somewhat organized) was not the easiest to find exactly what I was looking for. Of course, Scott was kind enough to direct me to the actual file I would need. That’s when I started to shake in the knees.

Why? It was a Microsoft Excel file. Oh shite! I am not, I repeat, notat all, WHATSOEVER, competent with Excel! But I didn’t tell him that. Heh. No thanks. I had to figure out how to search the file for specific names and man, that took a very long time. But I managed to get some progress done before the day ended.

It turns out that 5 PM came a lot quicker than I thought. I packed up my stuff, closed out my documents and files, and turned off my computer. I left my office door open since I was also sharing it with Chris. On the way out, I told Scott that my day was over. He nodded and told me in the friendliest way that he’d see me tomorrow.

I admit, I was a bit nervous but I managed to get through it and he didn’t come chasing after me once I was out of sight. Thankfully. So, I signed out and then I was on my way out the door. I then ran back to the bus stop that I got off at, at the beginning of the day.

My bus came at 5:15 PM and I got off at 5 PM. While the bus stop wasn’t far, between waiting for traffic and remember where I came from exactly, I got there in the nick of time. I ended up doing a lot of jaywalking. However, once I got to the bus stop, I sat down for a quick moment to survey the area. I was trying to remember as much as possible for tomorrow so I wouldn’t go through this again.

This is the stop I get off at in the morning, although it’s the evening here. Nice view though!

Then, the bus stopped in front of me. I took out my pass, swiped it and sat down in the non-Senior Citizen Priority sections. Before I knew it, I managed to fall asleep as the bus was moving. I was pooped out. But I couldn’t sleep peacefully exactly because I didn’t trust my situation. I had my personal belongings in my backpack and I clutched tightly to them. I also didn’t want to miss getting off at my stop.

But, eventually, the bus moved along its route and brought me back to where I started. I got off the bus and that ended my first day as an intern.

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