I decided to challenge myself with making a short film for the AirBnb Shorts contest. This wise use of my time and energy was probably based on the fact that I am clearly not busy enough. Or slightly crazy. But with a $7,000 prize package including an all-expense paid trip to London to attend Sundance Institute’s Short Film workshop, how could I resist?

I instantly wanted to participate in order to complete the task of making a short film, promote San Marcos as a kick-ass town, potentially gain some recognition (credits), take a free INTERNATIONAL trip, attend a short film workshop, and be able to take my kids to see that English band that crashed at our apt when they were on tour in the states. Yep, I was just another poor single mom looking for assistance with a free handout. (Insert sarcastic “Thanks, Obama” here.)

**Long story short on the English band aka “strangers” crashing at my pad: Met ‘em on streetcar in New Orleans. Ran into them again at NOLA AT&T store dealing with my fried iPhone that swam in a saltwater pool with me to save my kid from drowning. Invited them to stay with us while they visited Central Texas. Band got gig at Green Parrot. Band was absolutely amazing with my boys and named them “cuddle monsters”. Now their GP set list, written on a pizza box, is in a frame on my living room wall.**

I felt that I HAD to enter. The theme was “Show us why your city is amazing: Inspiring people to travel to your city”. I ended up going it alone and doing “Get Your Selfie in San Marcos”. I went around town asking people to take selfies with San Marcos stuff in the background.

I learned so much from doing the project, and it was wonderful to meet all the participants and hear their stories. I met women who had just finished a celebration of the life of their dear friend and had put rose petals in the river. I met a homeless man that was born and raised in San Marcos and was eating the free food a restaurant had given him. I met the workers who are trying to restore the old fish hatchery after the arson disaster. I met men at the Hill Country Humidor and learned more about them. I met the sidewalk when I tripped and fell down. I met waiters and kitchen staff and people that actually have their homes available through AirBnb. I met a woman that was scuba-diving to clean the bottom of the river. I met teens playing basketball, flag football, skateboarding, and swimming. I met the staff for the glass bottom boats. I met an undercover cop, and I still don’t understand why he told me that so easily. I met men doing yoga in Sewell Park. I met tourists who were visiting San Marcos for the first time and said, “It’s my first day in San Marcos, and I’ve already made a friend.”

It was an AMAZING experience.

It took 3 days to make my 15-second video. I scoped out my competition through Instagram, and I quickly realized that I had no chance of winning. However, even though many of those cities appear incredibly gorgeous and fun, I’m gonna keep my Selfie in San Marcos. The people—yes, the people, whether visiting or local, are pretty damn amazing. Myself, of course, included.

P.S. Selfie = Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year.

Kelly Stone is a sexual health educator and college lecturer who likes to think of her stand-up comedy as “edutainment”. She began performing in 2006 at an open mic in Philadelphia and has been hooked on comedy ever since. She hosts the monthly Hot Mess Comedy Show at Bar 141 in San Marcos, speaks to various universities about anything they’ll pay her to talk about, watches Project Runway, and is still trying to figure out how to keep her boys from smearing Greek yogurt on the furniture. Follow her on twitter: @funnykelly or help stop her kids when they are trying to run across a busy street. There’s safety in numbers.

Show Dates:

Tuesdays, Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz, 8:00 pm, Tap Room, Free

Friday, January 31, Hot Mess Comedy Show, 8:00 pm, Bar 141, $5

Tuesday, February 4, San Marcos Invasion, 8:30 pm, Rivercenter Comedy Club

Wednesday, February 5, San Marcos Game Night, 8:30 pm, Triple Crown, Free

Friday, February 7, Do Good Work Podcast Live, 7:00 pm, Spiderhouse Ballroom, Free
Wednesday-Friday, February 12-15, New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival

Wednesday, February 19, San Marcos Game Night, 8:30 pm, Triple Crown, Free

Friday, February 28, Hot Mess Comedy Show, 8:00 pm, Bar 141, $5

Wednesday, March 5, San Marcos Game Night, 8:30 pm, Triple Crown, Free