Sunday, December 16, 2007

Austin was a whole lot of things.

My first impression of Austin was not a good one. Wait, I take that back. The first couple of hours driving into Austin were very nice. Sunday was our one day off. We drove into Austin, the first store I went into was...Target. Strange how happy and safe I felt being in a familiar environment after many days of new, unfamiliar places and people. Yes, I said Target.

The Austin landscape is beautiful. Trees, hills, lakes, I thought it was going to be flat, dry land, you know, the Texas you see in movies. A liberal, hippie-like college town with tons of little shops, restaurants of all different types of ethnic cuisines, I felt like I could have been in Berkeley. "I'm going to like this," I thought.

Day two was quite the opposite experience. Trying to do business with these people was hell. Showing up an hour late, not really hyped on what they do, re-scheduling last minute, simply not showing up because they forget, having to call them numerous times to remind them of appointments, not returning emails or phone calls, saying they couldn't find their!?

It wasn't until I was talking with the gm of Hotel San Jose, that I came to a realization, or, well, he filled me in on what I was fighting (and loosing) against. Austin is a place where you can go to be and do whatever you want, and it's ok, and accepted. You can be here and live life at your own pace, laid back, on your own time, as long as no one gets hurt, hey, it's all good! People fall into businesses with the start of a simple idea or motivation. They don't know how they got to their current state of success, nor to do they care. They are just doing what they love to do. They are on their time, no need to stress, time? What's that?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you can be here and be motivated as all hell, inventing, creating, concepting and then running with it. The sky's the limit. You can be as successful or laid back as you want to be. What ever you are, it's all good, everyone understands in this town and is supportive.

Once I figured this out, life in Austin became so much easier. I am now, officially, a professional stalker.

Bob, my co-worker/friend, was so InTheMO, at all times.

Wes Hurt of Hey Cupcake. An inspiration in so many different ways.

Here's to keeping it weird.

The Broken Spoke, a real Honky Tonk. Unpaved parking lot, chicken fried steak, Shiner Bock, everyone from Willie Nelson to Dolly Pardon to Troy Aikman to George W. Bush have been to this Austin staple. James, the owner...what a great guy. Southern hospitality at it's best.

I never knew of Shiner Bock, chicken fried steak, frito pie, queso, veggie chorizo, blueberry cornbread, pecan crusted chicken, until Texas. I have the 10 extra pounds to prove it.

I must have lived a past life in Texas, or I'm destined to have some important life altering connection to this place. I had numerous inexplicable "coincidences" and deja vu moments. All were of dreams that I had had before and frequently remembered throughout my life. Here in Texas, I saw them in real life. There were people I swear I had met before, eyes I swear I've looked into and stories I already knew. So powerful and strange, they would happen sometimes during interviews and I would be completely speechless. Aside from these synchronocities, I've always had a thing for cowboys, I mean, cowboy boots, I'm in love with the old architecture of the historic Texas buildings, the beautiful landscape with skies like paintings, and I swear I've developed, or revived somewhat of a southern drawl.

1 comment:

Sir Timothy Mercer said...

It seems that I'm becoming a regular commentary on your blog. This was a great post. It makes me jealous in a way. I try so hard sometimes to crank out a few good sentences, days on end, obsesively tinkering my words just right so they are polished and perfect and heavy, but you, you just throw down a few paragraphs that are raw and heartfelt and realy mean something. It's impresive.

I'm glad that you're time in Austin was enlightening. I miss that town. It sure is different from living here in Dallas. It doesn't surprise me in the least that you had a little trouble getting your job done there, as it's not really "that" kind of town. You know, the sort of ritzy, all frills, no substance sort of place like L.A. of Vegas, or even Dallas to a certain extent. In Austin, there's actually a bit of real culture. A strain of history that can't co-exist with progress and pop culture. The hipster crowd, with thier ultra-lounges and fifteen dollar martinis, are need a cultural vacuum in which to survive, and when you have decent, open-minded folk with a keen eye for history and the importance for the truly important things in life--like a good beer and some beef jerky--that genre of mass-marketed, pre-fab cool just can't exist.

Of course, Austin can kind of suck for anyone that isn't from Austin. Those guys can be such snobs sometimes. And that's coming from a guy that works in a bourgois wine shop and loves incomprehensible french films.

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