Reluctant Return

It is time for me to leave Austin and return to the driveway.   I have had a great time here, and I am sad to leave.  But as Tracey Chapman would sing, “Leave tonight or live and die this way.”

Besides, it is my honor to see my Mom through her cataract surgery….if she will go peaceably, and not resist arrest.  😉   If there was ever any question about where I get my independent, hard headed, self reliant streak, look no further….

“She was South Padre….when South Padre wasn’t cool!

The driveway is certainly a convenient parking place.  My brother Don “hooked me up” with a 30amp plug. And just across the sidewalk are unlimited steamy hot showers, 900 cable channels, and something usually simmering on the stove.   But the best part is the gratitude that I feel for living with six wheels under me, because I can leave again.  The driveway is surrounded on three sides by constant barking dogs.   First up is the chained  blonde lab that starts barking at 7am until her owner gets home from the public school at 4:00pm.   Next comes the after-work shift when people are out walking their dogs, so the nervous chihuahuas across the back alley get cranked up until dark.  Then at night, the wild dog next door with the freakish light green eyes takes over until 4am with a scream so troubling that I have nicknamed him “The Terrorist.”   From 4am to 7am, the dogs finally go quiet…..just in time for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe to come rolling through, blaring the horn from one end of town to the other to alert all the traffic flowing across the tracks at 4am in a 5,000 resident town.  Welcome back to Hooterville.

It’s a good thing I am sober…

Here are my conclusions from my two week stay in Austin:

#1.  Austin is still “awesome.”

You can’t go much more than two sentences into a conversation without hearing that overly-used word.   The generational differences are never more evident than when I need a “hair refresh” in a trendy part of town where every salon is vying for “Austin’s Most Awesome!”   My heavily tattooed, nose-ringed stylist insists on finding common ground on which to we can make small talk.  Attempts to discuss concerns surrounding the impending “Zombie Apocalypse”  are a non-starter.

Sunday at Barton Springs — departure day is always the nicest weather day. It is a universal law. (My finger on the iphone made the red spot, but I am too lazy to fix it.)

Lunchtime on the Shady Grove patio on Barton Springs Rd.

#2.  I am a Fair Weather Fitness Fan

It is near impossible to have any kind of full-timers fitness routine in a winter like we are having in Texas.  Although I set my intentions to walk 10,000 steps per day, it really was challenging.   I skipped it altogether on days that dropped down below 35, as I just don’t have the clothing for the kind of weather where the wind seeps through my two layers of fleece like they were cheesecloth.  If it has been this tough in a fun city like Austin where every place is so “walkable,” then I don’t hold out much hope for the next few weeks in the driveway.

The boat’s name is “Outlandish!”

#3.  I miss my Mini-Me!

I didn’t bring the Tracker this trip, because I was only going to be here for two weeks, and besides, Austin is “so walkable!”  Right…..If you’re a polar bear.   I brought my bike with me, thinking I would ride every day, but with the blustery wind, that turned out to be only three days.   There were a lot of times when I wished I could just go jump in the “toad” and do what I needed to do, without having to put on 3 layers of clothing and wind proofing my skin!    My conclusion is, it is worth the pain in the ass to hook and unhook.  So from now on, we are a trio act.

“Why you walkin’ round with your pants on the ground?”

# 4.  I don’t need “Her” to tell me it’s “Burrrr!”

I went to see the movie “Her” with Joaquin Phillips, about the futuristic guy wearing high-waisted pants who falls in love with “Samantha,” his operating system.   I joked beforehand with one of my friends that I was somewhat reluctant to see the movie for fear it too closely resembled my own “social life in a laptop.”    Sure enough, it was pretty creepy.   When I awoke the next morning and asked Siri, “What’s the temperature outside?”  she answered in a low, soft whisper, “Burrrrrr!” It was almost creepy enough to make me want to switch to Android.

“Burrrrrr, Suzanne. It is cold out. Stay under the covers. It’s a good day to sleep in!” Love, Siri

This is what a $13 movie seat looks like…

#5.  If you live long enough…

If you live long enough, especially if much of that time is spent in a liberal University town, you will eventually start to witness signs of the evolution of our species.   I learned a new word while I was here in Austin this time.  “Polyamory.”  Like polygamy without the promises or paperwork.   It appears to be catching on among the young, and I can’t say I disagree with the concept.   I have been asked in the past my thoughts on Gay marriage.  Hell, after my own eight years of “Hell for Heteros”  I can’t even condone traditional marriage!   I would like to think the union of two souls happens at a much higher level than the courthouse.  It will be interesting to see where this new movement in our society evolves…

Zilker Park Zephyr Express with purple-haired conductor

This is how a movement starts. “Occupy Zilker Park!”

So as I close my window overlooking Pecan Grove for the last time this morning on what is a quintessential spring day in Austin (why is the best day always departure day??)  I feel sad to leave.  On one hand, it is one of the few places that feels right.   But that’s only in my head, not my heart.  Too many reminders of redirected intentions.  Graduates with journalism degrees cutting hair.  PhDs waiting tables.   A nutrition major turned nomad.  And a painful reminder of “which one of these is not like the others”  as I (like) listen to the (like) “awesome!” conversations around me.   I have more in common with the hobos keeping warm at the McDonalds than I do with the Hipsters buying $8.99 half-gallons of orange juice at the Whole Foods.

It’s not my town anymore…it belongs to “The Awesome.”

What brand do you think he smokes? Filtered, or unfiltered?

5 thoughts on “Reluctant Return

  1. I’ve always wanted to propose a debate for this generation of which is more awesome, the word more or the word like. I mean (like) is like (like) more better than (like) more or is (like) more (like) more better than (like) like? Or are they more (like) equal (like)?

  2. I got a chuckle out of this post, as well as the Austin Motel’s sign…such an obvious phallic symbol, they must rent rooms by the hour. :)
    Good luck with your mom…I loved the photo of her, the art deco sunglasses and “BAM” print sundress. What a Like Awesome treasure…
    Box Canyon Mark

  3. #1 I didn’t see the red spot
    #2 Hope your mama is still as cool as in that picture
    #3 I must correct you, that is “YO, why you walkin’ round wif yo’ pants on duh groun.
    #4 You have the patience of a SAINT to deal with 21 hour per day dog noise complimented by trains. Have you had any sleep??

    There isn’t enough tea in China for me to follow in your footsteps. I sure hope your mother feels WELL LOVED because she obviously is.

  4. ahhh Suzanne, just love that City … and you reminded why I came on to Little Rock instead of finding a place there… which I had fully intended upon doing. The cost of living plus g’babies…

    There are a lot of things I will put up with but barking dogs? no …. way jose. especially practically 24 hours of it… no way! isn’t there an ordinance there? guess not. you will be fined round heah… I live next door to two dogs … big dogs… and very seldom do you hear a peep…

    I know you’re not a loud mouth ol extrovert but … you want me come there and have a chat with your neighbors??? I’ll do it! 😉 ….

    Hope your Mom’s surgery goes fast … most cataract surgeries do these days… and you can be on your way! I love it when you remind me of how independent having your own home on wheels is. sure do

  5. Thinking of your wild mama today and hoping all has gone well. Once her new eyes can see, she’s probably going to kill you for posting that pic of her! But it’s truly priceless! This is yet another “awesome” post about Austin….Millie asks if that boat car could be towed behind a View?!!

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