Monday, July 6, 2009

Lost in Austin

The Fair Tish and I went on our annual Super Secret Road Trip ("SSRT"). This was SSRT #5: Lost in Austin. The SSRT occurs around the first week of July every year, and is basically comprised of me planning a weekend in a city, telling Tish to hop in the car, and then we go. Somewhere along the way, I tell her where we're going, and it's a great deal of fun. This custom began when we were dating, and would go someplace for the day (in other words, we wouldn't spend the night somewhere).

Austin was a blast. We ate some great food, visited the Capitol, canoed, and toured the LBJ Presidential Library. We also stumbled upon a tea party, and hung out with about a thousand of our closest friends. If I could buy stock in the Gadsden Flag, I would go all in. The tea parties, if nothing else, are great stimuli for the flag business. Below I've composed ten observations about Austin. Feel free to contribute your own.

1. I didn't get bitten by a single mosquito, not one---not even while canoeing. I don't know if you can appreciate that phenomenon or not, but I must say I found it simply amazing.

2. Perhaps just as interesting, I surmise the reason I didn't get bitten was because Austin is home to 1.5 million bats that live around the lake near the Capitol Building.

3. Somebody should franchise tattoo parlors. Maybe that's already been done, but if it hasn't some enterprising inkster should take charge. Austin has approximately 700,000 people, all of whom, it seems, have at least three visible tattoos. That's visible tattoos.

4. Austin has a N. Congress, a S. Congress, and a Congress. As Congress is the main road, I believe there should be some sort of sign when you come into town about this. The Capitol Building divides North Congress and Congress. Then past the lake you have South Congress. I suppose this isn't a big deal when driving, but when it's 1:30 on a 110 degree day and you're walking around the Capitol Building on Congress and 15th hankering for a pizza at a certain primo pizza joint you read was on the 1400 block of S. Congress, and you've just noticed that north of the Capitol is N. Congress, well, you get a bit peeved, let's say, when you walk six blocks and realize there's no "S." in front of Congress....

5. While you can't smoke in restaurants in Austin, you can wear a dress that comes less than an inch below your business, if you catch my drift. Speaking of women's dresses, a feminist law professor told me once that a good answer to an essay question should be like a woman's skirt: long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting. Driving down 6th Street on Friday evening on our way back to the hotel I saw a lot of "interesting," but I don't think everything got covered.

6. I am absolutely convinced that big cities breed racism, and that the only people who can't see that are those people who live in big cities. A quick glance around and you see self-segregated groups all over the place: Asian groups, Mexican groups, Black groups, White groups. We were at a pizza place (a substitute pizza place for the aforementioned primo joint) and I went to get a refill of my Cherry Coke (the best drink with pizza, bar none). Behind the counter was a 40ish woman of Italian heritage, and in front of the counter chatting with her was a 60ish woman of Mexican heritage. The older woman was quite upset over something regarding the ubiquitous Jackson coverage. I asked her what she was specifically upset about and she cited the tickets being sold for the funeral at the Staples Center. "Would you ever pay for a funeral?" "No," I said. "I would never charge for one either," she said. Then she paused... "It's the blacks." Maybe I'm just some hayseed hick, but I figured it was just nuts of all races.

7. Is there a requirement that hotel workers don coats that are three sizes too big for them? I notice this on every overnight trip I take now. The guy, or gal, behind the counter, regardless of age or race, has on a coat that just swallows them. I wonder whether that's taught in all of those hotel management courses they have at colleges these days.

8. I'm convinced that every waiter I had there either just moved to Austin to get into the music business, or moved to Austin 10 years ago to get into the music business. (I'm sure in the fall there will be students waiting tables, too.) The Fair Tish pointed out that the reason they probably haven't made it in music is because waiters have to work so many nights and weekends, which is when most gigs would be booked. She suggests that aspiring musicians get day jobs so they can perform at night. I thought that was a brilliant point.

9. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited at the tea party (I abstained). The recitation brought up this thought: If we added Puerto Rico as a state, then would people who pledged allegiance to the 50 star flag not have to pledge allegiance to the 51 star flag, as they would be reneging on their prior promise? What about pledgers from pre-Alaska/Hawaii?

10. There's no place like home.

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