Austin, When it Sizzles

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I’ve been meaning to wrap up my vacation reporting by telling all about our trip to Austin, but I’ve been distracted by choking to death on Saki’s cat hair enveloping the house in a giant cloud.  How such a small cat can generate so much excess hair without going completely bald is beyond me.  Possibly it is proof of a fourth dimension.

So anyway, Austin.  Dian von Austinburg and I went to to the You of Tee there more than thirty years ago and worked on the student newspaper together.  Hilarious times.  She was a mere child, I was a doper.  Austin then was a redoubt of hippies and the burgeoning punk rockers.  I worked at a motel where the Ramones stayed and they complained to me the laundry service they had sent their dirty clothes to (who knew the Ramones even bothered?) sent back their tee shirts with starch in them.

Austin now seems much more tidy, a very, very attractive clean little American city.  They do flog the live music scene there (which was an important component of the slacker life style when I was resident) as a big time industry.  There were two live bands playing in two different bars in the airport the day we left.  Ask yourself if that might be the life you would have dreamed of.

One thing unchanged is the delicious Mexican food, in which we indulged at least once a day every day.  I went to sleep in an enchilada induced food coma more more than once.

And now, the slide show!

We considered “provisions for men” but decided we had enough.  Provisions, not men.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was gorgeous with Indian paintbrushes at their peak and bluebonnets just waning.  But christ almighty, was it hot.  I know real Texans would pooh pooh the temperatures while we were there, but my time in California has wimped me out.

The center had recreated in its courtyard a famous Texas spring called The Blue Hole.  I can’t tell you how tempting it was to “accidentally” fall into it despite the signs firmly prohibiting just that.  But I grew up with the kind of middle aged Texas Ladies patrolling nearby as docents and I knew better than to mess with those bitches.

Instead, we repaired afterwards to a small neighborhood drug store called Nau’s (my grandmother’s family is related to the Nau’s.   I bring that up relentlessly whenever I pass the store, it was my one claim to fame.)  The geek guy making milkshakes paid the kind of dedication and time to them that one would expect of research into cold fusion.
I thought about calling for help.

Diane was, as usual, the consummate great host, putting up with my crochets and eccentric driving.  Yay for her bad self.

She even took us to an obscure art piece, the Graffiti Museum, which turned out to be my favorite part of the trip.  Some condo developer went bust and left behind the foundations of his project.  The current owners have donated, temporarily, the site to a local art nonprofit which, in turn, administers it and allows graffitos to go wild, within some proscribed terms. Even if, like me, you’re ambivalent about graffiti being art, I think you’d be charmed by this.  It was so elaborate and some of the pieces so beautiful.  Some of it was just stupid tagging, but plenty was striking.

And then we got on the plane to come home and fell into the trip from hell.  But let us never speak of that again.

About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

5 responses »

  1. And damn, I feared Austin had been forgotten. You didn't even tell all about the minigolf art installation, but I think that's because you were still in a Mexican food coma. Or a cat hair coma. I can relate to the latter.

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