A Conversation for Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, O, Austin, how thy bloom has shredded

Post 1

Tonsil Revenge (PG)

Austin has become a tentacle-spreading h**lhole infested by out-of-state techno-yuppies and service-industry followers-on. The 'music scene' was around a long time before the ad execs were put on retainer. Most of the original venues have been bumped out of their leases in favor of parking lots (bicycle was the way I traveled) or business parks. People hives have sprung up where single family dwellings were. The police department is going through a two-decade-long evolutionary stage. The radio stations are owned by conglomerates. The bus service has expanded but it's still miles behind places like Santa Cruz, Ca. And the schools? Don't get me started. It is still a great place to be a foreign car owner. Parts yards and repairmen all over the place.

Austin, O, Austin, how thy bloom has shredded

Post 2

There is only one thing worse than being Gosho, and that is not being Gosho

It's all relative. When I first learnt to drive in 1986, the streets of London were already clogged with traffic, but although I'd been a passenger for the previous 29 years, I didn't notice it too much. Five years after I began driving, and 4 years after I'd been driving for a living, I was complaining about how bad the traffic had become, just as much as the people who'd been driving for years when I started. Of course, it's all relative to your starting point. Of course, I was another driver and was therefore adding to the problem I was complaining about.

Two years ago I moved to Austin to get married. I'm adding to the problem by adding to the population, although I'm not a techie and wouldn't be seen dead driving an SUV. I see Austin how it was the day I got here, and despise more development, but then, that whole building on Lamar between 5th and 6th where CC's coffee shop is was there before me, and that's the Austin I know. The Austin of two years ago is my starting point. No doubt many Austinites who have been here longer than me feel the same way about it as I feel about The Nokonah being built a little to the north at 9th street.

And no matter how bad the traffic gets in Austin, it will never be as bad as that in London.

Austin, O, Austin, how thy bloom has shredded

Post 3


Austin is a fun town, but it will break your heart. No, the traffic is nowhere near as bad as London, but that's the least of Austin's sins. It's worst sin is that it values progress over continuity--if it's new and big, it must be better than what we've already got. Never mind that the old stuff is what made people want to move to Austin in the first place.
It's next biggest sin is an absolute refusal to see the big picture. For example, one year the city counsel proposed putting trash bins on Congress Ave. There was a lot of litter and bins made sense. It didn't happen because there was too much protest about "the big government boondoggle" that would cost $50 per bin($50!!). Unbelievable!
I grew up there and later went to grad school there, and now every time I go home, I find another chunk of child and young adulthood has gotten paved over. I used to bore new arrivals to tears by lamenting the lost Austin of my childhood. My friends all knew never to ask my opinion on the Barton Skyway, the development along Lake Austin Boulevard, or the Tower Records on the Drag because they knew I would never shut the %&*@ up. Mind you, before long, those same friends were moaning about how Austin wasn't as nice as it was back in 1992. Such is life in Austin. I do still miss it sometimes though.

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