I’ve lived here for my entire adult life, which now qualifies as Quite Some Time. So there are many things I treasure about my hometown. But my #1 favorite could easily be this:
Austin has a narrative. A story it tells itself over and over.
I’ve never lived anywhere with its own narrative, and I moved a lot growing up. The best part of this narrative? No matter when one comes to stay in Austin, the story outline is the same. Only the details change. And yes, I’ll tell the damn story already:
When I moved to Austin, it was SO COOL! There were vibrant, interesting people doing creative things. We all went to <insert bar names> and listened to fantastic music from <insert band names>. And we hung out for hours at great joints like <insert restaurant names>. Oh, and housing was so cheap! Not Like Now, Since All Those People Moved Here. Now all those places are closed, the bands have all broken up, and the truly creative folks can’t afford to live here anymore. Austin is not as good as it used to be!
It’s Mad Libs History at its finest. My insertions include: Liberty Lunch, Timbuk 3 and Twang Twang Shaka Boom, Les Amis and Las Manitas. Though I didn’t actually hear TTSB except maybe once busking on the Drag, and I never made it into Las Manitas because parking downtown has always been a nuisance.
It’s by the details that you tell when the storyteller moved to Austin–each decade has its own set. BUT THE STORY NEVER CHANGES. It is the sweetest, stupidest thing.
(Thanks go out to my extended fam around the dinner table tonight…as I retold this out loud, I realized I’ve polished it enough to write it down, too.)