December 31, 2015 § 17 Comments
I am spending a few days in the city where I learned how to race bikes and ruined my life. The last time I was here was 2010 or so. Every time I come to Austin I’m told breathlessly how much it has changed.
“Development has taken over!”
“The things that make Austin Austin are being ruined!”
“East Austin is changing we hardly recognize it!”
“We have bike parking now!”
And all that is true. There are some new buildings and cars and people and bars on Pecan Street and coffe shops and craft breweries and a shit-ton of tract housing if I were inclined to go look at any of it.
But what really strikes me is that when I moved here in 1982 Austin was up in arms because of all the development and change and outsiders ruining what made Austin Austin, which in those days was weed and the Armadillo World Headquarters and Willie’s 4th of July Picnic and SRV.
In other words, weed.
In fact, Austin was being so ruined and de-Austinized in 1982 that there was a bumper sticker with an outline of the capitol over the neon light slogan, “No Vacancy.”
I never cared because all I ever did was ride my bike.
My parents came to visit me once in college but were so depressed they left and never returned until after I graduated. “Austin just isn’t the same,” they sighed before purchasing some prime real estate which is now probably worth $50 billion. “It’s changed.”
And it had. Because the last time they had lived here was 19-fucking-62.
So, yeah, shit changed in 20 years, and yeah, it has changed in the last 30, and call me crazy but 30 years hence it will have changed again and there is a super slight chance that Willie might even be dead.
What’s interesting to me is that none of the development that everyone hates while it raises their property values has ruined what makes Austin Austin, because what makes Austin Austin, aside from the geography of “30 square miles surrounded by reality,” is the wild-eyed stoner fantasy that you can have a progressive and liberal city in the right-wing, open-carry, fundie nutjob center of Hell.
And that’s what I love about Austin! Happy New Year WM!
Same to you!
What defines true Austin development and de-progress is the shrinking number of signs on South Lamar between the river and Ben White that have something to do with “auto”. I once thought it would be a good thing if the body shops, tune-up shops, auto parts, muffle shops, oil change shops, car washes, windshield repair, more body shops, mom & pop clunker leasing, auto-salvage (junk yard), & in case I forgot a bunch of tacky used car lot’s would disappear. Most of them are gone replaced by these massive brand new condo and apartment buildings filled with new-comers to Texas that pay sky high rental rates for 500 square feet. OK one thing good is our property value has skyrocketed 🙂 BUT along with de-progress property taxes have mushroomed, egad!! There is still some funky and weirdness left in our beloved Austin and Willie makes the news but all hope could be gone sometime soon 😉
I look forward to our reunion Wankmeister Seth (former champion of the Blue Goose RR)
No one ever complains about their property values riding. Weird,
Simple logic really. I can’t sell my house, I love my house. If for some reason I did sell it I’d have to buy another one at least as expensive unless I moved away from Austin. It actually is for sale though if you or somebody wants it. $1,000,000- That’s what I tell people who troll every house in my ‘hood. In 10-years every house will be replaced by another McMansion, the traffic will be even worse, and maybe I’ll be dead by then anyway… but today is good 🙂
What I long for most Wanky is back when Austin was a big city, but like a country city just like Utsunomiya …just ask Yasuko’s Dad he knows all about that.
Big country cities are the best. I long for that, too.
Would that be Austin of the past as depicted in Richard Linklater’s film Slacker?
Anything called a “film” titled “Slacker” …
When your parents lived there in 19-fucking-62, there were old-timers there who lamented how Austin had changed since “before the war”. This is a never-ending spiral, as long as the human population grows.
The Hornsby family is still mad about that dogdamned new road built in 1837.
It’s not Austin that’s changed it’s San Antonio! And Silver Lake.
Change is good especially for underwear.
Our family got here as soon as it could back in 1969. We were white flight refugees of south Texas Chicano politics. In other words we are part of the problem. Hope you and Matt McP get to do some visiting. I got to ride with him and a recently returned to TX, Joel Rierson during the 6th Annual Violet Crown Winter Tour.
Not to mention that bitchin little worldclass racetrack, Circuit of the Americas….and weed.
That race track is so new …
Hope you get better in 2016 and ride more!