25 things I’ve learned in austin, texas
1. People are friendly and love their music and their food and their unusual coffee shops.
2. You can eat great food from the trailers, which are everywhere and quite wonderful. If you are at Torchy’s, order the fried avocado taco and your life will never be the same.
3. You are always 3 seconds away from a car accident. Drive defensively. Texans text, so be extra careful.
4. It is safer and faster to drive the toll roads. Keep quarters with you at all times.
5. Groceries are cheaper than back East, and in the supermarkets they make tortillas while you watch. You will see a lot of peppers you have never seen before, so be careful what you buy in the produce aisles.
6. Muscle Milk is a staple. As is beer. And tequila. And lots and lots of bottled water.
7. People walk everywhere.
8. Dogs are welcome in many places and are very well-behaved. Musicians love their dogs. Dogs love their music.
9. Supermarkets have live music shows. Take the kids and your grandparents.
10. No one knows how to make real gumbo (my sons want me to move to Texas and open a gumbo business in a Silverstream trailer–not gonna happen).
11. Young people really love the old folks’ music and have great respect for the history they represent unless you are in a huge outdoor venue and then everyone talks while the show is on.
12. There is no rust on the cars (says the New Englander who lives in the Rust Capitol of the World).
13. If you drink diet soda and not alcohol in the bars, no one cares as long as you tip the waitress and the band. And *always* tip the band. It’s good manners, especially if there is no cover charge.
14. Men of all ages still hold doors open for ladies of all ages, and they say “excuse me” frequently.
15. Western boots look cute with short ruffled skirts if you are under 30. If you are over 50, it’s a look that’s a bit tricky to pull off.
16. There is a Goodwill, Salvation Army, thrift store or consignment shop on just about every other block. These Austin folks love vintage clothing, vintage boots, vintage furniture and vintage jewelry. They recycle and love bargains.
17. When out on the town, be clean and be polite and don’t block anyone’s driveway when parking your car.
18. Always try to snag a chair at any music event. Get there early. If the venue is crowded, but you spot an empty chair, you can always ask the people at the table if you can sit there. Chances are they will say yes and then your feet won’t hurt for a while.
19. Never go anywhere without ear plugs in your pocket. Babies in strollers at loud musical events should wear headphones.
20. A fun night out is at the Alamo Drafthouse, where you can watch a movie, have dinner and a glass of wine/beer all at the same time. The food is great and the specials are often coordinated to match the movies. Buy your tickets ahead of time (online) and get there at least half an hour before the movie starts.
21. Check out the Highball, where you can bowl, dance, sing karaoke and have–you guessed it–a highball.
22. The traffic lights–red and green–last forever. But remember the “Texans text, so be careful” rule of defensive driving.
23. Beware of people walking at night. They rarely wear light or reflective clothing and will cross busy streets whenever the mood strikes them. Same with cyclists.
24. There is no dress code so jeans are always appropriate, but…
25. …if you wear your jeans so low that your pubic hairs are mightily exposed, you run the risk of the 60-year old woman (waiting near you in the restaurant lobby) telling you to pull up your pants or buy some underwear.
Austin looks like fun.