Texas is the Reason

(After having this sit here in my drafts for a while, I realized I had to finish it, even as depressing as it may come across. The reason I needed to finish it was to write about what has been happening, however vague. The dour mood could not be avoided, though, as much as I had tried to brighten it.)

After having lived here for nearly three months many things have both come to light and/or dissipated that I was sure would come to fruition, personal and professional. I am not writing this as a diatribe of said hopes but merely to outline, for those of you that read regularly or even sporadically, my feelings of the place as a whole.

Dallas. Hot, boring, and a punch in the face for anyone driving through.

When I say Texas, I mostly mean Austin. Save for one weekend in Dallas, the entirety of my time has been spent here in the state capital. (Dallas, by the way, is a dreary place. The sun may shine brighter and hotter than in the colder north, but, lordy. You want free enterprise? Move to Dallas. The rich survive and the poor get fucked. That is not to say that the people I was surrounded by during my visit were not genuine and gentle, through and through. Complaining about a city, of course, does not entail, at least for me, its everyday inhabitants. Commodious, to say the least, and, above all, hilarious. Fucking nuggets of goodwill, all of them that I encountered.)

Texas moves slow. That is not to say the inhabitants are dumb, quite the contrary. Everyday I encounter people that are not only insightful but also patient, courteous, and understanding. Being a Yankee transplant, I, of course, am constantly dumbfounded at the everyday things.

I bought a car upon arrival, as is semi-needed in an environment like Austin. (There is a happening bike culture already in place but I am a smoker and these hills are outrageous. Plus I need to get mine back in a ride-able condition. [Saying obvious things like, “Well, riding your bike will get you in shape,” or, “The hills become easier once you start riding them,” are givens so don’t start.]) Instead of waiting at the DMV like every other place I have lived, the car dealer actually goes there for you and has it on the car ready for you to pull away, tagged and ready to be flagged by the cops. And, also…concerning the car…I knew exactly what I wanted, a used Volvo (not knowing that seemingly 50% of Austin drives a used Volvo). I found a place north of the city proper (Pflugerville) that only deals in Volvos and has been family run for, like, 25 years or some shit. I called them and talked to Mike, an honest person, or so seemed upon our first conversation. He was the manager and very open about the options. “Listen, I’m glad you called. People go to the website and see the cars and think we got ’em all, well we don’t. Which one were you lookin’ at?”

“A green one. It’s like a ’91, or something.”

“Yeah, I got that one. When you wanna come down?”

“Well, I can be down this afternoon.”

“Yeah, that’s good. I’ll be back from lunch at one. Don’t be here at one, though. Sometimes I like to digest, you know.”

“Poop? Sorry.”

“Heh. Yeah.”

“I’ll be there at two.”

“Ohright. You know how to get here?”

“Yeah, I got directions.”

“Ohright.”

The directions were from Google, which have been trustworthy in all of my expeditions. However, in Austin they don’t seem to work too well. In my still-rented full size moving truck I circled and circled the same goddamn strip mall countless times. I even remember punching the steering wheel, a new occasion for me and one that I will never do again as it only adds to the frustration. Finally, after stopping next to a dumpster behind an ill-named store of some sort I decided to call.

“Hey, Mike. I’m lost, man.”

“When you said you had directions did you mean that you got ’em off Google?”

“Yes.”

“Man, I wished you would’ve told me that. Google doesn’t work here. I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t trust Google maps here in Austin,’ but, ah, well. Where you at?”

I explained and he had me there in a matter of seconds.

I arrived and took a look at the Internet car. As is wont to happen, the photo on the internet and

I was unable to take a photo of my car in motion on a highway, so enjoy this stolen one.

the actual automobile seemed almost completely different. No fault of his and more of mine in that I had already pictured the entire transaction in my mind. Hmmmm.

Sensing my frustration, Mike brought me into the garage where he had a loaner car that he wanted to show me. I had already mentioned my price range, to which he referenced:

“Now, I know this is a little above what you wanted to spend, but I can tell you that this one is ready to go, minus a few things here and there.”

He went on to explain, in detail, what was wrong with it (all very minor) and how they would fix it all beforehand, that is if I wanted to buy it.

“Now, I know,” Mike said, “that I am a car salesman and I know the rap that we get. I have it priced here but I can come down. I do need to make money, though.”

After a little more talking, we shook hands. It would be ready after the weekend, he told me. “Call in the afternoon,” he told me. “We all got a funeral in the morning.”

All said and done, he was completely honest with everything that was said. I have run into some ill-timed issues (as far as my money is concerned) but the car has been fantastic, as a whole. (I did hit a pothole, which busted the entire wheel. And then, in a single day, managed to get two flat tires [at different times] by perils still unknown to me. And then the battery died. After such bad timing one can only laugh, right?)

(I only went through all of that to paint a picture of how these people are [I just instantly assume that I am talking to all northerners] long winded, honest, and upright.)

I only want to be left to my own ways.

The days are sunny and warm, as far as temperature, but I remain in a winter hibernation. Possibly from habit or possibly from my penchant for surrounding myself with things I can associate with, which, as is spelled out in that last statement, not good for moving to a new environ, as far as finding friends and/or like-minded individuals is concerned. Habit peers in at first and before one realizes seemingly overtakes any and all goals. Where I once silently complained of meeting with friends at the same watering hole every week to unload our concerns and worries upon each other, I now find myself fully packed with said concerns. (As I have stated time and time again, in my complaints about Chicago, it has never concerned my close friends, of whom I miss terribly no matter what happens in the coming months.) Where I once complained about distance between home and happening, I now disregard the distance and replace it with an unwanting to experience anything fresh, out of a mental laziness to explain myself and where I have come from. The trouble, I have discovered, is within myself…but this is not an issue solely of myself alone. Everyone houses this penchant. I merely thought myself strong enough to disregard what history has taught man over the ages; one cannot live on bread alone, nor with their own mind as its sole confidant.

It is not from a lonely hierarchy that I write this and this not meant as a diatribe to the wonderful souls that I have met whilst basking in this marvelous, southern sun. This is, instead, an opening of sorts, of myself. The mystery of the coming months is just that. I’ve thrown myself into this fire to test my survival, so to speak. It is a trial of character, and thus far I am ahead.

On a lighter note, there are some fantastic facts about the state of Texas that I have found interesting, if not confounding. Did you know that:

  • To drive across Texas is to drive 1/3 the way across the United States.
  • Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. Flag.
  • Texas is the only state that was a Republic before it became a state.
  • The Texas capitol building, here in Austin, is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington , D.C.
  • Texas can become a republic again at any time the voters of Texas choose. This was part of the deal when Texas joined the United States.
  • Texas has its own power grid.

Not to mention that Texas has the ocean, rivers, lakes, plains, deserts, and mountains. Big Red and Dr. Pepper were both invented in Waco, TX, just up the road from where I reside. (Imagine my embarrassment when I posed the question, “Man…I thought Big Red was a Hoosier thing. I’ve never seen it so popular anywhere except here.”)

Needless to say, I have a lot to learn and accept as a Yankee. Unfortunately not all of my plans have worked out, but, for lack of a better term, that’s life. Without the low there is no high. Though hopes falter a blind faith in the future can keep one afloat.

What the next few months have in store no one knows. I do know, however, that my drive is still intact and my focus is forever honed on the things best for myself. Without the self-preservation instilled in me through lessons learned, both from myself and from those that came before, I would, obviously, be nothing. And neither would you.

(The underlying feeling.)

(Audio only)

(Or what I blast in the new-to-me car)

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Comments
3 Responses to “Texas is the Reason”
  1. Nicole Yalaz says:

    I miss ya buddy!

  2. pjonas says:

    i’m from dallas, and all’s i gota say is if you don’t like dallas,.well………..don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out

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