Neither Austin Nor Boston
Martha At The Great Wall
So last time I was talking about how moving to Georgetown and Central Texas was sort of a shock to us.
Now, again, let me stress that there is nothing wrong with the Austin-area, Georgetown, or, indeed, Texas in general. But, frankly, we just haven’t felt at home here. And, worse, we’ve been bored. I mean, really bored. I mean...booooooo-red.
There were a bunch of reasons for that. First, of course, we are newcomers, and it is taking us time to discover the ends and outs of things to do here. Second, and here I’m daring to repeat myself, there was Covid, and Lockdown, which means that even the things we *did* find to do got shut down. (Insert assorted curse words here.)
Then, just when the pandemic seemed to be easing up a bit, Martha fell, which meant that we were, once again, house-bound. (Insert even more curse words here. In fact, make them very, very colorful. And scatological. And theological. Most of the latter having to do with very warm spots occupied by certain individuals with horns and tails, plus ax murderers, serial killers, and able-bodied people who drive Mercedes and/or BMWs and who park illegally in handicapped spaces. But, six of one...)
Okay, but...there’s more.
Even now that Martha is better, and even now that Covid isn’t quite as awful, we still feel a little hemmed in.
At this point, gentle reader, you are shocked. You feel hemmed in? An expression of pained incredulity crosses your otherwise charming features. How could that be? you continue, now adding bewilderment with a side order of disbelief to your expression. After all -- you point out -- Martha and you live just north of Austin, Texas, which is a rocking town, with a booming economy, and world class museums, and a thriving restaurant scene, and much else besides. And it is one of the nation’s premier venues for live music. Think Willy Nelson and Austin City Limits.
And even--you continue, now warming to your subject--your own little city, Georgetown, to which you moved because Austin was a little too expensive, has all sorts of charms. It is a tourist destination. It has a downtown square that has been called one of the most beautiful in the nation. And it is a college town. Southwestern University is right across town.
So--you conclude--what on earth do you, Michael Jay Tucker, have to beef about?
Ah, I respond, a little sheepishly, but doing my best to be honest...
Here’s the thing. Austin is great and all that...but getting into the city isn’t as easy as you might think. The traffic in and out of the place is brutal. And it isn’t any better, just slower, once you are in the city itself. As a result, it is kind of intimidating...and remember, I spent over thirty years in Boston. I’m used to bad traffic. But Austin outpaces Boston in this regard by a country mile.
Oh, and it doesn’t help matters that Austin is a young city. It is new and growing, and immigrants are coming in from everywhere (mostly California, it seems), and young people seem to form the majority of the population. Which is great. Except when you’re our age, and you go into a cafe or something and realize that, all by yourselves, you have just elevated the average age of the population by about a decade. Sorta unsettling...
So, sometimes, it is really hard to want to enjoy Austin’s attractions. Particularly when you know you’re going to have to drive back, in the dark, along the linear nightmare that is Interstate 35. (Think Mad Max crossed with Falling Down, plus a soupçon of Jeeper Creepers on the half shell.)
And as for Georgetown...again, it’s great. We love being here. And there are some cool little cities around us, too. Like Round Rock and Cedar Park.
But...well...they have their limits. You can only go to the same set of cafes, shops, restaurants, etc. so many times before they begin to get a little dull. And you can only eat so much (however delicious) Texas barbecue before you weigh 800 pounds.
What? 800 pounds?
It is within the realm of the possible, I admit.
Hmm, you say, nodding slightly, 𝑦𝑜𝑢’𝑣𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑎 𝑝𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒.
I do. I do.
𝑆𝑜...𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑡?
That, dear reader, is for next time.
More to come.
P.S. - Once again, the photo above has nothing to do with the story. It is of Martha at the Great Wall of China. (We were there in December. Freezing!) We went to China for the wedding of friends in 2017. It was fascinating but I doubt we will back anytime soon.
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