Six Stupid Reasons to Move to Austin, a Mediocre Town
The ghost of Stevie Ray greets a fresh crop of smug slackers.
Todd Ross Nienkerk, That Other Paper
Some mewling mouth-breather named Ed Reed on a blog called Thought Catalog has fallen in love with Austin and listed off six reasons why more Yankees and Californians should move there and join him. And of course, there's an obligatory, misinformed slam on Houston, but more on that later...
He says it's cheap to live there, and I guess if you are coming from NYC, he might have a point. For the rest of us, bargains are hard to come by, save for the glamorous environs of beautiful Ben White Boulevard.
It always amuses me when some Houston hipster trades in their Montrose or Heights apartment for an allegedly cooler tomorrow in some cul-de-sac in Cedar Park or Manor.
Reed also exults in finding a $4 six-pack of beer.
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Sounds kinda mythical to me, but I will say this: Back in high school, pre-beach trips, my friends and I used to stock up my two-tone, Gem-Topped El Camino with $5 cases of Carling Black Label at the Hillcroft Fiesta, and similar bargains can be had there to this day. And the beach was just an hour away, which is more than ever could be said for Austin, barring a quantum leap in transportation technology or a geological catastrophe.
His second reason to move to Austin? "There are jobs." Yes, in OfficeMaxes and Sonics in Round Rock. Oh, okay, the job market is better in Austin than elsewhere in Depression Lite America, but the situation is even better here, and as we mentioned earlier, Austin ain't cheap.
Next he claims that the people are friendly. Only when they aren't telling you to go back home, rolling their eyes at your unfashionable attire or telling you how much your hometown sucks compared to Austin.
In the number four slot, he dares to praise Austin's weather. Look, Houston's weather sucks five months a year. We know this. But at least our summers are (ordinarily) punctuated with amazing tropical thunderstorms. Austin is scorching and tediously so. And give me 95 percent humidity over cedar fever any day.
Next, he goes on to tout all the stuff there is to do in Austin, and here's where what little feeble brainpower he showcased earlier dims to oblivion. "This is probably the one people think of as being Austin's big draw -- SXSW, Austin City Limits, film festivals, etc. It's the cultural center of Texas, that's for sure. No one's going to Houston for much of anything. (Houston sucks. Sorry Houston, real talk.)"
Okay, punk, you want some real talk? We'll give you some real talk.
Yes, this so-called cultural center has no major art museums to equal any of Houston's top three, nor a grand opera, nor a top-tier symphony. Austin has no equivalent to the Alley Theatre, nor a ballet to equal ours. There are no pro sports in Austin, nor a zoo. There's no Hong Kong City Mall in Austin, and Houston's ethnic restaurants (beyond those purveying breakfast tacos) put theirs to shame. Austin has no equivalent to I-Fest or the Art Car Parade, though they are trying to steal that last as their own, in time-honored Austin fashion.
If no one is coming to Houston for much of anything, why is it growing faster than almost everywhere else? Tell that to the thousands of immigrants coming here from all over the world and the migrants coming here from all over America.
Lastly, Reed praises Austin for being "livable." Oddly, he doesn't mention Austin's natural semi-bounty -- all those lakes and hills that give it the most pleasant setting in Texas. (Not so oddly, since he's trying to make a case for Austin, he doesn't even mention the city's traffic, which is even worse than Houston's, despite what virtually every Austinite claims.)
Reed can imagine putting down roots there. He's not planning his next move for the first time in his life.
I could live here forever, I think, and that's goddamn terrifying, but it's also really lovely and comfortable. It's not a place where you're going to get famous, probably, but who cares? When has fame ever made anyone any happier?
Austin's the sort of place you can settle into, the kind of place where you stop worrying so much about that kind of thing and revise your concept of success a little bit. In 30 years or so, I'll be an old guy on a bike, a true Austin trademark.
Yep, Reed has actually consciously decided and publicly announced himself to be just another denizen of Michael Corcoran's Mediocre, Texas, living a mediocre life in a mediocre city.
Good for you, Ed Reed. And please don't move here.
H/t to Burton Anderson.
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