Settling In: Taco Trailers and Texans

January 18, 2010

I’ve been in the nation of Texas for just a couple of weeks, but overall I’m enjoying the warmth of both the weather and the people. Austin is an odd little pocket of ex-hippies and UT students who espouse the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”. People bike to work, recycle and carry concealed weapons. I’ve noticed an unusually high number of neck tattoos and an unusually low number of over-sized belt buckles. Yesterday, I passed a guy on his bicycle wearing nothing but a g string. Not even a helmet.  I thought, “this must be my first Austin Weird experience.” I also thought, “that guy can’t be comfortable in the saddle.”

Other observations of note:

Guy in his late sixties, walking down the sidewalk carrying a full sized boom box playing hard core rap.

You can buy beer and wine on Sundays, but not hard liquor. Guess Jesus doesn’t approve of shots.

This town has more bike lanes than sidewalks. Must be that Lance guy.

Local grocery store displays Velveeta in the produce aisle next to broccoli.

You can get almost any kind of food from an airstream trailer. Tacos, pizza, crepes, cupcakes. Genius.

Lady Bird Johnson was a big deal.

Dry cleaners are downright difficult to locate.

Grocery store clerks like to chit chat about anything and everything during your transaction. Same with barristas,  ice cream scoopers, pharmacists and of course, bartenders. My husband finds this unnerving.

Best. Grocery Stores. Ever. Original Central Market and Whole Foods offer incredibly high quality foods from every cuisine. Both have embedded restaurants that serve booze. Errands are much more fun when you can reward yourself with some hooch.

Everyone knows someone in a band.

The only people that ride the very nice public busses are poor minorities, the dentally challenged, and me.

Again, these are just observations in broad strokes. Overall, its interesting that everyone seems to simply love living here. People seem generally content and relaxed. I really want to give in to this mellow happy miasma, but I can’t help but suspect its all part of an evil plot involving mind control and robots. Can people really adore where they live to this degree? I’ll keep digging and report back.



  1. Years ago (okay, back in the late 70s), my hubbie was training with TGIF in Dallas. Corporate flew the wives/chillens out for an extended weekend to visit. I remember going to the grocery store in my sweats and feeling like trailer trash because of it. The store was a “Tom Thumb”, if I remember correctly. I was pushing the cart up and down aisles filled with women in 6″ heels, knock ’em dead attire, and make-up 2″ thick. Yes, the men were no better; suits, ties, hair gel. I later learned that the Tom Thumbs were the “best pick up place”. Woe is me. Little Susie from (at the time) Nebraska and her naivete. Sounds like the whole climate has changed there. More natural now. Do Tom Thumb stores still exist? Are they still the ultimate pick up place? — Susie

  2. HeeHeeHee! No Tom Thumbs left, but grocery stores are definitely a pick up place. There are six or seven embedded restaurant counters in the mega Whole Foods here. The look here is definitely more au natural than other parts of Texas. The college gals still don spikey heels for a night out, and a little more make up than usual, but it isn’t the big hair/cake face tradition. Austin is more about fitness. Everyone is in workout gear right after work or classes.

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