Last weekend, I spent 3 full days and 4 nights in Austin, Texas. After hearing everyone talk about how Texas was sooooooo great, I decided to find out why. But not once was I able to get a straight answer to the question, "What's so great about Texas?" nor, "What happens if I mess with Texas?"
First we went to a famous Austin bar, Donn's Depot. They were playing live music when we went in, they had a dance floor, they had a pop corn machine ON the dance floor and there was a stripper pole in the bathroom.
My favorite dive bar was called Deep Eddy's Cabaret. They only served beer. They didn't accept credit cards. They had no appetizers. There was a Zima sign hanging on the wall. Of all the places we went, this was by far full of the most interesting people each night. Yes, I kept dragging my friend back there, night after night...she will probably NEVER go there again!
Next was a great little place called Lala's, and it was the best dive bar in the book of top 3 things to do in Austin. It was a sight, that much is true. It was obviously a place for college students. Pool tables, a juke box, Bud Light beer out of a can, dancing elves above the bar. Yes. I said dancing elves. It was decorated in the Christmas theme - which I understood was their year-round decor.
Being the social butterfly that I am, I had many conversations with native Texans - and a few native Austinites - with regard to what makes their country state so freaking fantastic.
Here are the results of my case study:
Exhibit A: A 24 year old male, born and raised in Austin, TX. We met in a bar on his way home from a wedding rehearsal. We discussed the lack of sweet tea, the importance of family, the difference between being "Southern" and "Texan" and how Texas is a state of mind, a religion, a way of life. See - no real REASON why Texas is so great. "It just is", is basically what he told me. We made friends on FB and of course when I checked out his bio, under religion, it says (and I am fucking serious) "Texan." He was so charming that I almost started to believe in the whole "All Hail the Great State of Texas" stuff.
Exhibit B: An asshole on the City Tour of who-cares age, born and raised in Austin, TX. When you look 'arrogant prick' up in the dictionary, his picture is there. He basically tried to ruin our tour with his ramblings of how UT Austin is the best college in the universe, how their stadium is the biggest and best, how their state capital is the nicest, etc, etc, etc. I wanted to punch him in the face and never ever in the history of everness, come back to Texas.
Exhibit C: young couple - probably high on E because I swear they were trying to talk me into a threesome - in a dive bar. The guy was from Plano and the girl was from El Paso. Both came to Austin for college (you know, because UT Austin is the best college in the universe and all), fell in love with the city, and couldn't bear to leave it after they graduated. They pointed out the great local live music scene (which for some reason, I didn't make any effort to see on either trip, although that was my main purpose in visiting the city), the incredible food, the outdoor activities, the hills, etc. They created a great case as to why Austin, as well as Texas, is so wonderful. Then the girl got a bit too excited when I said I needed to use the ladies room and I was afraid to continue speaking to them.
Exhibit D: 29 year old male, from the Dallas area. Met in a dive bar (yes, I spent almost all my time in the dive bars, what can I say? I'm partial to them, they remind me of North Carolina) and spent a while talking about what brought him to Austin, the importance of finding something meaningful in your life, etc. Of course it was a more philosophical conversation, being that he was not only a musician, but a teacher. He said Texans are so proud of their state because Texans as a whole are brought up that way and don't know any different. They are proud of their past (being the only state that was ever its own country), they are proud of their cuisine (they had a whole new type of food named after it, after all 'Tex-Mex'), they are proud of their electric chair. Sorry - I had to throw that in....This conversation in particular was the most influential, I would say. He painted a picture of a romantic ideal. You grow up with such a great pride in your state, you work hard and play hard to make sure it lives up to the expectations.
I enjoyed my time in Austin. I am eager to explore more of Texas, but honestly, I think I have already made my decision as to which city I would like best...
And that question, what happens if you mess with Texas? Well, if you should happen to mess with Texas, every single Texan you meet will bombard you with how freaking wonderful it is until you relent and agree. And then they will try to talk you into moving there so they can have one more person in their line of defense...you know, in case anyone should ever, god forbid, mess with Texas.