Monday, April 25, 2005


There was a moment last night—I think it was mid-two-step, on the back-step, on a twangy upbeat of Hank Williams' Family Tradition, just before I two-stepped my rear into the dresser, that it struck me.

Wait a minute.

We don't two-step.

We don't listen to Hank Williams.

We definitely don't do either of these things in the privacy of our own home, in our free time.

What in tarnation is going on here??

It's obvious. We've joined the Texas Diaspora, and like the Ukrainians and Armenians and countless other diasporas, we've become far more unhinged and obsessive over our homeland than the erstwhile residents could possibly manage. What I'm trying to say is, we're way more Texas than we were when we lived in Texas.

I went two-stepping maybe once in Texas, and it was a lark, and I was so uninitiated that I wore open-toed sandals. I didn't even particularly like Texas-y music until I started bartending at the Cactus my last two years in Austin and picked up a taste for it. Now? I'm suddenly yowling George Strait like I been doin' it my whole life.

I suppose what I miss is the good life: the slow days drinking beer at an outdoor bar with your shoes off and your legs propped on the table, or that strange little bar up on Mount Bonnell that looked for all the world like a speakeasy or a crumbling shack, and inside you'd find this ancient old woman who'd open up her antique fridge door and hand you a can of Bud Pearl to go enjoy on the porch. After you picked songs from the awesome old jukebox. Which, hey, had a lot of old country, so I guess my affection does date a little farther back. But there's this sort of feeling and lifestyle in Texas (oh hell, only in Austin, only in Austin) that I miss and I express that loss through overzealous devotion to the outward symbols: music, food, margaritas. (Remind me to tell you about my margarita-a-day project. I'm like a fucking molecular biologist lately.)

And probably, maybe—no, probably it's better this way. I have this perfect little romanticizied Austin that serves as a locus for all these happy golden memories, and I don't have to rationalize that memory with the reality of what made me ready to leave. I can forget about how insanely bored I was by the end, about all the little Daddy's girls mismanaging their oversized SUVs, the having-to-drive everywhere, and the fact that somewhere, very nearby, lived people who enthusiastically voted for Tom Delay.

[Thanks to my fact checker for beer accuracy]


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