I’ve been absent, but I haven’t been loafing; I’ve been busy planning and executing a new life in Southern California.
About four years ago, my husband and I moved to Austin, Texas. We’d bought into the city’s hype about being the “blueberry in the red sauce” of the state of Texas, along with its promises of jobs and an inexpensive cost of living, and set up shop in the “live music capital of the world.”
We soon discovered, much to our dismay, that the reality did not match all of the big talk. Greenest city? Our apartment complex didn’t even recycle! Great weather? Summers stretch from April to October, with most days in the 100s plus humidity! Plenty of jobs? Sure, if you like minimum wage toil even at high-tech companies! Live music? Only if you’re into country/western and bar bands who think Coldplay is pushing the boundaries of musical invention!
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that certainly applies to the PR flacks spinning tall tales about Austin. The only true thing about their claims is that the place is hip – if by “hip” you mean “crammed to the rafters with hipsters.”
Almost immediately, we began plotting to move again. This time to our original destination: California.
It took four years to save up the money for our move, but we’re finally here. Of course, the journey didn’t go smoothly. Texas wanted to give us a few final fuck-you’s, including:
- The rental truck that had no AC throughout our desert drive, and broke down when we finally made it to New Mexico;
- The lingering colds that both my husband and I caught as we finally crashed in Las Cruces; and
- One very angry cat, stuck in a carrier without food, water or a litterbox for 10 hours on our first day on the road.
Thanks to a general lack of signage concerning rest areas (most states are kind enough to post “Next rest area, X miles” signs – but not Texas!), I wound up having to pee by the side of the road in order to avoid bursting my bladder or soiling the rental truck. As I wiped myself with an ironic “Keep Calm and Carry On” tissue, a trucker driving past honked at the sight of my naked ass barely hidden behind some pointy sagebrush. I flipped him the bird out of sheer force of habit (the Bronx in me dies hard), but later decided I was proud of having gotten a chance to literally piss on the state before exiting it forever.
Pissing on Texas is, in fact, my favorite memory from my time spent in the Lone Star State.
My second favorite? Coining a new bumper sticker, parodying this Texas favorite:
Here’s my version:
TEX-ASS: I WASN’T BORN HERE, BUT I GOT THE HELL OUTTA THERE AS FAST AS I COULD!
I look forward to never, ever returning.