What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

12 November 2010

Austin: Just a Little Weird

I love this city. No, really, I do. It's fabulous. Every day I find something new to be amazed by, or giggle at, or just plain wonder why I didn't move here ages ago.

A few examples of the fun, the weird, and the otherwise-brilliant of life in the Texas capitol:

The weekend of the Texas Book Festival, Chad needed a new bus pass, which required a trip to Whole Foods (also known as Whole Paycheck). On our way there, we passed a bunch of England and Manchester United soccer jerseys, which had me totally puzzled... until I saw Fádo's. Ah, yes, the Irish pub which I had forgotten has a home in the centre of Austin. Nice. I have a small beef with Fádo's, for removing their sponsorship of World Soccer Daily a few years ago, but my current and much-larger beef with them is over the price of their food. I'd love to go watch soccer in a proper pub (or as near as we can get, anyway), but it would be nice to have proper pub pricing to go with it.

Anyway, on the way to Whole Paycheck, we came upon another set-up of a bunch of tents, and I was really excited, thinking we had run across another festival. I was far away in this-city-is-the-best land, when Chad pointed out that it wasn't a festival; it's the Austin Farmers Market, which happens every Saturday. That's even better news, truth be told, because not only can we go back when there isn't another festival taking our attention, but it's pretty exciting that we can still go at all, this late in the autumn when most towns have packed away their Farmers Markets until next June.

There are not a lot of street corners without a trailer selling food. I've heard that's a recent boom, and I love it; that was one of my favourite things about Glasgow. (Someday I'll actually write the post about the things Austin & Glasgow have in common.) And last weekend, there was a "Gypsy Fair", where all the trailers gathered in one spot for people to visit-- it was a fundraiser, although I have now forgotten which charity.

I had this conversation with my sister while downtown one day:
I: Eleven Santas on Segways just went past us.
Denise: Are you serious?
I: Yeah. Totally serious. And there were Mrs. Clauses, too. And some elves.
D: That's so funny.
I: Oh, and here comes a horse-drawn carriage.
D: Cool.
I: And now there's some random music coming from somewhere, but I'm not sure where.
D: Are you at a parade?
I: No, but it sounds like it, doesn't it?
D: Yeah... Segways, Santas, horses...
I: Nope, this is Austin. It's always like this. Oh, hey, here comes a tour bus-- oh, never mind, it turned down another street.

The week before Halloween, I sat beside a chatty woman on the bus (not that this is anything new; there are a lot of chatty bus riders. Actually, I'm usually seated next to a chatty man on the bus, but I'm married to him.). She works downtown but lives just a few miles from me; she was on her way home to get ready for work and then head back downtown again, and she was laughing at her own silliness for going downtown twice in one day. Then she started talking about the crowds she expected in her shop on Halloween weekend, and said, "And since Halloween is on a Sunday this year, people will be dressed up on Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday." She paused for a second, then added, "Of course, this is Austin; people wear costumes 365 days a year."

A man at a bus stop also wanted to chat (there's something about these Austinites that compels them to talk!), so he asked if I were married. I told him that I am, and he said my wedding ring was unusual. (A good "Here's your sign" moment, if you ask me, but I digress.) Then he regaled me with the tales of his love life-- apparently his skill at choosing girlfriends is a bit off-- until the bus arrived. I wasn't at all sad to see the bus coming, as you may have guessed, but he did ask the driver to lower the bus a bit so that I could put my bicycle on the front. I guess he gets some "gallant" status for that.

When we were at the Celtic festival last weekend, I was at a booth admiring a bunch of books in Gaelic. The booth was manned (womaned?) by a woman who is part of the Austin Gaelic League, or something along those lines; she was announcing to the general area that there was a Gaelic workshop in progress at that moment. Since everyone in our gang already has a basic familiarity with Gaelic, we continued looking at things at the booth, as did everyone else around us. When she saw that no one moved in response to her news, she muttered "Okay, or not" not-quite-quietly-enough. I had a hard time not bursting out in laughter, because that's exactly what I would have said.


Megan K. Bickel said...

I love the ode to Austin! Makes me want to visit someday!

Su said...

You should! It's such a fun place. And this is just the stuff I could remember-- there's a lot more weird out there!

Shayda Bakhshi said...

Two things.

ONE: You should come to my dad's restaurant, if you haven't been already. Tree House Italian Grill. Off of Live Oak and South Congress.

TWO: Did you see Irish dancers? My best friend's mom is a world champion Irish dancer and owns the Austin-area studio. So if you saw them, you saw my friends! :) So awesome. I took classes for a while, and while I'm the most uncoordinated person on the planet, it was a lot of fun.

Su said...

I shall add it to my list. I love Italian food.

I saw some Irish dancers. Were they the only ones there? We saw most of the performances in passing, because there was a lot of stuff to look at and not a lot of time to look at it in. Are these the same Irish dancers that perform around town on occasion?