Sunday, April 06, 2008

Didn't You Learn Anything from "A Bug's Life?"

You'd think, wouldn't you, that you'd be able to experience a perfect Austin afternoon without importing someone from Georgetown?

Well, you'd be wrong.

Robbie was kind enough to make the long, arduous journey south today, to drag me out of the house and rescue me from a sad and self-absorbed funk (PMS for short). We went to Dominican Joe for coffee.

Ah, Dominican Joe. Do you know, the place gets quite crowded on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon, and fills up with the sort of people who saunter lazily up and down South Congress - until so recently the undisputed dominion of drug addicts and $10 whores - the trendy, the happy, who wear sundresses and cowboy boots, and spend more money on a pair of artistically pre-tattered jeans than I did on my first car.

Robbie ordered a smoothie and I a frozen mocha frojoe, with whipped cream (why do anything by half?). We sat in the shade on the patio and talked about urban planning and deviant sex practices. But there wasn't a table available, and it did just cross my mind to suggest moving across the street to our work campus and our old break spot, two picnic tables under a pavilion. I was afraid that might be dorky.

"Hey, do you want to go to the break spot?" asked Robbie, who is one of my best friends ever for a reason.

So we did; we sat at the Official Three-Martini Break Spot for a good 45 minutes, sipping sublimely unhealthful nonalcoholic beverages, enjoying the magnificent weather and the inappropriate behavior of grackles in the spring sunshine. One of the tables sports a heavy chain and large padlock, but not the other - a fact I had never noticed, but Robbie said he'd always found curious. "What's this table chained to, anyway?" he asked.

Long story short, if you go to the corner of Congress and Riverside looking for a picnic table, you can pick up a free chain and padlock as well.

From there we moved to the new park complex across Riverside from Auditorium Shores, next to the Palmer Events Centeer and the newly-opened Long Center, where they built that spiral-pathed hill overlooking the skyline. Robbie and I have been there once before, under slightly sketchy circumstances. The whole area was under construction, and presumably meant to be shut off to the public. But we were on our lunch hour, and so apparently were the gaggle of construction workers bivouaced nearby; and the gate to the construction zone was slightly ajar. "There's not a sign saying we can't go in," Robbie had pointed out, reasonably enough. The workers, being off the clock, were hardly going to confront intruders on their own time. We had the run of the place.

Today it was different. The hill is seeded with grass and the occasional bluebonnet, and ringed with benches. Two ponds, one near the hill, and one in front of the Palmer Events Center, are well-stocked with laconic turtles, who sploop right into the water when people approach them with high-pitched voices (what's with this urge to use baby talk on reptiles?!), but have a hilarious amount of difficulty climbing back out again once the danger has passed. Fortunately turtles don't mind being laughed at. Or maybe they do, I don't know. What are they going to do - chase me down?

The view of the skyline from atop the man-made hill is fairly spectacular, though it'll be nicer once all the cranes are gone. And Tony will agree it's a great pity that all these beautiful downtown condos are destined to be filled with Californians, especially inasmuch as they have no idea how to drive. People! When you cut in front of someone, you wave! That's how you know you're in Texas, dammit.

And from the park, we meandered our way to El Arroyo to enjoy a frozen margarita in the midst of yet another construction zone. There's not much getting away from that.

It was Austin. It was perfect. And an outraged young mother demanded of her toddler, in angry tones, the timeless line I've used as the subject of this post, just as we were passing. What more could anyone ask for?

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At April 06, 2008 9:10 PM, Anonymous RDub said...

Thank YOU for getting me to Austin. I miss it! The 'burbs are nice but far from the quality and excitement of Austin. Plus ... it was a pleasure getting to hang out with you for most the day. We shall do it again :-)

At April 06, 2008 9:12 PM, Anonymous RDub said...

oh, and here is that website we were talking about of what Austin's skyline will look like in a couple years.

At April 07, 2008 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is one of my favorite lilybet blogs ever!! please come have a beach weekend soon!


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