I Swear Vengeance Upon - ooh, look at the pretty lights!
After the movie last night, Robbie and I were on the way to Dominican Joe for coffee when he got distracted by the colored lights of the skyline and had to pull over at the park so we could look at them.
This is one of the reasons we get along so well.
We sat at the top of that little conical hill next to the Palmer Events Center and watched the top of the Monarch change colors, and speculated as to what it would be like to live in a unit directly underneath the big underlit concrete wings. Especially if your penthouse apartment had skylights! Wouldn't it suck if you'd blown every last penny you had on the downpayment for the condo (this assumes you're from Austin, not California), and you couldn't afford drapes? You might even be tempted to go steal that big "Click It or Ticket" banner from downstairs, thereby causing all the residents there who paid a little less than you did, only to find themselves gazing at the reverse image of an enormous seatbelt, to kiss you for a little longer than you're entirely comfortable with and promise to name their first child after you. Do not believe them.
Then it occurred to us that, if the City of Austin were so smart, they'd use all these new condo developments as deadly bait. Californians, hungry to snap up the $250K lofts (so cheap!!) popping up here, there, and everywhere in our fair city, would swarm to our shores - as, not to put too fine a point on it, they indeed have. The lights! The pretty colors! Then, with deadly accuracy, the new edifices would fire laser beams from their futuristic peaks. Every Starbucks-swilling California transplant to Austin would evaporate in a puff of expensive skin-care product fumes.
Perhaps at this moment I should pause to state that, unlike my very dear friend Tony, I don't really mind Californians, or at least not on a personal level. An economic situation has arisen, over the past several years, which makes it particularly desirable, smart even, for people from more expensive markets to migrate to Austin. What will eventually happen is that wages here will catch up with the real estate boom and everything will equalize. But in the meantime, selling a modest $750,000 suburban three-bedroom home in, say, Santa Cruz, moving here to a better job market, paying cash for an exuberantly taste-free McMansion, and having enough money left over to keep you swimming in Starbucks until your arteries explode - not knowing or understanding, of course, the nature of the neighborhood or town you are moving to - makes too much sense really to fault the individual people who take advantage of such an opportunity. Don't you think? Sure, we're wonderful, weird, tasteful, aristofunkratic Austinites (I personally arrived here in 1986), and they're a bunch of SUV-driving, mainstream-movie-watching, nouveau-riche troglodytes who are pricing us out of our own beloved city. A certain degree of resentment is natural. Especially with the way those people never wave after they cut you off in traffic. Assholes.
But these are natural forces we're talking about, it's not really anybody in particular's fault (except possibly Bill O'Reilly's, that sorry sack of shit), and in the end, you have to admit that one of the things that makes Austin what it is, in comparison to the rest of Texas, is its unique ability to embrace and assimilate and grow along the lines of different cultures. What, you wanted to live in Vidor? I didn't think so.
But I digress.
The other two problems with new condo towers firing lasers at Californians are (1) they'd be killing off their best customers, and (2) I can't remember what number two is, because it's something I thought about before embarking on the earlier part of this rant. It might have had something to do with the inviolable sanctity of human life. But I doubt it.
Anyway, I made a highly sensitive PowerPoint presentation about the whole issue, which is available upon request.