Friday, March 07, 2014


An Austin cabbie insulted a customer today.

I know. I know. We're friendly, we're welcoming, we're nice, if you don't take personal offense to all those shirts that say "Welcome to Austin! Please don't move here" that people who moved here in the late-90s-to-early-aught-aughts start sporting this time of year. So this is quite out of character!

Be that as it may, a lady called our offices today (offices which are part of an agency which builds and maintains the state highway system) absolutely purple with rage that her cabbie had said something that offended her, and she wanted us to Do Something About It.

"Are you married?" he asked her, at some point during the ride. She responded that she was not.

"Well, maybe if you took a bath, someone would want to marry you," he concluded.

Who wouldn't be angry? So she called us, a highway agency with no jurisdiction over this particular issue. That's fine; she wasn't to know - being, presumably, Not From Here - but she was not ready to give up that easily.

"What do you mean, you can't help me?" she demanded of our section admin, who answered the call. "You're the something something transportation something or other. It's your job to take care of this!"

"I'm sorry, but I can't help you," our admin told her. "You need to call the cab company and file a complaint against the driver."

"Which cab company was it?!" the woman shouted.

South By Southwest is one of the times when I avoid public places while muttering to myself "I love tourists... I love tourists... I love tourists..." I have every right to take this attitude, because I moved to Austin in 1986, PLUS having spent a couple of years here as a very small child when my stepfather worked at Texas Instruments just outside of town on Ed Bluestein. During that time I got a couple of opportunities to see the Austin Ballet perform at Armadillo World Headquarters, and that's more Austin cred than darn near anybody else has these days, so there you go.

Today I read an article entitled "14 tips for surviving SXSW," and not one of them was "Stock up on imperishables and hide under your kitchen table with the doors locked and the blinds drawn," which I think is a good indicator that the article's author was not from Austin.

Meanwhile, the city suggests you avoid congestion and parking issues by getting around using transit, or by bike. This is great, only they've helpfully closed off all the downtown streets that have bike lanes.

I guess I could take a cab.



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