*NOTE* – I’m not quite sure why the above video got compressed so much, but it is what it is for now. Also, here’s a drinking game: For every time I say “things”, “such” and “kay”, take a shot of your liquor of choice. Guaranteed eight minute buzz.
Three months in and I’m still waiting for it to sink in. Moving to Austin hasn’t been a simple location change. It’s a lifestyle switch. Subways for highways. Seemless takeout to five dollar delivery charges. A local pub around the corner open to 4 AM for restraint on a Wednesday. The constant 78 decibel street scream for a hushed sense of quiet, calm and peace. Good, bad, indifferent, Austin is no New York. Luckily for Texas’ capitol, it’s not trying to be.
The biggest difference hasn’t been zip codes and BBQ. It’s working from home. To provide some context, this has been my dream since I first sat in Route 21 traffic for my first gig at Allied Building Products. The reason was simple. Why schlep to an office when I can do the same work from my pajamas? After three months of telecommuting, I realize why office buildings exist. It’s nice to see something other than your own four walls.
Not that I’m complaining. Sitting down for lunch to watch Louie on my big screen and having a fluffy dog at my feet is amazing. The vibe is more relaxed, I can play my music without missing a phone call and there are surprisingly few distractions. All while being just as productive (if not more) than I was on 5th Avenue.
The issue comes from the four wall syndrome. We only have one car and while Jamie does ride her bike to work, it’s hard to me to get out. As you’ll see in the below video, there’s a mall across the street but unless I’m craving Chikfilet or Panda Express, options are limited. Jamie and I are working on some options to give me more mobility, but for the first three, it’s been cramped.
Austin itself has been super cool because of how “un-New York” it’s been. Every eatery we’ve been to, with one exception, has been superb. Much to the shock of this Jersey native, people are open and friendly. There are weird quirks like the Congress Bridge bats, Magnolia Café and moon lights. Fantastic brew pubs serving only Texas made beer. The grocery shopping godsend known as H.E.B where your cart holds more than two chicken breasts and a six pack (take that Food Emporium). The Alamo Drafthouse movie theater. Rainey Street. A slick little whiskey bar on 4th called Feche. Esthers Follies. Live music at every hour on every street corner.
Of course it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Traffic is unbelievable. Pubs close at 2:00 AM, fine for normal human beings but for night owls like me, problematic. The distance and effort required to do the littlest of things. Tangled webs of highways with hard to read signs. The aforementioned lack of reasonable takeout.
But it’s all doable, all manageable. We’re here for the right reasons.
This will be the last post in the moving to Austin series of articles. It’s been a wild bucking bronco of a ride, a mad dash of change and growth. While I’d be a liar if I said my heart doesn’t ache for the Empire State, I know I’ll be back on occasion. This may not be where I want to be, it’s where I need to be. And for a place I wasn’t planning on living, it’s been welcoming, warm and a much needed change of pace. Austin certainly isn’t New York. It’s an entirely lovely thing all to its own.