July 14, 2009
If you’re one of those people who moved to Austin on the basis of that glorious, balmy week you spent here back in March during South by Southwest, you’re probably feeling conned … hoodwinked … bamboozled – like someone slipped you a roofie four months ago and it’s just now wearing off. The verdant, flowered, Hill Country oasis with gentle breezes and crisp, cool mornings that you experienced on the promotional tour has given way to a scorched, rainless, asphalt hellscape with blinding sunlight and oozing roof tar. WT effing F? Even the occasional rain isn’t much help. Rather than a refreshing cooldown, it’s more like water being poured on the hot rocks in a sauna. You didn’t sign up for this shit. You came here for the great live music, delicious Mexican food, and a crack at some cheap rent in one of those new high-rise condos desperate for tenants. But this … this is messed up. You’re starting to understand terms such as “redneck,” “farmer’s tan,” and “raccoon face.” You know that when someone says they’re “going commando,” it’s not a military reference. It means they are “letting their church bells ring.” Otherwise, they would be cooking up some “ball soup” or “clam chowder.” You’ve also learned that the best parking place isn’t the one next to the handicap spot, it’s the one a half-mile away under the paltry shade of a grizzled mesquite tree. Yes, you admit it. You’re not quite sure what a mesquite tree looks like. In fact, there are quite a few mysteries you haven’t solved. For instance, why can’t people agree on how to pronounce Koenig, Burnet, Guadalupe, or Mueller? Where, exactly, is Austin City Limits filmed? The high-rise condos – what were they thinking? Guacamole: What’s up with that? Lone Star: Really? Seriously? Don’t worry, you’ll figure all that out soon enough, but the big question, the one that’s keeping you up at night (along with the deafening cacophony from those annoying live music joints beneath your condo) is, how did they used to do it? How did people live in this place back before there were air conditioners, misters, and Jim-Jim’s Water-Ice? Well, first you have to assume that back in the day the Earth was rocking a bit more ozone than it is currently, so you can probably shave 5 degrees off the temperature just for that. There wasn’t as much asphalt either. In fact, Austin was a modest-sized city with a considerable amount of green space. That couldn’t hurt. But the one thing that kept Austin from being really miserable was (and if you’re broke or homeless still is) Barton Springs. Why? Because even on the hottest day Barton Springs is cold. Jumping into Barton Springs on a hot day will make you shriek like a school girl. It will also shrink your junk to the size of a wart. The good news is that after you spend a few exhilarating minutes in the springs, your body is a veritable ice pack for the next few hours. Not so good if you’re looking to bump uglies (you’ll need an experienced and dedicated fluffer), but it’s awesome if you just want to relax and enjoy a wholesome activity – like the annual summer musical at the Zilker Hillside Theater. Thursdays through Sundays until mid-August, you can see the Broadway classic The Music Man performed live right under the stars for free. Bring your own food, booze, and blanket, and absorb some old-skool Austin culture while you’re waiting for your balls to descend from your abdominal cavity. You’ll swear it’s March again, especially if take a quick refresher during intermission.