I’ve finally made it to Texas and just before the 4th of July, too. The day was commemorated in a traditional manner: cold beer drunk while standing neck-deep in the pool; followed barbecue, steaks, potato salad, and more beer; and finally, fireworks put on by the city, downtown. The town in question is the capital of Texas, the state of six flags, home to Dell, live music Mecca, and host to SXSW, and is known to the world by the name of Austin.
Now, Texas is defined in the English mind by TV shows (Bonanza, Dallas), a green knoll overlooked by a book repository, and Presidents by the name of Johnson – the show off – and two by the name Bush – George and George Walker, but that is Texas not Austin. It might be fair to say that the Texas proper and Austin are barely on speaking terms. The Big Oil of Dallas and Houston might disparage Austin as a homespun hippydom, replete with Mexican supermarkets, numerous bookstores and a cool public swimming pool. Austin, however is growing like topsie – which along with the right and/or requirement for every man and most women to own a seven liter truck whose name needs a deep gravelly voice to say right – means roads.
Roads in Austin have aliases: Loop 1 or Mopac Expressway, Ben White is also 71, Research Boulevard AKA 183, Ed Bluestein Boulevard and Anderson Lane. Out in the Hill Country there are still the dirt tracks of yore but hereabouts the main thoroughfares are full value 3rd generation concrete cadenzas, along one of which I am bowling to work, today. There are no roundabouts; so 1st generation. Turn left at the lights and on the freeway. Immediately, the inside lane morphs into an exit only lane and a new lane segues in from the right. I mirror, signal and wait patiently to sidle over and zipper, aiming my little car with the side mirrors to miss the Ram trucks –its torque best in class, the 18 wheeler Mac trucks and all the other Jurassic vehicles.
Do this once more, and the morphed-into-exit-lane karooms up and over another aerial slipway, slaloms into another and dives into a six lane parking lot. Yup, I like Texas. Although there is a lot of lively folk here, just up the road there are just a few and the city lights give way to the wonder of the night sky.
Then “A Horse with No Name” by America starts playing over the radio. Another place, another time comes up and says howdy. Listen to the video. No trickery or electronic gizmos, just guitar and voice, and just sublime.