Keep Austin weird
The city prides itself on this unofficial motto. Coined in 2000 by Austin Community College librarian Red Wassenich for fear of Austin normalizing, it’s stuck and has become a mantra. Walking down any given Austin street, you’ll probably see this phrase in some way, shape, or form, whether on the t-shirt (usually tie-dyed) of a passerby, a sticker decorating the bumper of a parked car, or a banner strung across a store-front window. It’s inevitable.
And the evidence I’ve seen makes a pretty strong case for it, too. Like the unicorn I met in a bar on Saturday night. Everyone else at the bar carried on as usual, no big deal. But ever since the movie The Last Unicorn*, I’ve been intrigued by unicorns, so I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of the phenomenon. Or more than a few. Things were a bit blurry by this point in the evening.
Also weird in Austin:
- the reindeer antler collection hanging from the porch ceiling of the house across the street from my brother. Each antler is painted a different color.
- the girl rocking out to her own ukulele concert at the bus stop.
- the lizards that creep across the floor and up the walls in our bathroom. How do you get a lizard out of the house? (In my case, grab your 10-year-old nephew and a plastic container.)
- the 45-year-old topless woman who approached us asking for a hug as we left Barbarella‘s on Saturday night.
- the full moon howling session that goes on at Barton Springs Pool once a month (think wolf-style howling). I plan to be at the next one.
- and the tarantula that greeted me a few mornings ago outside of my bedroom door – they are terrifying. And harmless?
Austin is full of quirky idiosyncrasies – and its people are proud of it. However many newcomers are flooding the city – myself included – these days (the latest number I read was 156/day), I do hope the city maintains these peculiarities. And perhaps gains a few from these new arrivals. I’ll have to think of what quirky custom I can import from Sweden…
*Side note: Jeff Bridges does one of the voices in this movie! Who knew? I guess it makes sense that he’s one of my favorite actors.