On my CultureMap column, I've written a number of posts about how wonderful Austin is and how much I love this adopted city of mine. For this, I've received comments telling me to "go home" and that "I'm the problem with Austin's recent changes."
These comments make me think of a conversation I had with a waitress at relatively new neighborhood restaurant here in town. The restaurant does not stay open late and caters towards respectable diners, but that hasn't stop a disgruntled neighbor from chasing down patrons who park in his neighborhood with a hammer.
I think it's fair to say that some Austinites don't like change.
The only other town where I saw physical opposition towards not just newcomers, but visitors too, was Marfa, Texas, where a man in a cowboy hat stalked us down Main Street giving us a sermon about the evil city dwellers from Austin, New York and LA.
Change can suck ass. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
I've been here 3 1/2 years and even I can remember East 6th Street before there was a bar on every corner and parking became non-exisent.
Lately, I've found myself experiencing the same road rage I had in Los Angeles. Traffic like this shouldn't be happening in Austin, right? That's reserved for the asshole cities.
Construction is ridiculous. The skyline looks like a poorly performed polygraph test. Crime is up. Something stupid happened with the parking meters downtown. One time I stepped foot into the W Hotel and felt like I was at a cattle show.
But what would happen if we said "TAKE A HIKE, JERKFACE!" to all the non-Austinites who moved to our town?
Well, you could say sayonara to Houstonian Michael Dell and his company that employees over 14,000 locals. Joining him would be fellow Houstonian John Mackey and his company, Whole Foods. Sorry, no more films at Alamo and no more haircuts at Birds Barbershop, either. Both owners are also non-natives.
All I can is that I moved here to let Austin change me, not to change her, and I assume a lot of other transplants feel the same way.
Your Netflix Instant has jack to watch and you want to pick up a rare Kuroswa flick at I Luv Video? That's gone, too. The founders are from El Paso. No more Lambert's, Hotel San Jose or Jo's Coffee, either. Say goodbye to some of your favorite Mexican, Thai, Indian and Chinese restaurants. See ya later, Austin Chronicle and SXSW. Hey, while we're at it, let's get rid of UT. We wouldn't want those pesky non-native students graduating and moving here.
I posed the question, "What brand/business/restaurant/celebrity is quintessentially 'Austin' to you?" on my social media profiles and the answers people came up with were the ones above. Austin is a melting pot. The different folks from different strokes are what continue to make this town special.
Austin has always been a place where people want to go. In fact, this recent influx of folks over the past decade has been one of the lowest in the city's history, at 20.4 percent versus the post-WWII era that saw growth between 50 - 60 percent. Now, of course, many people have moved here over the past ten years, but some argue overpopulation has already occurred and, if people are going to move to cities, at least Austin draws thinkers and creators.
With change comes the good and the bad, but it's inevitable. In my mind, it's fair to saying that it is Austin's welcoming attitude and progressive thinking that has made this town stand out. Do I think that the influx of people will change that? I don't know. All I can is that I moved here to let Austin change me, not to change her, and I assume a lot of other transplants feel the same way.
You might be thinking, "Go home!" or "You're the problem with Austin's recent changes." But, really, this is just a PSA to be on the look-out for hammer-weilding locals.