My Texas Valentine

(LLANO, Texas) — As I not-so-seamlessly dive into busy, crazy-hip Austin, I keep unconsciously naming things I don’t like. It’s not that I’m trying to complain; it’s more that I’m silently announcing my standards as I learn them. It’s as though I have to lay down my own law. It turns out that I don’t believe in traffic or full parking lots. I don’t believe in having to drive somewhere in order to go on a run. I don’t believe in living in a cool city if it means you have to work at a job that you hate. I don’t believe that dressing like Buddy Holly or Betty Page means anything, really.

Looking at all of that, it looks like I don’t believe in Austin, which is not the case. I just don’t know if it’s meant for me. I spent yesterday feeling the city out more, walking its wide, downtown streets. I must have gone at least three miles and saw everything from the capitol building (quite large and impressive) to a little coffee shop/improv theater that I had visited back in 2007. The effect of all these things was overwhelmingly good. I felt the energy of the city fill me, and as I drove home I did so with the resolve that I would make this place work, God dammit. Then I woke horrendously late and looked at the beautiful, sunny day outside and realized that I didn’t know if I wanted to make it work. I needed some more information. I needed some perspective.

That’s why today, Valentine’s day, I’m not even there. I have escaped west to the little hill country town of Llano. It’s a quaint world of fake store fronts and antique shops and folks who have lived here for generations. I like this place and remember its riverfront and down-to-earth vibe from my last Texas visit, three years back. Right now, I’m parked next to an oldies radio station, and I’m already imagining my life here as a DJ and freelance writer. I’d get myself a country boy who didn’t talk about his feelings much. I’d play the part of the energetic, weird Californian in the community. When things got too small in this 3,000-person place, I’d drive to nearby Austin and soak up the city thing. What nice ideas.

This is what I love about Sunday drives. They allow you to blissfully delude yourself.


A chasm of time has elapsed since that last sentence and this one. I’m back home and thanking my lucky stars for it. Llano felt good for a few moments, but nearly as soon as I emerged from my car, reality smacked me in the face. Like a scene in a movie, the air turned instantly cold and windy as soon as I got out and began walking around. What had looked sweet a few minutes before turned ominous and cloying. The quick shift freaked me out, and I found myself walking around Llano like a zombie. God, I don’t mean to be such a downer, but this is hard — this thing of not knowing what you want. My love of small towns is thick, but I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m only trying to re-create the lovely little places I have been before. Part of me would rather just go back to Moab than try to make a new one. The farther I get from that town, the shinier it looks in the distance. But I just don’t know if I’m ready to commit. And I do think it deserves a commitment.

So I’m here, in the biggest city in which I have ever lived since I was 4, and I swear I’m trying to make a go of it. Tomorrow, I’m going to attempt a guerilla approach to finding a job – just showing up at all the cool restaurants and publications I can find and trying to make something happen. Maybe it’s an age thing, but I do feel that if I come to these places with a really helpful, open heart and some ability to boot, that something will happen. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I feel I have to believe in the possibility of things. Without that, the world seems too scary.

I apologize for my lack of writing recently. I promise lots more stories and pictures (especially of Florida and Savannah) soon. Thank you to everyone who has written me recently. I will write you back soon. I simply have to get my head around my world right now. Everything is still new and spinning.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>