Raining in Austin


Perfectly vertical and arm’s length raindrops stripe the city background through the coffee shop window that is my day’s view. It’s been raining, pouring for hours, the sky desperate to drop it’s liquid weight. Waterfalls all across the city wash bird shit and squirrel tracks from the roofs of bars and banks, skyscrapers and RVs. The masses of jobless citydwellers flood into this coffee shop, sharing chocolate cheesecakes, bottomless cups of coffee and a WiFi connection. Maybe students, maybe service industry workers who don’t start their shifts waiting tables or hustling whiskey until later tonight, maybe musicians with their weekdays free, while the city is soaked from the sky, the cafe is soaked with the workfree.

I’m dreaming of settling down here, after traveling for another summer or so, there are still so many places I want to explore before we stop for good, or at least for awhile. Maybe we’ll be fortunate enough to get a fulltime spot in the most coveted park in all of Texas, with a little wooden porch and some lawn furniture where we can effectively double the seating capacity of our RV home, sipping beers with the locals and watching the wildlife dart up and down and through the pecan grove.

The traveling life suits us, and perhaps the fact that I’ve been laid up with a bum gut for the past month has helped me to forget how much I like darting from state to state, crowd to crowd, always trying out a new restaurant or circle of friends, but right now I’m feeling very much like establishing a homefront. Somewhere I can say I’m from. I’ll always be from Pittsburgh, probably spend summers there and take Obama’s new high speed trains home for Thanksgiving dinners, an occasional birthday or resurrection party. But right now, from Pittsburgh or not, moving every week or month leaves something to be desired: namely, a circle of people to just call up and hang out with. I’m not the socialite that Tristan seems to be, it takes time to meet new friends and seemingly infinite time to meet people who are actually friends; who you can feel comfortable in silence, call whenever you’d like without wondering if you’re bothering them.

Still, the traveling life does suit us, and that’s the beauty of settling down in an RV park…you lose the advantages of a home (namely space and a little comfort at times), but you’ve always got four wheels underneath you, ready to make a move again. A month on the road, how grand, particularly when compared with the week or two vacations doled out in my past, fully timed and employed life. Racing across the country on a roadtrip, an hour in St. Louis, a night in Utah, a fleeting weekend at Lake Tahoe.

To spend a month living somewhere you can really get to know the place. Certainly you can’t get to know an entire city in a month, but a small town is no problem. A neighborhood is simple. You can walk a 5 square mile area, every corner and cranny, in a week.

I like it here, and though we’ll be moving out of Austin in a few days, it’s nice to have something to look forward to coming back to eventually. The rain is taking a break.