Now That I’ve Moved Here, Austin Is Full

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I’m so glad that I made it to the best city in America: Austin, Texas!

This place is amazing. The people here are friendly and laid back. Everyone eats tacos all day —which you can buy from a food truck on any street corner—and drinks an imported Mexican fizzy water called Topo Chico. How glorious!

The nightlife is incredible, and there are lakes to frolic in, improv shows to catch, and, oh, did I mention a little something called Live. Music. Capital. Of. The. World? The rent is even low-ish, compared to New York or LA or The International Space Station. The whole place just oozes hip, livable city for a person like me.

Now that I’ve moved here, and everything is perfect, I have a message for you: Don’t you dare move here. That’s right, Austin is full! The minute I became Austin citizen number 947,890, it was obvious that there’s no room for citizen number 947,891. Literally, all the rooms are rented, the roads are packed, the trails are full of Yorkies, the Alamo Drafthouse is sold out until doomsday, and the line outside Franklin Barbecue stretches from here to Waco. Sorry, there’s just no space for you or your stuff.

Fortunately, the instant I arrived, I magically transformed into a distinguished expert on Austin’s real estate markets, urban planning challenges, cultural and socioeconomic history, and its Mexican free-tailed bat population. Now, from my lofty position of Austin wisdom, I shall tell you the number one challenge facing the city: It is that these new transplants have no respect for our Austin culture. And let me tell you, Austin culture is something you need to earn the hard way, either by having been born here or by having moved here last Thursday in order to open a microbrewery slash mobile-app startup slash CrossFit gym slash bicycle-powered smoothie delivery business like I did.

Understand: Austin is a proud city founded on live music, home-grown local businesses (such as everyone’s favorite mom and pop shop, Whole Foods), and that Texas Hill Country charm meets liberal-safe-haven vibe. Commerce? Culture? Tolerance? Check, Check, Check! Sure, we get compared to Portland, Seattle, Denver, and Camelot, but these comparisons are misleading at best, for none of these other places are home to Roky Erickson, The Cathedral of Junk, and the magnificent Barton Springs Salamander.

What frightens me most about the new transplants isn’t the rising skyscrapers and rising rents, it’s the possibility that these neophytes won’t share our (my) values. I’m terrified that instead of being Texas’s liberal oasis and weird-thinking rebel, Austin will be overrun by chain stores, bad restaurants, and normies from Dallas, Colorado, and—big shudder—California. Truly, the last thing we need here in Austin is a bunch of conformists ruining our self-proclaimed reputation for being weird. What do we need here? Answer: a literal tower to heaven made of food trucks. Only when the citizens of the 512 can ascend directly to God’s throne while eating Pad Thai burritos and lobster grilled cheese sandwiches will Austin realize its purest form. (Fortunately, a developer from San Diego is set to break ground on this very tower next Monday.)

So, I beseech you. Pay tribute to my great city of Austin by name dropping it, singing its praises in your online “top cities list”, and perhaps, if you are lucky, visiting once a year when the sky turns red, bats fill the air, and the hordes descend upon our fair land for the South-By-Southwest Festival, or the Austin City Limits music festival, or the Fun Fun Fun Festival, or the Republic of Texas Biker Rally, or The Grand Jubilee Druids and Kombucha Festival, and so on and so forth.

But no matter what you do, don’t do this one thing: try to move here. The benefits belong to me now, and the “No Vacancy” sign is firmly upon the proverbial door. Besides, I got here first, and that should count for something.


Austin pic licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

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Written by

Alex Baia is a humor writer and contributor to McSweeney’s and Slackjaw. He lives in Austin, TX.