Monday, July 11, 2005

Belle of the Balls

Made a trip to St. Louis last weekend to attend a nephew’s wedding. I hadn’t been there since I moved to Austin over 5 years ago. I can’t say that I miss it, really. I moved there right after high school, really loved it for a few years, then, by the time the big-city gleam wore off I found myself to be too poor to move away... it takes balls to leave a place where you have a job and other pesky attachments, when you have no job or living arrangements waiting in the new place. Besides, I figured one place was as dead-ended and depressing as another, so why bother? I didn’t know Austin was even out there, and that I would actually ......gasp..... feel at home and even thrive in a different place.

St. Louis is a Corporate town, very elitist, and people don’t seem to mind that. I think most people actually prefer supporting their local Corporations rather than nurturing weirdness, because Corporations mean jobs, careers, wealth, cars, more garages, higher status. Who do you work for? What’s your position there? Does it pay well? And the first thing you’ll be asked in a St. Louis crowd... Where did you go to High School? At the wedding in the bar line we were discussing whether a local microbrew would be preferable over a Guinness, and the guy standing behind us (who obviously lives for his career) suggested that the best choice would be a nice, fresh Bud Light. (Note that he even used the word “fresh”! Gah! Where’s the remote? How do I zap a live commercial?) I imagine that any other Anheuser-Busch product would have been equally acceptable.

I always had very few friends there (and the ones I had have left) and almost never met anyone that I had ANYTHING in common with. Also, the good neighborhoods are disgustingly conservative, and the funky, interesting neighborhoods are also known as “high crime areas”.

Anyway, the family (the in-laws) all looked fantabulous, they’ve got great genes. I wouldn’t even have recognized some of the kids, they are starting to look like movie stars. The bridegroom, we decided, looked a little like Ben Affleck. And his cousins could make a fortune as models, or even actors. They wouldn’t even have to be great actors. Compare to Hayden Christensen:

A couple of my nephews

The reception was held in the same building as the City Museum, which is actually a fantastic, funky place. The outdoor playground (suitable for all ages) which we could see from the veranda was open. There were a bunch of twisty metal cagey tubes to crawl through, spiral staircases, slides, and a big pit of rubber balls for jumping around in. We though, what the heck? This is our last chance to try this, so hoping that we’d be gone long enough to miss the band’s rendition of “Proud Mary” we gave it a shot… and very inappropriately dressed as well.

When we got back, they were just starting to play “Proud Mary”, so our night, and our visit to St. Louis was complete. Some things never change.

On the flight home from Houston, I could see this out the window:

Google says "San Antonio" but it's much closer to Austin. It's made from trees, and apparently is the name of the landowner who did it to be able to keep his property away from the government. It can be seen from space, and in fact is used by NASA as a measurement device. Now that is wicked weird! I love it!

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