Thursday, September 25, 2008

Austin vs. Boston? Austin, hands-down

I think one of the most pleasant surprises about this trip is seeing just how friendly people are here. Boston is Angry Town, and living there you just live with it, and a lot of times you just think it's you. There's something wrong with you because when the stranger who yells at you, the jerk who cuts you off and gives you the finger on the highway, the T driver or cab driver or shop clerk just gives you a cold shoulder and you think it's you, and you were raised differently and maybe there was some class in worldliness that you just slept through.

Then you come to someplace like Austin, or anywhere else besides Boston, for that matter, and it's just one of those things where you think, no, I was right all along. Boston is Angry Town and Bostonians are, on the whole, a bunch of stiff-necked assholes.

Bus drivers here in Austin, are friendly and helpful. (And the bus costs 50 cents!) Imagine asking a T driver directions. They may tell you, but you won't get a smile for their trouble. People on the street actually stop and engage in conversation. Last night we were turned around and stopped a group of people who just happened to be African American. They stopped everything, we talked, we laughed, and they actually stopped other people who they didn't know to ask them the directions we were looking for. That never would have happened on the streets of Boston.

And the music scene is so prevalent here. I've never understood why you can't walk along the streets in some place like Harvard Square or Central Square and hear music coming out of every other door. I mean, you'd think a hip, trendy place like Boston would have a great music scene, wouldn't you? Well, maybe here's the big secret: Maybe Boston isn't that hip or trendy.

We sat in Stubbs yesterday talking to the Andy, the bartender, as if we were old friends. He was helpful and just so happy to talk about music and I felt like I did when I was a little kid riding in the back seat of my parent's car with my head out the window. I was just gulping in all in to the point where I almost foundered. Here there are people who really know music and are passionate about it and just love to talk about it and enjoy and just take it all in.

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