I'll tackle another easy question tonight - don't feel smart enough for the bigger, more important ones. Mary J asks * What do you love about living in Austin? What would you change if you could?
Probably the main thing I love about Austin is that I know it so well, both present and past. I mean I grew up on stories of Austin in the thirties when my parents were in school here, can drive by (or even walk by from the office) the house where they brought me hoe as a baby. I have memories on ost of the streets of central Austin - my own memories and the shared memories of family story. Austin feels like home and I'm not very good at feeling at home, so that matters.
A related theme is that many of my closest friends and family are here, so I have a strong network to call on in need. And because of my work I am a little known in town and that's fun - to be greeted in public by people who are grateful for help I provided years ago or want to comment on something I said in a talk at a mothers' club meeting. Daughters and their families of course are a big part of the richness of close people.
More concrete things I like - The University of Texas, with all the cultural and athletic opportunities it offers, as well as the presence of a population of professors and students, good opera, theatre, ballet options, great restaurants, especially Mexican, a liberal, comfortable feel even in a conservative state, good enough public transportation from where I live, a comfortable neighborhood I can afford, day trips into the hill country very possible, spring wild flowers.I'm glad it freezes some in the winter and that snow and sleet are possible but that they are NOT a big part of the winter every winter. I have gotten used to the summers, hot as they are and know that easterners find our falls puny but I love them all the same.
What would I change about Austin? - car addiction. Too many families have too many cars and drive too much and sometimes it seems like there are cars everywhere I look. I'd also prevent buildings that depend on air conditioning and have windows that don't open. That scares me in our hot climate. I'd like more emphasis on native plants and less on keeping green lawns during dry summers. I wish there were no topless clubs in Austin and no advertising for such places along the highway - and that people getting drunk was less of part of the live music scene down town. I wish there were less of a difference between the rich and the poor and more community across class. But I think most of the things I'd change are really American problems, not Austin problems. I really love my town.