Thursday, September 11, 2008

My New Neighborhood

One of the first things we did when we moved downtown was make dates with some couples who already lived downtown. We'd met them downtown for meals before or visited in their places, but this was to inaugurate downtown friendships in this new way: WE LIVE DOWNTOWN, TOO! One couple mentioned how many places they walked to and it seemed like they really walked a long way. Since the weather was moving into the teeth of summer, it surprised me. But the longer we are down here, the more we realize how easy and fun it is to roam around on your feet.

When I walked to The Tavern on Tuesday for my friend's book signing, I realized how easy it was to roam over to things in that stretch of Lamar. Not just the venerable Tavern but Wink Wine Bar, an interesting looking health food snack bar, Betty Sport (sport stuff for the ladies) and Twelfth Street Books. The latter (where the picture was taken) is a real live (as opposed to WEB only) erudite secondhand bookstore. Most of those don't maintain a storefront anymore. (I saw my friend David at Momo's the other night and he used to run a great place called State House Books. He is still in the business. Only just virtually.) Which reminds me: my dad and I somehow got on the topic of 'book rate' postage and wondered if it still exists. And, yes, it does.

But I digress. My new neighborhood. Yesterday I only got out in the neighborhood for that walk over to the Four Seasons. I felt cooped up because, for the rest of the day, the closest I got to getting out was going to the parking garage to get some books out of my car and going to the concierge to get a package. I ordered some bookends. Given our decoration strategy (bookshelves, bookshelves, bookshelves with art and artifacts and gewgaws mixed in, all artfully arranged in the aesthetic of devil may care modern collector), our decorator said 'bookends are our friends.' However, only the right bookends work, in my opinion, so we gave some away, saved ones we thought would work and have used things that aren't really bookends. It looks nice, but we are still in the market for a few cool bookends.

But, yeah, digression from new neighborhood and walking in it. Did I mention that I'm stuck inside again today with workmen doing my 'final' AV stuff and motorized shades? Did I mention that Hurricane Ike has promised some stormy weather late tomorrow and early Saturday?

But really the possibilities for things to be walked to are endless. When we moved in, a friend who had been leasing in the Brown Building waiting for his place in this building, turned us on to the delights of Torchy's Tacos which had a trailer in Little Woodrow's parking lot a hop and skip down the street. But they moved! To S. First, I believe. Some people we had turned on to Torchy's just walked the mile and a half each way to satisfy their Torchy desires. Cool.

So, yeah I'm stuck inside getting stuff that makes you stay inside: fancy shades to block the early morning sun and fancy AV equipment. So, you know, you can stick in a Blu-Ray disk at seven in the morning and watch Blu-Ray DVDs all day long with surround sound. I've never seen a Blu-ray disk played (except maybe by accident in a store) and I've never owned a flat screen HD television bigger than the nineteen inch one I bought for a temporary one back in June. I don't own a Blu-ray disk. I thought of buying one (1) Blu-ray Disk but I couldn't find one at Costco. I didn't look too hard.

I wish I were out walking. Guys measuring and drilling in my condo make me palpably nervous. Forrest finds errands to do although I don't think it makes him as nervous. He knows I ordered this stuff and I have to answer questions. Although I can't imagine I'd know the answers.

There are so many places I could walk to. Even to the University on a good day. Or take the 'Dillo up there and then walk around. I could go to the Harry Ransom Center or the Blanton, shop on the drag. Heck for the price of the AV and shades, I could take a limo up there every day for a year or two probably and have them wait while I had a burger at Dirty Martin's.

We proved the other day that walking to toney SoCo is no problem. I could shop for weird bookends at Uncommon Objects. We could explore South Lamar, North Lamar (see above) and S. First. We could wander in old West Austin and Clarksville like we did the other day. Of course, downtown offers many wandering options. The library is on Guadalupe, not far away. It's true that the homeless population has made the Central Library a home away from no home, but there are still books there for ordinary people. Wait! I have enough books in the condo (after furious downsizing of them and with a few boxes pending at my dad's house) to last a reader a lifetime. Especially a reader who gets The New Yorker (fifty issues or so a year) and who has subscriptions to two seven-day-a-week newspapers, one six-day-a-week newspaper and one weekly newspaper and who occasionally picks up at least one free weekly. Ruined by Reading. Which is the title of a book that I don't think I gave away. I think it's still in a box at Dad's house.

I could walk to a myriad of coffee shops and write on my laptop or in a journal and look literary. I could walk to the Capitol and take a tour.

But today I sit, logged onto the Internet and worry at the sounds of drilling in the next room. Maybe I'll pop the DVDs of all issues of The New Yorker from 1925 through April 30, 2007 into my iMac and browse around. But I'd sort of rather be walking.

No comments: