Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Austin Orientation Class for Newcomers

The way it works is all the Austin newcomers come here and work so that the rest of us can slack. It's a pyramid scheme. Didn't you get the memo? Yeah, here's how it works. You enroll them in your Austin Orientation Class. The class meets one time per week for 30 minutes at a bar of your choice. The newcomer always buys. In exchange for teaching the class, the newcomer will mow your lawn, go grocery shopping, do your laundry, or whatever chore prevents you from slacking.

Here's the syllabus.

Week 1: Mopac and Loop 1 are the same damn thing, and btw, it ain't a loop, so don't try make a loop around the city on Loop 1 or you'll end up on a toll road and that'll really tick you off.

Week 2: Koenig is the same as Allendale

Week 3: Koenig is pronounced "Kay-nig". Duh!

Week 4: Allendale is the same as 2222

Week 5: Koenig is the same as 2222

Week 6: Allendale is the same as Koenig

(thanks to this one bit of screwy info, you've earned yourself a lot of slacking at some poor newcomer's expense)

Week 7: Bee Cave is the same as 2244

Week 8: 290 East and 290 West do not meet IH-35 at the same place

Week 9: IH-35 is the same as I-35

Week 10: Townlake is the same as Lady Bird Lake

Week 11: Congress Ave Bridge is the same as Ann Richards Bridge

Week 12: 1st Bridge is the same as the Drake Bridge

Week 13: Manchaca is pronounced "Man Shack"

Week 14: Guadalupe is pronounced "Guada Loop" and this ain't a loop either but it's about as congested as the other road that ain't a loop. Maybe they're congested because everyone's looking for the loop? Maybe Guadalupe should be renamed to "Where da loop?"

Week 15: Guadalupe near UT is the same as The Drag.

(end of semester. use this opportunity to tell your newcomer about the hill country or big bend and then get them to drive you both out there)

Week 16: Ben White and 71 are the same thing.

Week 17. Research and 183 are the same thing.

Week 18. Westlake is a rich enclave with its own schools and cops, but they still call themselves Austinites even though they don't pay Austin property taxes. Very tricky. There is no interesting food in Westlake, they come to Austin for that. There is no interesting shopping in Westlake, they built their own Galleria way out west hoping that Austinites wouldn't be able to find it. It's working.

Week 19. Rollingwood is a suburb of Westlake where another 10 Austinites have figured out a way to avoid paying Austin property taxes. I'm not really sure how big Rollingwood is. It's seems about large enough to park a police car wth a radar gun along Bee Cave (see Week 7) to catch folks going from Austin to Westlake and vice versa. This makes Bee Cave sorta like a toll road.

Week 20: Austinites will spend 20-30 minutes trying to get across town in traffic, but they won't consider driving 15 minutes up IH-35 to visit friends in Pflugerville or Round Rock. Newcomers take note: If you move to Pflugerville or Round Rock, even if it looks close to Austin on the map, it's psychologically very far. The chances that you'll get Austinites to visit you are worse than if you lived in New York or San Francisco.

Week 21: Austinites are tolerant people except when it comes to bikes and pedestrians. For some reasons, Austinite drivers hate bikes and pedestrians. Go to way N. Lamar and watch how Austinites will drive circles around pregnant women and the elderly pedestrians stranded in the chicken lane. In any other state, traffic would stop. Similarly, bicyclists risk their lives while trying to share the road. It's frightening to watch Austinite motorists crowd them out of the lane or even shout or throw things at them. Newcomers, we're actually hoping you can help change this by not doing it too.

Week 22: Back to happier thoughts. Don't ask 5 Austinites where the best bbq is and expect a consensus. In fact, don't ask 5 Austinites anything and expect a consensus. Be prepared to watch them set up a task force, hold community open houses, hire some consultants, invite you to participate in a 'What makes BBQ great" charrette, set up an Austin BBQ Facebook page, start Twittering you to participate in the BBQ poll, set up visits to other towns that also eat BBQ, start up a BBQ Music Festival, start up a BBQ Lovers for Haiti Fun Run, set up a BBQ Industry Entrepreneur Center for Excellence, develop a 20-year plan on how to make Austin BBQ the Best BBQ in the World, but never actually get around to answering your question.

An academic year is typically 30 weeks long, but this is Austin so slack off the rest of the time. Besides it's probably getting hot.