In OUTLAW PART:I our hero was lost in the woods, chased by coyotes, and darting out of private neighborhoods. To understand that story better lets take you back to the start…
OUTLAW PART II: BAD HOMBRE
I landed in Austin bright eyed but over the coarse of four days I tied to find out what this city was all about. I was supposed to be mystified by Austin. Which I was but in a different way that I did not expect. What I saw online was bustling city with a flourishing art scene. Clean streets, happy people, and an overall accepting community. I found that to be somewhat to be a vail, guarding a harsh truth about the cost of capitalism. Another American metropolitan city being overrun by the homeless and a drug epidemic that is sadly defining my generation. Rich techies from other States coming to an ethnically rich city to reap all of the city’s economic benefit while kicking out the people that made Austin, Austin. Don’t get me wrong, the locals are fantastic and the city is strikingly beautiful but there is an economic war going on in this city where the poor locals are being driven out by rising property values as well as taxations. Originally I went to Austin to promote for the JEAWOK.COM and Rosey’s Eyewear but once I got a taste of Austin’s street art scene, that was the only thing on my mind.
I bought my plane ticket months before to ensure that I would be there during festival time (SXSW). I lucked out because my good friend Johnnie and his fiancé Stephanie live in a beautiful town house close to Lamar Union. The timing didn’t work out because they had to go to Chicago but luckily they needed a dog sitter for their little chihuahua Lucy. I took a day of vacation from my office job on Friday I could come up a day early to at least spend a little time with them. I arrived to my friend’s house Thursday night and we immediately started drinking.
I broke my sobriety because I was on vacation and I was seeing old friends.
“I deserve it”, at least that’s what I told myself.
After a bottle of wine and some Texas beer we took a Lyft to ATX Cocina. While we were on our way in the Uber I saw the green fluorescent light of the Google “G” luminescent over the city. Their headquarters is smack dab in the middle of Downtown Austin. Ominous like if it belonged to a Super-Villain, Lex Luther, King Pin, or Dr. Doom. We took our exit and I saw a homeless encampment in the same line of sight as the skyline. ATX Cocina is an upscale Mexican Restaurant downtown. It is high end Indigenous cuisine. They took classic Mexican plates and put a modern spin on the food. I drank about 4 margaritas and took a couple shots of Don Julio. Let’s just say after almost a year of not drinking this hangover the next day was the worst. I apparently got us all kicked out of a bar for “dancing too hard”, which is is a possibility. I know we left a high end bar and felt right at home raging on world famous Rainey Street, it felt like college again. I remember bits and flashes but not enough to put any context to my memory. Lucy the Chihuahua was under my arm and realized that only one thing could cure this hangover , weed.
Me, Johnnie, and Stephanie had breakfast tacos from the market downstairs and they left for Chicago. I was officially alone in Austin. Johnnie worked it out to one of his friends was going to help me get some Jazz Cabbage (Marijuana) but it was going to be across town and an expensive Lyft.
I obliged because I was desperate.
I was picked up in a newer F150 being driven by a huge black dude named Javarris. “J” as he liked to be called. He told me that he played college football with Johnny Manziel at Texas AM, so I obviously had to get as many party stories out of this guys as I could! After a bunch of small talk I finally told him I was in town write an article on “The Real Austin.”
He told me first thing you need to know is that University of Texas or “UT” runs the town. The money that the school brings in is astronomical while UT is the perfect flagship to give Austin its “image.”
He told me that “Austin is unofficially racially segregated.” He reiterated by saying “Black part of town, mexican part of town, white part of town!” This is true in most parts of the country whether it be do cultural osmosis or the economic structure of the city. I will state that over five people in my time there told me that the town is segregated and people “keep to their own”. This rings true in most blue collar towns when it comes to race but I did not necessarily see that in Austin personally on a micro scale, possible macro. What I did see that the tech industry has brought in a ton of upper class suburban people, a lot of historically Latino and Black neighborhoods have been overtaken by posh eateries and overpriced condos. “J” tole me all the history of those neighborhoods is being lost even though the new residents are “trying to preserve the culture.”
We got off the subject of race and started to talk about culture and art. I told him I was from the west coast and came to Austin to do a ton of graffiti and street art. He told me if I was going to tag that UT was the spot. All of the police presence was going to be so strong in down town and all the students are leaving that morning for spring break (my timing couldn’t have been more perfect). Since my weed connect was far from my apartment I asked “J” to just park and take me back when I got the vape cartridge. Mission was a success and I asked him to take me to University of Texas and drop me off after a quick trip to Wal-Mart to grab paint and supplies.