Why I Live in South Austin

RECEIVED Fri., Sept. 3, 2004

Dear Editor,
   I talk to myself, but like most humans I constantly desire communication with the world around me. Most of the time we think of this interaction as personal, often conversing with friends and strangers alike (and sometimes our pets). But at some level of consciousness, we connect with inanimate objects.
   This relationship is incredibly new, although it's been part of our essence since the time of nomadic villages. Back then, some guy suddenly became attached to his spear; some lady her soup ladle. They either made these things themselves or recognized them as the work of their fellow tribesmen. This attachment has since grown to include buildings, modes of transportation, stuffed animals, power drills, fake boobs – pretty much everything outside the organic realm.
   With attachment, we also can experience a feeling of loss with detachment. It's often subtle, but still part of how most humans now function.
   Lately my feelings toward inanimate objects have been in a major mood swing. My problem is that every day, at some level, I interact with the part of South Congress Avenue ironically labeled "the strip."
   Part of me feels little or no connection to the businesses that come and go. The ones I'm most attached to are those distinctive businesses that present South Congress Avenue as a mirror of Austin culture. These businesses help us realize the value of a rusted lawn chair. They visually stimulate us with murals, music, and a ceramic chick holding a hamburger. You can smell life on this street.
   These businesses are my connection to Austin's matchless, bent vibe; it's part of why I live here. I would hate to see them move north like our toy store, children's clothing boutique, and (now) our storefront selling Mork & Mindy egg chairs. The whole thought of it makes me temperamental.
Rad Tollett
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