We know the numbers: 150 people arrive each day, 70,000 last year, Austin straining at the seams. We read rankings for traffic, for construction, for percentage rise in rental rates. But it’s on Saturday night that we can’t deny it. We walk to dinner and find a line spilling out the door and onto the sidewalk for the sausage and beer spot with picnic tables under the trees. We head over to the bistro and sit in view of the doorway where one well-heeled pair after another come through, surveying the scene. When we see the former guitar prodigy, his hair gone gray, we smile at something familiar. Then to the Broken Spoke, where the sign is the same, the ceiling a patchwork of stained tiles and plywood. The wagon wheel is still wheeled across the floor, this time by two unsuspecting tourists from Vermont. But when we try to dance, the floor is so crowded all of our moves are in avoidance, protection. We leave early, once again wondering where our city went. Outside, the five lanes of South Lamar open up for a moment. We race across and find our way home.
February 21, 2015