Newbie’s Rules for Living in Austin

1. First, it's pronounced AWS-TUN. It doesn't matter how they say it in other places.

2. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Austin has its own set of traffic rules. There's no book about them. All you can do is get in your car and hope you survive to learn them.

3. All directions start with "Go down Mopac...'cause you don't want to geton I-35’." No one knows for sure what 'Mopac' means.

4. Burnet Road, Braker Lane, and Lamar Blvd.have no beginning and no end.

5. It is impossible to go around a block and wind up on the same street that you started on. The Chamber of Commerce calls this a scenic drive.

6. The 8:00amrush hour is from 6:30am to 9:30am. The 5:00pm rush hour is from 3:30p to 7:15pm. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

7. If you actually stop at a yellow light, then you cannot be from Austin. You may only apply your brakes when the end of a yellow light and the beginning of the red light create a burnt-orange hue. This is Longhorn Country, after all.

8. If you like being an individual, don't even think of working for Dell. You'll be branded like cattle and made to walk all over town with your Dell Tag around your neck or clipped on to your belt loop. Ninety-eight percent of the people within a 200 mile radius work for Dell. When someone says "Michael Dell", Dell employees are trained to face Round Rock, hit their knees, put their face to the ground, weep, and rock back and forth.

9. Just remember that Mopac IS Loop1; Capital of Texas Hwy IS 360; and U.S.183 IS Research Blvd., AndersonLand, Ed Bluestein Blvd.and Old Bastrop Hwy; 2222 IS Northland Dr.or Allendale Rd.or Koenig Lane. Don't try to figure it out. Just accept it. If you question the intelligence behind this naming convention, people will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you.

10. If moisture is determined to be rain, and not sweat, all traffic must immediately come to a screeching halt; ditto for daylight savings time, a femal UT student applying eye-shadow across the street, or a flat tire three lanes over. Rubber-necking is considered just as enjoyable as plain old necking with the steamed up car windows.

11. DO NOT attempt to access any road after an apocalyptic event like snow, a UT football game, UIL weekend, the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally, a parade for Lance Armstrong, cycling event, another 10K run or the SXSW (South by Southwest Music Convention). Construction on I-35 AND U.S. 183 is a way of life and a permanent form of lifetime entertainment. Get used to it and start saving up your toll road money!

12. Attn: All telephone solicitors...DO NOT correct my pronunciation when I say I live in Manchaca, TX. It's pronounced MAN-shack (just like a man living in shack). Also realize that the city of Manchaca (MANshack) is in Hays and Travis Counties, and there is also a very long street in Austin named Manchaca (MANshack)! The city of Manor and Manor Rd. are pronounced 'MAY-ner'. We don't like corrections on that either. And, for God's sake, DON'T pronounce the 'E' at the end of Guadalupe. It's Gwada-LOOP and we like it that way!

13. Burnet Road is pronounced BURN-it, not Bur-NET. Koenig Lane is pronounced KAE-nig not KOE-nig. The old airport (Robert Mueller) is pronounced Robert Miller and is on Airport Boulevard. The new airport (Austin-Bergstrom) is no where near Airport Boulevard. It's in the city of Del Valle pronounced Dell Valley!

14. Keep in mind that the sloppily dressed 'hippie' in worn-out sandals and earrings is probably the latest IPO millionaire around here.

15. Stay away from the Congress Ave. bridge at sundown if you do not like the thought of being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. (Largest Mexican Free Tail Bat Population in the US)

16. And, yes, we all know that there's a man in a teddy and a tiara on Congress Ave. It's Leslie and he probably makes more money than you do. (Surely, you have a homeless, celebrity drag queen that likes to run for Mayor where you live, too, right?)

**And you wonder why there are so many bumper stickers that say 'Keep Austin Weird'!**

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