I’ve noticed a problem that some people have, over and over again, when they move to Austin. I had this problem when I moved here myself. Austin is a volitional city.
That makes it different from Oklahoma City, or Winston-Salem, or Polk County Florida. It is not a place where you are “from.” It is a place where you want to be. Everybody in Austin, and in the decade that I’ve lived here I’ve seen nearly every actual native driven out, is here because they believe in something about this city and they want to be part of it.
What this means is that you have to check your problems at the door. Nobody cares if you’re depressed in this town, and that’s a wonderful thing. We do not all have to hang out with each other. If you are trapped in your own boring grudges and resentments, then…well, there are plenty of people around who aren’t. This isn’t someplace that you happen to be from, this is someplace that everybody is working to be.
So those of us, like myself, who considered how depressed they were to be a fascinating topic of conversation are in for a world of trouble here in Austin. Nobody wants to hear it.
It’s not that nobody’s depressed here, but if you come to this town without much to offer then nobody’s gonna talk to you, and it’s as simple as that. Why bother? There are fun people to hang out with at the next table over.
Me, I like it. It was a shock to me at first that nobody wanted to hear the details of my lack-of-a-love-life and my existential New Jersey angst. But gradually I realized that I didn’t want to hear about it either. Leave it behind.