Reflections On City Living From a Non Nine to Fiver

When your work schedule is no longer Monday through Friday 9 to 5, you find yourself not giving a shit about staying in on a Friday night.  (I’m a musician)  I work tomorrow night, so tonight in the house is fine with me, communicating with my animals.  I also spend my work days/nights in places that other people play, so when I do have time off I find myself not being that drawn to bars or clubs anyway.  If I want to see people drink so much that they are in touch with the spirit world, all I have to do is wait till I play a show.  Whatever I am, I am not a classic extrovert.  I don’t need to be interacting in a crowd to feel energized and happy.  That’s not saying that given the right circumstances I can’t enjoy that, it’s just not what I need to keep going.  However, I do love the art and culture of a city.  When a city is walkable I love walking around at night, seeing what’s going on, even if I’m just observing, as long as it isn’t so crowded that it resembles the movie Blade Runner.

Not only is my playtime not dictated by the usual workweek schedule, but I try, when possible, to avoid rush hour all together.  Now in Austin, driving somewhere at noon on a Tuesday feels like rush hour in many other places, so I can’t avoid traffic all together by any means.  Morning rush hour here is not that bad, but from 3:30 to 7, M-F, stay off the roads if at all possible.  I don’t understand how people that have to drive in that kind of thing aren’t screaming like banshees for some kind of sensible public transportation.  (I did work 9 to 5, or close to it, for many years.)  City dwellers that fetishize their cars are a breed I don’t quite understand.  It’s not freedom.  Having to drive everywhere in a city, especially at normal hours, is like volunteering to be locked in a slow moving box for several hours a day.  Even if the music is great and your seat is comfortable, at some point you are going to pray for The Road Warrior to become a reality.

In this country we have the money and the technology to do whatever we want, if we really wanted to.  Why don’t more people work from home?  Why is our transportation so shitty?  Austin is a pretty forward thinking city compared to some.  We couldn’t even get the populace to approve one train line.  This is when the population of our city, and the world in general, is exploding.  I have a friend that when he used to get baked, and we would talk about traffic, while his eyes were slits, would say about traffic that, “It’s so fucking inefficient!”  If he, in his state of mind, could tell that, what are most people thinking when sober?

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