An austin day

Mostly, I think Austin is becoming your average urban professional car park. But sometimes you get pleasant glimpses of the older city. Today, for instance: first, I am drinking coffee at Whole Foods and a woman sits down and I notice, with admiration, that she has writing in Chinese, I think, of some sort tattooed on her back – and when I ask her about it, she explains that it is a poem from the fifth master, which, translated into English, makes for a pretty lousy poem. But a nice idea! Then a man stops by my table to inform me that Paul Simon wrote a song about numbers in 1982 – he does this, I realize, because the book I am reading David Boyle’s The Sum of our Discontent: why numbers make us irrational. Then I go to the post office and what do I see but a man who had tattooed not only his face, but his entire head. After depositing my letter, I was riding back up sixth street and passed by a man who was ambling along with nothing more on than a pretty green ribbon, tied in a little bow around his penis. And no, it wasn’t the town’s show off and mascot transvestite, Leslie. However, more impressive perhaps than the penis was the bare feet. On a sixth street sidewalk! Goddamn, I’ve had numerous flat tires from broken glass along this stretch of road, so I could only think that not only had he found a harmless outlet for displaying his gear, but he must have tough padded skin on his feet.

If only he had been marching down fifth street, lowering the property values of the yuppie towers of Babel.