My mission today began with driving north to Georgetown and dropping off a proposal for landscape services for a landfill in Williamson County. Good stuff. Then I turn and head back down south to drop off yet another hearing notice in Austin. I'm wearing my oh so comfortable Naturalizer loafers today to avoid falling off of the curb like last time. Attractive they are not, but they go amazingly well with my chocolate brown cords, henly long sleeve top and flowery Liz Claiborn overshirt. I'm stylish beyond belief. I'm a vision, really.
Parking is always an issue downtown, but it's also always fun to circle up and down 6th Street and Congress Avenue and to see all of those sights.The nine foot tall "Art Guitars" peek out from the sidewalks along Congress and seem to go unnoticed by most of the people walking by them. I park in front of The Hideout on Congress. It is packed with workers on their lunch hour. This is probably one of those cool coffee places I've been searching for. It advertises live music most evenings along with coffee, food and other beverage specials. Daniel's going to the UT game tonight, which means I don't have to rush home and cook dinner, so perhaps I'll mosey down there after work today.
So many types of people wander around down here at noonish. Of course, there are plenty of suits indicating to me only that the legislature is back in session and that lawyers still exist in Austin, Texas. I can't picture what other businesses here require this level of formality of attire. Plenty of other people obviously on their lunch hour are casually dressed and are pressed for time. I see several guys on both 6th Street and Congress with guitars and guitar cases strapped to their backs like backpacks. I wonder if they are on their way to a studio to record, are they early early to set up or rehearse for a late night gig, or are they looking for a spot to pull up and play for a little cash.
I make my delivery and retreat from downtown and end up at The Shady Grove for lunch. It's roughly 60 degrees and sunny and the perfect time for a late lunch alone outside where I can, as always, enjoy the sights. Shady Grove is on Barton Springs Road and is just as it sounds - shady, homey and relaxed. What is now a brand new community of condos next door was once the Shady Grove RV Park which had beautiful shade trees and many airstream trailers housing permanent residents.
An old airstream continues to welcome you in to Shady Grove and is surrounded by those bright lime green and pink steele lawn chairs like everybody's grandmother used to have in her back yard. Red rock walls decorated with wooden wagon wheels surround the outdoor dining area, which is packed on summer nights when the "Unplugged at the Grove" concerts happen every Thursday night. Tin roofed overhangs, strands of lights with round white bulbs hang low over the rock patios and a flag pole in the middle of everything with both the U.S. and Texas flag leave me smiling and, for some reason, nostalgic.
Two women, in their mid-fifties probably, sit at a table nearest to me smoking cigarettes. I find it somewhat interesting that smokers still exist. The women are dressed in old and somewhat tattered attire, each in an oversized faded baggy sweater, poorly fitting jeans and Birkenstocks with socks. They have a couple of books in front of them and they are completely and utterly immersed in their iphones. They chat with each other blindly, never looking up to take in the sights of Shady Grove or even to make eye contact with each other.
What is it about the iphone? It has completely changed the way that people act in public. The way I see it is that they are interacting with the world and with a gazillion friends, family and,YIKES "followers", and yet simultaneously they are completely oblivious to those in their immediate vicinity where actual human contact could occur given the opportunity. It seems to me that the iphone could quickly become a form of electronic birth control because people ignore the fact that there is a human being lying next to them in the bed while the iphone is fired up and permanently attached to the palm of one hand. Well, I suppose if both had their iphones turned on (bad choice of words) then there might be a chance of making the magic happen. Picture that loving communication
----"U R 2 hot I U"
---- "1 sec..bout 2 B scrabble champ".
Sorry for the soapbox on this iphone tangent...random thoughts from an overactive imagination are at work here. Could it be possible that, because I don't have an iphone, that I really am out to lunch?