30 June 2008

of austin and old friends

I found myself in downtown Austin for business a lot in the last couple of weeks. I have always loved downtown Austin. It is an approachable, friendly place that feels more sophisticated than it is and lets you pretend to be sophisticated in it (even though it knows as well as you do that its Austin - and Austin is as simple and humble as Texas comes).

Strangely, I found that I didn't really recognize the Austin from my college years. A building boom of condo towers, hotels, and office skyscrapers is transforming the city I once knew. The skyline is different. The buildings that used to romance me are now stubby and out of date. The new towers, gleaming glass and steel, are beautiful but aloof. We've never been introduced.

I guess it is like an seeing an old friend for the first time in years. At first, the memories come flooding back and you begin to wonder if everything could go back to the way it used to be. Then, upon further inspection, you notice that the person from your memories doesn't really resemble the person in front of you. And to really reconnect, you'd almost have to be re-introduced. You'd have to meet the person as they are now, whether they're anything like the person living in your memory or not.

I think I was a little bit mad at Austin for changing without my permission. I had to realize that I've changed too. And our relationship can still be a good one. I'll just be doing business in the offices rather than staggering around 6th Street at 3am.

Maybe we've both grown up a little bit. And maybe that's a good thing for both of us.

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