Sunday, December 21, 2008

Austin Christmas

In a few days, Annie and I will fly out of Chicago to Austin for a Texas Christmas. It will be my fourth trip to Austin and my third stay at the Austin Motel, one of the finer and more eccentric and soulful  establishments of that city.  I am sharing a few pictures from last year for you to get the general idea of the place,
but if you would like to know more, go to , where you can read the history of the place and understand the reason for the fabulous karma of the place. 
The first time I stayed there was with my then-fiance Dave, who agreed to book the room in deference to me and my love of all things tacky and unique; I am sure that a sensible Best Western would have been far more up his alley, but he put a smile on his face and commented on how the purple walls of our room were really quite pretty, after all, and watched a football game on the tiny little tv with rabbit ears.
Last year I returned solo. Each room at the Austin is an individual work of art, and when I checked in to my new digs I was not disappointed. It had sort of a "c" shaped floor plan with the bathroom in the middle. One end of the C showcased a great old dresser, the kind my grandmother had, and the other end held a double bed under a window.  The head of the bed was about 2" lower than the foot, which gave you the feeling of diving into dreamland.  In the mornings, the sun streamed in that little window and I still remember how that looked and felt with perfect clarity.  There was also a little couch and another tiny tv that didn't work. The bathroom was brightly tiled and the layers of calking around the fixtures were like little necklaces that just spiffed everything up. In short, perfection.
Austin is an outdoor place full of independent, liberal and eccentric folks. There is art everywhere, both the official and the unofficial kind, and street merchants peddling everything from shea butter ( a gorgeous black man with dreds down to his ass) to mocassins.  The food is great and they have three theaters where you can order some of it and watch a movie.  We hope to see Clint's new movie on Christmas day.

My friend Tina will be here at the house with little Bella and the Ozman, stoking the home fires for me.  She is still waiting for her husband Almamy to get his visa approved and fly here to Holland to be with her. They have been separated far too long and the story of their struggle to get him here is a painful one.  I had dinner with my new friend Vic, a handsome, brilliant and smooth-talking caramel-colored man with a voice like Lou Rawls, and he told me that he looked up the word "steerage" in the dictionary after hearing it used in the movie, "Titanic".  I remember the scene: a shot of those belowdecks who couldn't afford first-class passage.  It refers to those cheap accomodations for people who really don't count quite as much in this world; those who are marginalized by their skin color, their poverty, their powerlessness, their gender.  An awareness of how this pervasive attitude drives our world will help to change it.  I don't want to get preachy, here, but seeing clearly is coming to unfold for me as so very much more than getting that I am a lucky woman.
peace to you all, and love,