We read this with much amusement earlier in the week in the Daily Mail– the lamentations of one Brett Alder, a California sales exec who moved his family to Austin apparently in haste and with minimal to non-existent prior research on his new home, who repented at leisure after a brief year and afterwards (upon moving back to California) expanded on woes and the general shortcomings of Texas in an editorial in Business Insider. The original column is behind a paywall, so unavailable to me, but the Daily Mail posted the list of his lamentations. This brought about considerable hilarity in the comments on the various articles which repeated the story, among Texans. The Daughter Unit and I found the article most particularly amusing – especially me; California born and bred, lived there without interruption (save two trips to Europe) until I joined the military, where for twenty years I moved frequently to new communities and wasted little time or heartburn on making a new home. I’ve lived in Texas since 1995 now, with occasional trips to the formerly-Golden State, the last one in 2010 when Dad passed away and I spent a couple of weeks helping Mom sort out things.

To continue with a fisking of Brett-the-male-Karen’s lamentations on life in Austin:

  1. The weather is ‘oppressive’. No, it isn’t, Brett – it’s hot. In the summer, and varied with hot and humid, hot and dry, and hot with the chance of hurricane action in the coastal regions. Get over it and adjust. Seriously. The winters in the southern part of Texas are mild, and relatively summery. People in the northern half of the US are still shoveling out their driveways, while we are putting out tomato starts and watching the fruit trees put out blooms.
  2. ‘No public land’ Er … what? Two state parks, respectively twenty minutes and forty minutes’ drive from Austin, and metropolitan Austin is stiff with parks, green belts, nature preserves and recreation. Bee Cave itself has three parks, including one adorned with monumental art, and another which offers bike and hiking trails. Seriously, I wonder if Brett and the family ever left the house.
  3. ‘No snowy mountains, no raging rivers, and no soaring arches’ So noted. This is Texas. There are darned few mountains, they’re all in the desert, and if you want f**king snow, try the Panhandle. Our rivers don’t rage, commonly; they are well-behaved and polite Texas rivers, as their mamas taught them better manners. Unless they flood in a torrential rainstorm, and then all bets are off. This does happen on rare occasion, so pay attention to local weather reports.
  4. People from home sellers to repair men are ‘dishonest’. OFFS, Brett, are you allowed out without a keeper? You don’t have the native wit to have an independent inspection of the house before committing to purchase, or to ask neighbors, co-workers and church members for recommendations on providers of services which left them happy and content?
  5. Yelp reviews can’t be ‘trusted’ to recommend good food. OFFS – you depended on Yelp? Umm … what about came of you know – talking to neighbors? (Oh, I forgot, they’re all oppressively monoculture in Bee Cave) What about just taking a chance on something that looks interesting and almost always has a full parking lot. Or just making small talk with a local clerk, cashier, store manager, Uber driver, or patrolman about where to go for a nice lunch close by. A hint – such people usually know very well where to get a good, tasty bite to eat close by.
  6. ‘Austinites are rude’. Well, a lot of them are recent migrants from California and other lefty enclaves, so … what did you expect? (Bless your heart…)
  7. There’s only public schools, there’s water restrictions and people pay $600 a month for heating. Umm … welcome to Texas. People with enormous houses pay that much and more for heating and air conditioning. People with small, energy efficient, and well-insulated houses pay less, especially when those temperate months kick in and it’s OK to open the windows and turn off the AC. The water restrictions are for landscape watering in drought months, when the level in the Edwards Aquifer drops too low. Water-thirsty landscaping has not been a good idea for decades, Brett – in California, as well as Texas.
  8. No diversity or different cultures. (Boggle) Me, I live in San Antonio – which on last report is roughly half Hispanic. Plenty of diversity there – more than in Bee Cave, apparently, if my neighborhood is anything to go on. A hop-skip-anda-jump from Austin is the Texas Hill Country, which was solidly German in culture, even to this day. Then there’s Castroville, which is French-Alsatian, and the Polish community in places like Pana Marie. Again, I do wonder if Brett and the family ever went very far from the upper-class and largely white-bread and mayonnaise enclave in Bee Cave.
  9. Militaristic schools. Frankly, Brett – militaristic schools are a good thing, when it comes to socializing our underage spawn, who otherwise would have no manners and education in anything save how to bully their peers undetected and unpunished. A school dress code or uniform, an insistence on manners, orderly conduct, and courtesy – yes, ma’am and no, sir – timeliness, indoor voices, prompt attention to completing assignments, frank confession of errors and misdeeds. I paid good money to a local Catholic girls’ school for nearly for years for just this sort of militaristic education, and it was worth every penny.
  10. Being exposed to a new set of pathogens means new allergies. Yeah, cedar fever is a thing. Oak pollen allergies are a thing. Allergies all over are a thing. Welcome to the real world.
  11. People are obsessed with big luxury homes. Dude, you bought a big-ass home on what looks like 3/4th to a full acre with an in-ground pool, in the wealthiest outlaying suburb of Austin. Seriously? Again – they let y’all out without a keeper?

Frankly, if Brett-The-Male-Karen’s dire warning prevents any number of pig-ignorant, temporarily-wealthy and oh-so-superior California lefty douche-bags from moving to any otherwise sane Texas city, I’m all for that. YMMV.

1 Comment

  1. John F. MacMichael

    Always nice to read some quality fisking!