Sunday, December 03, 2006

Commitment Issues, and Mags Pop Culture History 101: Texas

Um, I clearly screwed up that NaBloPoMo thing.

I just couldn't post every damned day this month, and I couldn't keep the pop culture theme going. The last half of the month, with the birthday and Thanksgiving and $400 spent on the cell phone that I washed and the lost keys (which were soon found,) and the brief identity crisis and all, was just kind of a mess.

Even my TV watching has suffered, damn it. I still have Scrubs and Veronica Mars on the TiFaux. (But I'm totally watching Heroes tomorow, kids asleep or no.)

So, ending up what I was supposed to end in November, here's the next-to-last Mags Pop Culture History installment, which entails the time period after college and my pre-marriage years in Texas.


After Mizzou, I drifted around my parents' house in KC for a year and a half or so, working and figuring out where I was going to go next. I knew it would entail graduate school, and I knew it would be outside of Kansas City. After some particularly stinging grad school rejections and wait lists for English masters programs - which as it turns out, are pretty competitive - I decided to switch my major to special education. Of course, all problems were eliminated insofar as getting accepted with an education program - these people offered me stipends and scholarships!

Being 23, I of course did not make my decision on grad school based benefits or the merits of the program or the stipends. I decided to attend UT because I had just seen "Slacker" and I thought Austin looked like a cool place, and I thought the guys in it were hot. (And also because I never, ever wanted to be cold again.)

Austin was a hard place for me to break into at first - it is not as friendly and welcoming as residents here seem to think it is. There are lots of little "in" places, lots of little groups, and it takes a bit of time to get the groove of this city. So, I made a few friends my first year here, and hung out with the "lounge" music scenesters (when that was the thing to do in the early 90's).

I met The Man in 1994. At he time, he was a (totally hot) long-haired-hippie music critic, which was just what I had moved to Austin for. We saw each other - and eyed each other - at Hole in the Wall the week before we actually met for the first time, at a party. We hit it off and began dating, but I actually hesitated when considering dating him because he liked country music. I had never hung out with ANYONE who liked country music, and at first did not think my black-wearing alt-chick self could deal. Fortunately for us all, the chemistry was there, and I stuck it out.

On our second date, I think, The Man took me to see The Derailers at the Continental Club. I was skeptical, but from the first song, they had my complete attention. The Man, being who he is, dragged me to the dance floor and forced me to learn to two-step, even though we were the FIRST PEOPLE dancing in the club. I tell you, I had the best effing time, and I kissed him goodnight that night. (There was a rapid and sordid progression within week or so after that, but I will not bore you with those details.)

We ended up dancing soooo much that first year. We saw The Derailers every chance we got, and Don Walser, of course, among many others (Cornell Hurd, Dale Watson, The Naughty Ones the Gulf Coast Playboys, etc.) The Man being a music critic, we also got comped everywhere, which was sweet. He also liked cajun and zydeco music, and we took two vacations to western Louisiana cajun country (Mamou and Opelousas) to dance at Fred's Lounge and Richard's and Slim's Y-Ki-Ki. Fucking amazing. But unlike anything I would have ever thought I would have liked, ever.

The Man put a definite twist in my music buying that persists to this day. I am just as likely to have Robert Earl Keen or Dwight Yoakum pop up on my iPod as I am to have some bit of jangly guitary alterna-pop.

I think my biggest cultural influence on The Man was turning him into a moviegoer (and, he claims, reinvigorating his interest in college and professional sports, which has morphed into a full-blown obsession). So, we morphed and moved on into the land of the smug marrieds, wherein we enjoyed a brief bit of no-kids time in which we saw lots of movies, ate at lots of great restaurants, and could still buy whatever CDs or go to see whatever movies we liked.

The next chapter, the final one, will be the shortest, and it will be entitled "The Years After Children: The Endless Dearth of Sociocultural Activity That Does Not In Some Way Involve A Playscape."

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