My blog of January 22 was about suffering from chronic Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and cabin fever. I’m glad to report that I’ve been able to get out of the Canadian deep freeze to spend the rest of winter in Austin, TX. Although Old Man Winter seems relentless this year, blowing his arctic breath to be felt as far south as Austin, Texas, I’m happy to be able to walk again. No snow and ice to contend with! And walking is for sure the best remedy for benefitting one’s mental health.
Dearly Beloved (that’s my sweetheart of 38 years – he who made the “Immoral Proposal”) and I love exploring on foot and using the local public transport system. Austin, the state capital, offers excellent public transportation. DB doesn’t mind being a senior when it comes to certain benefits and privileges. For an entire month he is able to take unlimited bus rides city wide for the discounted fare of $24 (I, being a youngster, pay the full fare of $48,) making getting around the city very affordable. It’s a win-win situation – we get our daily exercise and those prices certainly beat car rental costs.
Riding the bus is also pure theatre. You really get a sense of the local culture and flavour. A couple of days ago, we were amused watching passengers toward the front of the crowded bus needing to clear the way for a wheelchair-bound woman. A man with his partner, toddler, and folded stroller, had to vacate the wheelchair designated row of seats. People standing in the aisle were somehow reluctant to move back. “Okay, folks,” the man piped up loudly, “Move on back, it’s time to do the metro shuffle!”
With a slogan like “Keep Austin Weird,” you get the distinct impression that it’s unlike any other city in Texas. It’s pretty laid back, very alternative, green and friendly. I think I’ll enjoy promoting my memoir, An Immoral Proposal, here especially in light of our experience the other day. We were legging it downtown, when a young man (likely a student as Austin is a college town) leaning out of the passenger window of a passing vehicle, shouted at me, “He loves you!” Hmm, kinda sounds like Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood in a weird sort of way!