I had coﬀee in Taylor with a friend from Austin last week. It was wet, foggy, chilly. We sat at a table sheltered from the weather by a large glass window and I listened to her meandering stream of exclamations about how much Taylor had changed.
She ticked oﬀ all of the obvious new players in town, the clothing boutiques, a couple of upscale salons, yoga studios, coﬀee bars, and of course she noticed the craft brewery with a tap room.
This girl is an old friend, a true Austin die hard. The sort, who until I moved here, confused Taylor Texas with Tyler Texas and for several months after my arrival refused to come and visit me because she simply didn’t have time to drive all the way to north east Texas and back in a day.
The conversation shifted to the daily hassles of living in a crowded city like Austin, the traﬃc, the property taxes, the escalating cost of living, and I asked her if she’d ever considered selling up and moving her family to Taylor.
Silence, a blink, and then a quick shake of the head …
“What on earth for? We love Austin, it’s so vibrant, so eclectic, you know, so weird. Let’s face it,” she said, “You’re used to it here, but we would never fit in, we love the arts and music, and the kids simply wouldn’t know what to do.”
She waxed on about the importance of raising her kids near the amenities that would help them grow into the sort of well rounded, socially skilled individuals that would contribute to society.
I gazed past her shoulder, out the window to a blue tent set up on the street corner, a shelter point for an Italian film crew shooting a travel app for Italian tourists. They’d been working since 4 a.m. capturing romantic images of old buildings draped in mist and backlit by storefronts bathed in Christmas lights.
Nothing too out of the ordinary there, lots of movies and documentaries are filmed in Taylor.
A few feet away a white van stood with its back doors open while a band loaded their equipment into the Black Sparrow Music Parlor. A band, like so many other talented groups, who happily drive to Taylor and perform simply to be part of a new music scene that still honors the emerging musicians and helps to bring aﬀordable performances to their public.
My friend stood to leave, she had errands to run and was focused on being back in Austin in time to collect her children from their middle school. The roads too busy and the risk too great for them to walk the six blocks to their home unassisted.
I walked her to her car which was parked just around the corner and as she pulled away I waved first to her and then to a four-foot tall batman standing guard on the corner with a light sabre clutched in his hand and accompanied by a six and a half foot tall Spiderman.
No risk walking the streets here, we’ve got our resident superheroes standing guard.