Saturday, September 6, 2008

Everything Changes ... but Everything Stays the Same

Today I went to a part of Austin I don't really frequent ... the Drag. It's not actually at all what it sounds like. In the past, it was a collection of cute little shops (including some great "vintage" clothing shops) and local restaurants along Guadalupe (pronounced "Gwad-a-loop" rather than its Spanish accented origin) across from the University of Texas campus.

Many of the shops I remember are gone. In their place are more typical (as my hairstylist called them, "corporate") businesses. I know that is a trend across the nation - but this is Austin, home of "Keep Austin Weird" (meaning to support local businesses ... at least on the surface). I was sad, because I was going to get my haircut and thought it was a great opportunity to do a little shopping where I probably wouldn't buy anything.

So instead, I walked around campus. Part of me wishes I had brought my camera, but then again - why would I want any pictures of such a place? I went to Texas A&M ... pretty much the opposite of UT in every possible way. In reality - I think they are both great schools, depending on what you are studying - and I openly admit that I'll go for the Longhorns when they aren't playing my Aggies. However, I don't have a particular love of them.

A close friend of mine once said that UT's campus is more beautiful than A&M's ... but I disagree. In fact - I think any state college campus in Texas looks pretty similar. UT does have more statues, but A&M's statues offer you luck on finals for a measly penny.

Like any college campus I've ever visited, there is always construction - things are always changing. While I expected Austin to change while I was gone, I had no idea so much could happen in two years - toll roads, streets you once knew hardly recognizable other than the street sign, and open fields turned to outlet mall and Ikea monstrosities.

There are some places on the Earth, however, that seem to pass the time virtually untouched. I recently went to my stomping grounds in East Texas on a "business" trip. I expected things to have changed, and on one side of town they had grown, but otherwise - everything was exactly the same. It was weird, like being in some kind of bubble of time that had been forgotten in 80s and 90s.

All of this got me thinking how everything here on Earth is mortal. Even down to the clothes I'm wearing and the skin I'm in ... it's all borrowed, and for all that it changes - good and bad - the best is always yet to come.

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