New City, New Year

I’d written substantially more before closing out Word while one of my company’s engineers updated my computer’s SentinelOne endpoint protection. The engineer also disabled some company programs I never use to make it easier to save documents.

But there’s nothing wrong with starting a piece over. I almost wrote, “But there’s nothing wrong with starting over,” but added the last three words to be very clear. I’m ambivalent enough not to reflect more on it at this moment.

We’re finally in San Antonio. It took a few trips to New Orleans and back to get everything, but we have it. Now we just need the things in my parents’ storage unit.

Mom and Dad drove to New Orleans last weekend to get the last load of stuff. Misty and I had gone down again the weekend before to clean and pick up what we could in our small Ford Fiesta. Mom and Dad got to our apartment in San Antonio early New Year’s Eve.

When it was time for fireworks, three of us (Dad fell asleep on the couch) walked a block and a half down our street to watch the fireworks burst around the Tower of the Americas (San Antonio’s Space Needle). We are in a lovely location. The houses on our block are as nice as those on St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans (a fact I add since so many people like to gush about the architecture there). In fact, San Antonio was officially founded the same year as New Orleans, and it hasn’t burned down or been flooded numerous times. I’d wager the architecture here is older and in a far more original state than that in NOLA. Either way, we’re happy to no longer be there.

It’s nice to walk or drive two blocks down the street, turn left and see the city skyline rising above the hospital a few blocks away and the freeway beyond. Getting into downtown takes all of passing that hospital, crossing beneath the freeway and . . . well, that’s it. You’re there.

Misty and Carl have been on long exploratory walks. They’ve walked from our apartment down to the Riverwalk (15-minute walk), up-and-down St. Mary’s, near the Tower and more. St. Mary’s is, apparently, the main bar/club drag in our neighborhood (Tobin Hill).

A few nights ago, we walked over to our neighborhood bar, The Looking Glass. It sits in what Misty heard was a former Church’s Chicken fast-food restaurant. That would explain its being a small building in the middle of a medium-sized parking lot off McCullough. Inside, it’s rather homey and warm. Reminiscent of the first Ruta Maya, to a slight degree. Indeed, I’ve found myself thinking of Austin streets many times while driving around the area since we arrived. I haven’t made the comparisons on purpose. I’ll just be driving down a street and suddenly it will come to me that it looks eerily familiar to one in Austin — North Loop, MoPac, N. Lamar and others. As I learned, the locals are worried the area will become Austin.

Last weekend, exploring the West Side downtown by car, there were stretches of empty buildings broken up with various small businesses. It reminded me of downtown Austin around 15 years ago. Part of it was the lack of people in that part of town on New Year’s Day, but another part was knowing that SA is growing (it’s already the seventh largest city in the U.S.) and remembering a younger, smaller (more affordable) Austin.

When a guy at the bar stepped outside to smoke three kinds of marijuana in a cigarette in small outside area out back, I went out and chatted with him. I told him we’d just moved to town and he proceeded to fill me in on the neighborhood, including that St. Mary’s was the place and descriptions of the bars there. He also said with disdain they’re (whoever “they” are) trying to turn it into another Sixth Street, the best-known bar-and-club-lined street in Austin. Like Austinites, he blamed Californians, and then asked if I was from California.

I told him where we’d lived last year — Austin, Harlem, New Orleans, San Antonio — and he said, “Cool. So you’re sorta like nomads?” I laughed. I certainly hope we’re not this year.

I don’t see St. Mary’s becoming Sixth Street. It may be a center of live music in SA, but it’s no sloppy-drunk college-student-filled Sixth Street. (As far as I’ve seen in my limited time here.)

We’re much happier here. I can wear a watch outside without worrying about drawing the attention of thieves. There aren’t five-plus people standing around on the street corners randomly yelling. We don’t have to deal with the nasty looks. While crime may not have an address, I fear far less that we’ll have two shootings in as many months here any time soon.

As we were leaving our apartment complex in New Orleans, a woman did the crack-addled hobble up to Misty to ask for a cigarette. Misty said, “No.” We don’t smoke cigarettes. So the woman asked if Misty would give her a ride downtown. Again, Misty said no. So the woman said, under her breath, “Fucking bitch,” and hobbled on by the car. It was a perfect example of what we were leaving.

It’s the small things.

Oh, and I just learned (moments ago): I’ve been appointed to the Veterans Communication Advisory Committee of the Texas Veterans Commission!

3 thoughts on “New City, New Year

  1. Welcome to San Antonio! I’m “new” myself, having only lived here for about a year and half, but I’m from this part of the Texas and it feels like home. I really do love this city. I hope you find as much happiness here as I have.

    1. Thanks! Welcome to you, too! I’m very happy here. 🙂

      We’ll have to all explore together. Doggie play date! Except that Carl is iffy about other dogs.

      1. If you haven’t found one near you you like, the Phil Hardberger Dog Park off of NW Military is wonderful. We take River to the one at Nani Falcone Park in the Leon Valley area. 🙂

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