The photo below is more or less the view from my window—that large flat surface is the roof of a strip mall and was, in 1980, the roof of Mother Earth, after it relocated to East Riverside. In the winter and spring of 1980 “My Sharona” was a big hit and all the cover bands at ME played it—ALL the bands! Every evening when I was trying to study the opening quickly-tedious bomps of “My Sharona” would come thumping up across the street and through my window…
And—there was another bar in the strip mall, TA Station, and a Conan’s Pizza, and a Safeway. Up the street was the Back Room and Paula’s Playpen. So there was plenty of food and beer and fun.
One night TWS and I were out and about, one our way to Spelman’s, and some cops pulled us over on West 6th, just past Lamar. TWS was driving. The cops made him walk the line, touch his nose, etc. The cops said that while TWS had obviously been drinking, he wasn’t drunk drunk. But he needed to go home—and so we drove back to our place, with the cops following. And then, of course, we walked across the street to Mother Earth. Austin!
There was some crime in our neighborhood, too. Someone (?) left the patio door open one night and we woke to find that TWS’s coin jar had been stolen, along with a few dollars I’d stupidly left sitting out. And then I got the battery stolen out of my pickup—not once but three fucking times, and the third time the thieves also cut the fucking battery cable, which was a pain to replace. And then someone(s) stole the license plates off my truck!
Oh—that window in the top photo. There was a kid named KH who used to come crash on our couch, and I got tired of him hanging around. One morning after Mother Earth closed he was out there knocking on the door—and so I urinated out the window on his head. Ha!
Also that window—one night in April or so I was studying and heard police sirens, and then saw flashing lights. I looked out my window. A car was pulled over right in front of my place. Behind the pulled-over car were two cop cars with three cops. As one cop approached the car, it tried to get away. Bang! Bang! BOOM! The cops opened fire on the car—two pistols and a shotgun. Whoa! Then the cops pulled the people out of the car and beat the shit out of them. I went outside to watch, along with most of my neighbors. The next day the Statesman said that there had been a stabbing at one of the bars way out on East Riverside, by Montopolis, and that the shot-up car matched the description of the car the fled the stabbing scene. (Though the car guys weren’t the stabbers, it turned out—they just had some weed in their car and were worried about getting busted).
East Riverside pros: easy access to beer and fast food, a window to pee out of.
East Riverside cons: crime, KH, police shooting people, “My Sharona.”
Verdict: my least favorite Austin residence.
You might be interested in my novel of Austin, That Demon Life....a novel of lust and laziness....
“That Demon Life has got Austin in its sway, or at least this novel's motley crew of characters. A horny judge, a defense attorney with an attitude, an entourage of petty criminals, a dating service maven, a self made internet porn star and a boy toy or two—they're all slouching toward Sixth Street and beyond. This is a fast-paced, hold-on-to-your-bar stool satire, a hilarious, stumbling romp through law and disorder, urban ennui and its after-hour antidotes, Texas-sized lust and doom.”
—Alison Moore, author of The Middle of Elsewhere and Synonym for Love,