Keeping it Weird in Austin
I took my laptop to Mr. Notebook today because the “A” key was not working. They fixed it in 5 minutes (a crumb? was under the key) and sent me on my way with no charge. I really like dealing with those guys at Mr. Notebook. Actually, I should say I really like dealing with competent businesses who know how to take care of their customers. Mr. Notebook in Austin fits that description well.
Anyway, after leaving, I headed south on Guadalupe and as I approached 15th street, a woman came out in the street and flagged me down. I stopped and she asked if I could drive her and her friends “downtown”. I looked at her and her 4 friends, all wearing SxSW badges and looking exactly like the kind of people you’d see at SxSW, one with a Mohawk, and told her “you’re already downtown”.
She said they needed to get the 6th street and wanted a ride in the back of my truck. I told her it was illegal for me to ride people in the back of the truck and that I could get a ticket. I told her they could walk there in 12 minutes, then I said goodbye and drove off. In the rear view mirror, I could see her out in the street trying to flag down another car. The scary thing is, this seems like just a normal day in Austin to me.
Further down the road, hungry and needing to kill some time before I pick up my daughter at volleyball camp, I stopped at Popeyes on S. 1st and Oltorf and ordered the $3.99 lunch. The total was $4.43 with tax and I pulled out a $10 bill. Then, as the cashier opened the drawer, I said “I have 43 cents” and started digging in my pocket.
He looked at me confused and said “I already opened the drawer”. I said, “does that matter?” He said yes, because he already punched in a $10 and the screen tells him the exact change he has to give back. I said, “so you don’t want the 43 cents and you just give me back $6?” He said “no, it will mess up the drawer”.
I then tried to explain, in a friendly, non-condescending way, that at the end of his shift, the till either adds up to the right amount or it doesn’t, and that there will be no expected inventory of an exact number of dimes, nickels and pennies, so long as the end total is correct, so he could in fact take the $0.43 and give me back $6 and it will be ok.
This kid, young 20’s and all tatooed up, honestly had no idea what I was talking about. I put the change back in my pocket and said “it’s cool bro”.
It’s these little things that make Austin a fun place to be. I’m sure other cities have plenty of weirdness too, but I love living in Austin. Every day brings it’s own small joys.