There’s a saying here: Keep Austin Weird.
It’s a great saying. It lends to the eclectic-ness that is Austin. Things are a little different here. It can be bizarre, kooky and funky. It can also be just plain weird. As in where did this weirdo come from??
I don’t run into too many weirdos, but every now and then, one pops out at me in the most unexpected of places. And I am usually unprepared.
I went to the U-Haul store to rent a trailer. Just a trailer. I was only thinking about the small move I was going to make. But the fella behind the counter had a different agenda. He seemed nice enough at the beginning, then he asked for my driver’s license:
Him:“Aren’t you scared to have ‘donor’ on your card here?
Him: “Aren’t you afraid they won’t work on you hard enough so they can sell your liver and kidneys to the rich people?”
Me, thinking surely, he’s joking: “um, I guess I never thought of it that way”
Him: “Yeah, they totally executed those prisoners from Tiananmen Square so they could sell their organs to the rich Asians. We should have never traded with them”
Me? I didn’t say a word. I mean really, what can you say to that? But I’m thinking, okay, this guy is definitely weird.
So then he asks what type of vehicle I will be using to tow the trailer. That seemed normal enough, right? But I’m still leery, you know?
Me: A Kia Sorrento
Him: “No! Not a Kia? A Vietnamese car? Pouring money into the country that killed all our soldiers.” as he’s shaking his head in shame.
Okay, I’m speechless now. All I wanted was to rent a trailer. I was not prepared to have this kind of conversation with anybody, but especially– the U-Haul guy?
Then he apologizes and says “Sorry, I’m just very p…”
(I thought he was going to say patriotic and for some reason that pissed me off. I’m patriotic too, and I drive a Kia)
I get my wits about me enough to say: “Well, that’s all very well and good, but let me tell you; all my dads are veterans, my husband is retired Coast Guard and our son is a Marine, and not one of them has a problem with my Kia. So, if that will be all?”
This is true stuff, people. I’m not good enough to make this up. Even the Skater was kind of shocked. He’s about as tolerant as anyone can be. He said to me later, “I know Austin is weird, but that guy? Takes the cake.”
So yes, let’s Keep Austin Weird, just watch out for the weirdos.