Saturday, November 9, 2013

In anticipation of next weekend, an open letter to Formula 1 fans

Dear Formula 1 Fans, 

First, allow me to welcome all of you on behalf of my city, and to tell you how pleased we are to have you in our fair town. As a gesture of friendship and civic pride, I would like to humbly offer you my personal support during your stay here. I will gladly provide you with clear and concise directions to anywhere in Austin you wish to go, and encourage you to call me directly if you are in need of navigation. You can reach me using the cell phones you are clearly not afraid to operate while driving in an unfamiliar city. I am well-versed in the layout of our town and I feel this service would be invaluable, as most of you are clearly lost, judging by the way you signal right, slow to a crawl in front of me, and then dart left across three lanes of traffic in order to make a u-turn. I can help you to avoid these needless and dangerous changes in direction.

I’d also like to inform you of a few guidelines for your time in Austin that seem to have been left out of your tourist brochures. I’m certain that many of you are simply blissfully ignorant of these important points, and that surely you cannot all be the dickheads you appear to be, so I’d like to help get you up to speed. First, a bit more respect for our city’s cyclists is called for on your part, and I feel compelled to inform you that these people hold a special place in our city’s heart. The margins you see clearly marked on the sides of our streets are, in fact, bicycle lanes - that is, sections of the street reserved solely for those riding bicycles. Please do not drive in them unless, of course, you’re on a bicycle. Please also refrain from following too closely behind a bike, as this is considered at best very rude, and at worst very dangerous. Lastly, I understand that there are many throughout the country that were saddened and disappointed by the Lance Armstrong scandal, and we as Austinites share your frustration. The man on the bicycle in front of your SUV however, is not in fact Lance Armstrong, and we’d all appreciate it if you would vent your frustrations in a more appropriate fashion and show a tad more restraint than you currently exhibit as you cutoff, tailgate, and near-murder all of our beloved cyclists. 

Another matter that needs addressing involves commuting around Austin, and I am confused and embarrassed that no one has yet mentioned to you that Lamar Boulevard is reserved strictly for residents. This issue is of such importance that it bears repeating: Lamar is for locals, and you are not allowed to drive on it. We will happily give you Mopac and I35, hell you can even take them both home with you, but Lamar is for us. There are several practical reasons for this. First, Lamar is divided into North and South, and as locals we understand this distinction. For visitors, however, this may prove confusing, and here again I reference your ill-timed and poorly executed u-turns. It really is better for all of us if you just take one of the highways. Second, the speed limit on most of Lamar is forty fucking miles per hour, and though there are numerous signs conveying this information, it still doesn’t seem to register as it should. This behavior isn’t limited to out-of-towners, so the fault is not entirely yours, but suffice to say we have enough trouble with this already, and any too-slow or too-fast driving you bring to the table, which is compounded nine times out of ten by the fact that you’re lost and need to call me right away, is too much of a safety hazard, and it’s best if you just leave Lamar to us and use the damn highways. 

Finally, I’d like to offer you all some excellent tips on accommodations while you’re here, or even for the next time you visit Austin. They are all in Fredericksburg and Georgetown. But wait, you may be saying, that’s too far away! To this I would say that if you are so intent on being numerous and pestilent, which you clearly are, you are bound to congest our roadways to the point of calamity, and any traveling you do is going to cost you, as well as us, several hours of time. I say, why not spend those hours pleasantly driving through our beautiful Hill Country, and avoid the city limits of Austin altogether. Some of you may worry that you’d miss out on some of the Austin-y things you’ve heard so much about, but I can put those fears to rest with ease. First, the bats have all gone to Mexico for the winter, and they won’t return until long after you’re gone. Second, the Capitol building looks exactly as it does in pictures, and I’m happy to mail you a postcard of it so you can see it when you get home. Also, doing it that way means you may be spared the possible sighting of a Rick Perry, a misfortune I’m eager to prevent, if I can, for everyone alive everywhere. Third, Kerbey Lane, Magnolia Cafe and Threadgill’s are all overrated and you’ll never get a table anyway. And lastly, Sixth Street is nothing to get worked up about, and I suggest you spare yourselves and the poor pedicab drivers that are hauling you and your champagne-swilling entourage around, and do your slumming somewhere else. I hear New Orleans is nice this time of year. If you take your private jet you can be there in less than two hours. 

In closing, I would like to address the one fact tossed around by many locals as evidence that your presence here is beneficial, and that is the revenue you bring. While we are not ungrateful for this financial gain, I must say that I myself have seen no shred of this revenue, and I have deep-seated fears that though you’re eating and drinking and clogging the streets here, there’s a very real possibility that you’re not tipping your bartenders and cabbies near what they deserve for putting up with you. To alleviate these fears, I propose that all F1 tourists send the residents of Austin a $50 visa gift card each, to be spent as they see fit. You could then choose to drink your Mexican martinis and buy your souvenirs elsewhere. The gift cards can be purchased at any of your run-of-the-mill department stores, such as the Walmart in Killeen, or the Target in Waco. This simple solution would solve many of the problems that crop up when you descend on us like locusts, as well as increase the goodwill of Austinites everywhere, which will smooth over your inevitable return next year. 

Again, I extend our warmest welcomes and call out to you a friendly ‘Howdy,' which is in no way meant to mock you as you appear delighted because you think that people here really say fucking Howdy.

Until next year, 

Deva Haney

ps - I wasn’t kidding about you taking I35 home with you. We’d be so happy to present you with this fine memento that I will personally gift wrap it and will even include a handwritten and heartfelt thank you note from local writer and celebrity Spike Gillespie, though I would suggest that, if you do return next year, you bring 35 back with you so that you can stay the fuck off Lamar next time. 

New Chapbook Now Available!

My second book of poetry, Into The Ropes, is now available for mass consumption! Consisting of 27 poems and a cover designed by the fabulous Ruthie Kee, you can purchase said poetry from yours truly, or from the fine people at either Book People or Malvern Books. You'll be trading $8 for something worth much more - words! Come and get 'em!