There should be no mistaking that I was not San Antonio’s biggest fan. Besides being able to smoke in bars, the city had not much for a friendless Southern Californian to enjoy. Experiencing the closest to a quarter life crisis as anyone gets, I quit my job, told my landlord I was leaving and began packing my bags for the capital city of Texas: Austin
San Antonio wasn’t all beans and no pork, though. It had some good things about it. It looks good in a rear view mirror.
Now, many months ago somebody rear-ended me on my way to SXSW. I was in a hurry so when I surveyed the damage, it just looked like minimal aesthetic scarring. I never wash my car so a few scratches didn’t bother me. The overgrown hipster (he was definitely mid-30s still pretending to not have a job but he definitely had one, and probably a much better job than me) was very apologetic and I just went, “Nah, dude. Don’t worry about it. It looks fine.”
Here’s a life lesson I learned the hard way: Always get insurance information.
The next day when I opened my trunk I realized I couldn’t get it closed again. This was a problem because the leprechauns I was smuggling into Austin for SXSW were quickly figuring out how to untie their ropes. It took me half an hour to MacGyver a way to keep the thing shut. The overgrown hipster, who definitely had car insurance and probably could have spotted me the $50 bucks my untrained eye estimated fixing a trunk would cost, got away with it.
Fast forward to present day when I’m moving and the leprechaun trade has dried up. I need my trunk again.
I don’t want to drive an hour to and from San Antonio to shuttle my books and socks to my new apartment.
So I roll into the body shop and try to get a quote.
I tell the lady, “I really don’t want to open my trunk unless you can guarantee you can fix it today.”
“Oh, boy,” she says, “You say someone rear ended you? Yeah, don’t open your trunk.”
My heart sank to my bowels and I let out the quietest fart of desperation.
“How long would it take?”
“At least 24 hours, maybe more.”
“How much would it cost?”
“Well, depending on your deductible your insurance should cover it. It usually runs $500-700 to fix.”
I don’t like cursing at people who are just doing their jobs and I’ve been to this place before. They’re honest and they fix easy things to fix for free. They’ve taken a few looks at me before and fixed a lot of stuff for me for free so I knew she wasn’t pulling a fast one on me. I assure you, dear skimmer, I cussed the whole entire world out in my mind.
I ended up driving back and forth from San Antonio to Austin about eight times before all of my shit was moved and I shed a whole bunch more. Ebay netted me a nice chunk of change. I gave my beloved papasan to my pregnant neighbor who loved it, because pregnant people apparently like to be lazy in the last month of their pregnancy. I was their weird neighbor who listened to loud music and smoked cigarettes, but they were the only people who acknowledged my existence and seemed to appreciate it. I’ll miss them.
Now I’m in Austin. Had 10 days of glorious unemployment and bearded-ness. It’s been my fourth move in 2 years, but I’m not good at math so don’t take my word for it.
Andrew Hilbert is a recently displaced Southern Californian living in San Antonio, TX. He will be sharing the adventures he encounters in his new habitat via his column Real Gone (to be published monthly on the second Monday of each month here on intraffik.com) He still wears his Dodgers hat and argues passionately against Spurs fans. He is one of three founders of art/poetry magazine Beggars & Cheeseburgers. One day he will own a llama or three.
photo by Superstock.com
Special thanks to all the venues for allowing us to photograph these nights