South First Street started making its big impression on me about seven years ago, when the art scene on the street was just getting started. I helped a friend bring in a couple of sculptures she had made to a gallery that was having an open call for submissions for a women-only show. We had called in advance, and the guy we talked to said to come right down and show him her stuff.
So that's what we did, but when we got to the gallery, the guy who was there, and who seemed to be the same fellah we talked to on the phone, had sort of slipped away. Slipped away into some other sort of consciousness, is what I'm trying to say. He was standing there, but when we talked to him, he would kind of look away from us and stare into space. And we were right there, just feet away from him.
We finally got his attention and he looked at the sculptures, and then touched them rather lovingly for a minute or two. Then, not saying a word, he turned on his heel and left the room -- and didn’t come back. We waited about 15 minutes, then packed up the sculptures and went home.
Pretty soon after that, South First became the street that took me to work. Of the eight years I’ve lived in Austin, at least five of them have been spent working downtown and driving back and forth to work on South First.
About two months ago, the long-term construction project on South Congress Avenue between my house and Oltorf Road was completed. It opened up the road to four lanes of traffic, making it quite a bit easier for me to get to work via South Congress. At the same time, other street closures downtown made it significantly more difficult to take South First Street my office.
So, it shouldn't be any trouble for me to switch my route from South First to South Congress. The streets are parallel, just a couple of blocks apart, and I live smack dab between them. No big deal, right?
You'd think so ...
© 2000 E.V. Hobbs