Here in Austin, we tend to resist generalizations. We bristle at the idea of being painted with a broad brush. But while many an Austinite will tell you that labels are for cans, a map needs labels, too. Knowing our city means getting to know our neighbors and ourselves. Below is a completely incomplete field guide to some of the folks you’re bound to meet if you stick around long enough.
Like the conquistadores of old, these adventurers arrive and stake their claims. They drive rents up and drive locals out. They talk with glassy-eyed nostalgia about their faraway hometowns, over PBRs at the newest cookie-cutter hipster bar. Wait. Didn’t this place used to be a family-owned taquería?
If you come across the Self-Promoter, they’ll let you know. This Austinite can often be found working as a DJ, a freelance mixologist, a real estate agent, a victim of a pyramid scheme or an indie band member. Whatever they do, the bulk of their work is advertising their services. Rarely seen without a business card or a stack of flyers, the Self-Promoter means well. But if they have a gig coming up, you’re going to hear about it for weeks.
These good ol’ boys can often be found at parties near the campuses of our local institutions of higher education, but they rarely study. The typical Dudebro is often identifiable by his khaki shorts and Polo shirt, but you may smell his body-spray before you see him.
Entrepreneurial, sociable and full of buzzword-y maxims, these Austinites are eager for engagement. The favored modes of communication for the Startup are elevator pitches, webinars and PowerPoints on company culture. Happy Hour is mandatory for this agreeable sort, as is joining the office kickball team. But only after they meet their sales quotas or whatever.
The Former Hippie
The Hippie’s contributions to Austin’s enduring pop cultural identity can’t be overstated. The Former Hippie might still compost their leftovers and shop at Wheatsville, but they probably had to sell-out just a little to pay their mortgage.
The unsung hero of the Silicon Hills, this Austinite can be identified by a stifled sigh when asked by friends for free tech support.
Their teenager’s car might be worth more than the Governor’s Mansion. You’d better not dent it either, because they’ve definitely got a couple of lawyers on retainer.
The Concierge always knows which band is playing where and can definitely get you tickets, because they always “know a guy.” They know where to find the best queso in town and can give you flawless driving directions to any place in Central Texas. Make friends with them, and you’ll always be in the know. But they can often out-party you, so be cautious.
Perhaps the Native’s rarity may have been exaggerated. Still, they wear that status like a badge of honor. If complaining and reminiscing were Olympic sports, the Native would have a lock on gold every four years. But woe to the outsider who badmouths Austin in front of the Native. It’s only okay when we do it!
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