I’m feeling a little maudlin today.
I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but I miss the hell out of Austin. We’ve been gone for three years now and it feels like an eternity.
Our move to Michigan could not have been more ill-advised. I’d been out of work for months and we were getting kind of desperate but I still shouldn’t have done it. The company I went to work for was well-respected and making interesting games and I still shouldn’t have done it. I should have held out.
Because there really is more to life than money.
I didn’t realize how good I had it in Austin until I left. Michigan is a cultural WASTELAND. Dragon’s Lair? Nothing like that in the entire state of Michigan. Alamo Drafthouse? Nothing like that in the entire state of Michigan. All those quirky little shops on South Congress? Nothing like them in the entire state of Michigan. Half-Price Books, dozens of quirky different restaurants, the Broken Spoke, Einstein’s Arcade, the beautiful UT campus, Barton Springs…not only does nothing like these things exist in Michigan they sure as hell don’t all exist in the same city. Austin has so much awesome crammed into it that I’m surprised it hasn’t spontaneously combusted.
Hell, Michigan only has one game development house and I’d already been fired from it so after the first year I didn’t even have that.
And you may say, “Well, Austin has a lot of that stuff because it’s a college town.” Nuh-uh. I went to Ann Arbor several times for job interviews; it was just as sterile as the rest of the state.
And let’s not even go into Detroit. I sure as hell wish I never had. On the day we moved in someone broke into our house and stole both our TVs, my Xbox and my PS3. Welcome to the fucking neighborhood, suckers!
But now I’m in Boca Raton; that’s better, right? Well, yes. I’m employed. There aren’t any more gunshots outside. I don’t fear for my family’s life. I don’t feel like our house could be broken into any time. But…
Boca Raton’s a retirement town. It’s beautiful and the weather is temperate but it’s almost specifically designed to not be overstimulating. So all that stuff I mentioned earlier? Boca doesn’t have anything like it either.
So I’m seriously homesick. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve taken to using Google Maps to zoom around Austin and look at all the places I’m missing.
And then I realized…
This must be what it’s like to be dead.
You yearn. And you can look down from above and see, kind of. You can hear what certain people are saying and doing, to a limited extent – especially the people you really care about.
But you can’t participate. And as hard as you might try to pretend, you aren’t really there.
So to all of my friends who are – enjoy it. Please. For me.