Coffeeshops in Austin
This is massively overstated, but given that my old roommate and I would leave our Cherrywood house every morning with me going left to Thunderbird and him going right to Cherrywood Coffeeshop, it certainly contains an element of truth. (To say nothing of the Jo’s or Bouldin Creek crowds.)
This is the thing I missed most [about Austin, Texas] when I lived in New York and was writing this book, honestly: this sense that the borders between different social worlds are utterly porous, and that there’s no vertical hierarchy to society whatsoever: only a horizontal one. Who you hang out with doesn’t depend on how much you make, where you were last published, or what borough you live in: it depends solely on what coffee shop you hang out at. This is a completely value-neutral decision and it determines everything about you.
I hope I got this quality right in the book, but it’s that same horizontal organization to Austin that makes it hard to write a “book about Austin,” which in some ways was the goal here. There are as many Austins as there are coffee shops. This is meant both as praise and damnation.