by Jim Gladstone
The biggest problem with Austin,” a friend once told me, “is that it’s surrounded by Texas.” Blame it on stereotypes, media bias, or ingrained ignorance, but in the past, when the Lone Star State was mentioned in conversation, images of gun-toting, homophobic Bush-wacky conservatives blew through my mind like tumbleweeds.
As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, the Cowboys were the love-to-hate ’em archrivals of my hometown Eagles. After college, a friend who lived in Brownsville was enticed by a plainclothes (and plainly exposed) cop, then arrested for cruising. More recently, Cruz-ing has emerged as an even scarier threat out of Texas.
But this past March, business obliged me to set my boots to the ground for two days in a Dallas suburb. I brought my partner John along for moral support with the promise that as soon as my work was done, we’d hightail it down Interstate 35 for three hours. Austin would be the light at the end of our Texas tunnel.