Austin, Hipstercrite Life

Eastside 4 Life

On my column over at Culture Map today…

Life on the East Side: Becoming a Realist and Learning to Love Where You Live

12.02.11 | 04:45 pm

The other night my boyfriend and I heard a loud boom outside of our house. Within minutes the crash was followed by sirens, one after another. Cops and fire trucks sped by and then stopped at the corner; we peeked out the window but couldn’t tell what was going on.

Concerned, we bundled up and headed outside to investigate. We stood on the corner staring into a sea of red and blue lights, trying to see what the commotion was. Finally, we asked a nearby cop, who informed us that a car had flipped over. We walked back into the house, wondering how the heck someone could flip their car in a 30 mile per hour neighborhood zone.

Fifteen minutes went by and we still heard the cops outside, working away; my curiosity got the best of me, so I went back out to inquire further. (We were told that the driver was ok and driven to the hospital, so I felt more comfortable getting a closer look.) There, where the creek meets the road, was a car: upside down, it’s front windshield smashed on the concrete, it’s nose dangling over the edge of the road and into the creek.

The car was anchored to a firetruck and police officers hurried to take the battery out, cleaning dripping oil from the water. Our neighbor, whose house is fifteen feet away, said the theory was that the driver was driving down the creek bed—at 45-50 miles per hour—and hit the concrete barrier where the creek meets the road, flipping 10 feet up into the air and landing upside down.

Another neighbor (who goes by the name MacGyver and lives in the nearby BBQ pit) told us he thought the car dropped from the sky. The next day, when we could see better, we concluded that neither theory seemed probable.

I went to bed slightly uneasy, but comfortable with the fact that the driver survived. Little did I know that he had, in fact, died.

Today, I walked by the site. A head rest from the vehicle stills sits 30 feet into the creek, spray-painted orange by the police officers, this day-glo object sitting alone in the grass—a constant reminder of this horrible accident. Nobody has come to claim it or clean it up. Same with the driver’s CDs, which are sitting in a tiny puddle.

Why am I telling you this sad story? I don’t know. Maybe because it happened—it happened outside my house. This terrible thing happened and the next day, if you didn’t know any better, you would drive right over the spot without an inkling of what transpired. It made me think about all the stories—good and bad—that have happened all over my neighborhood. Every hour, every day, for years.

The neighborhood I live in is East Austin…


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1 Comment

  • Reply cj Schlottman December 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Lauren, I understand your uneasiness. No one wants their neighborhood to be a place where “things” happen. As usual, your very readable and smooth styles makes it easy to read and very real..


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