Taillights stretch long past the line of sight, blurring like the colors of a twirling kaleidoscope. Traffic is to be expected along the highways and byways of Central Austin, but this is far worse if one is not prepared. This is typical traffic plus all of the travellers converging for the latest international event, adding their own colors to the mix. Seasons in Austin, Texas aren’t marked by weather, as in most places. Instead, they are marked by whatever festival or international event the city is hosting. Spring means South by SouthWest while fall means Austin City Limits and Formula ONE.
I stand planted behind the bar, untouched by the swirl of colors flooding the town, liberally doling out the caffeine of choice to each customer. Even so, I don’t have to miss a thing because Austin comes to me like a rainbow pouring through my door. And Austin does not disappoint. To outsiders, “Keep Austin Weird” might seem like just another marketing scheme for a t-shirt, but for locals it truly is a way of life.
Each day I’m met with a kaleidoscope of culture. Your typical college student in a blue tee shirt and blue gym shorts holds the door open for the CEO, rushing in, red faced, late for his next appointment. The local musician watches from her regular seat and her purple dreads brush the arm of her best friend and drummer as she leans in to chat. At the counter, the student and CEO lineup behind a French woman, with an orange skirt twirling around her ankles, who is meeting with her language student. They find a seat at a table next to a group of friends who have gone green, chosen the life of nomads and are travelling the US. Each person unique yet in this tiny coffee shop the disparity between becomes striking. Austinites are always true to their heart and apparently coffee is their life-blood.
As Austin walks through my door, I’m amazed at the passion I encounter. I may be a barista today, but the world is at my fingertips. Each person comes to me with stars in their eyes and fire in their heart. They inspire me. They believe, they know they are changing the world. As the top growing city in the US for several years running, is it any wonder people can do anything here? It’s the political seat for the largest state in the continental union. This city hosts one of the largest college campuses in the US. The IT industry has chosen this place as a hub of commerce. Artists swarm here to see if it really is the “Live Music Capital of the World.” You can even find church planters and the Christian world expanding, a surprise because unlike its northern counterpart, Dallas, Austin finds itself outside of the Bible belt.
I can do anything because Austin comes to me with opportunities outstretched. They are mine for the taking; today a barista, tomorrow a world changer. It’s a small feat in a land where the streets are paved with inspiration, the yellow brick road to any dream you dare to dream. To wait in the traffic of these overflowing streets is to wait alongside fellow dreamers. In Austin, passion overflows and colors combine to create a city that truly inspires; a city that lives without regrets.
About the author: Chelsie Griffith considers herself a part time gypsy and a full time adventurer. Whether that adventure includes exploring new relationships or pulling out her passport, being a barista at Summermoon Coffee Bar provides the flexibility she needs to continue growing, learning and creating.
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