Alamo City reality check

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Yep, I still love San Antonio.  Nope, this isn’t going to be a bash-fest, so if you’re a San Antonio hater, you might as well give up now, because I’m not going to allow you any satisfaction.

It is, however, a caution to all of those out there who fit in to certain groups: 1) single people looking to find a mate; 2) single people looking to have fun with other singles; 3) young people; 4) hip people; 5) those still in the workforce who 5A) can’t work from home 5B) would like a decent-paying white-collar job 5C) are looking to build a business that does not cater to seniors, military, or Spanish-speakers…

I love San Antonio.  (Did I say that already?)  I love how everything is in a few-mile radius.  I haven’t even been to the Southside in 2 years.  I don’t venture more than 3 miles more than once a week, and then it’s maybe 5-6 miles, most of which can be traversed via sidestreets.  We have bike lanes, fuel-efficient buses that run on realistic routes, integrated neighborhoods, a Green Chamber of Commerce, a Whole Foods Market, organic produce at (some of) the local HEBs, and more people have heard of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) than I care to imagine.  We even have a bookstore that doubles as a no-kill cat sanctuary.  And our animal control shelter is working its way toward no-kill status as well.

That said, it can be really tough.  If you’re not retired, Spanish-speaking, or military, you may struggle economically.  The economy is not large here by a long shot, and people are careful about parting with theirs.  This is probably why when the economic fit hit the shan 3 years ago (and hasn’t let up much since, no matter what they say), we weren’t too badly affected; our economy wasn’t that big to begin with!  It’s not like it could shrink much more.

If you’re into jazz, tejano, or bachata music, you’re good to go.  If you’re into Americana, folk, singer-songwriter, eclectic, or obscure, you’re SOL.  Although the pervasive ’80s influence is awesome.  And the classic rock stations don’t suck.

If you like mini-golf, real golf, amusement parks, eating out, movies, bowling, etc, you’re fine.  If you like water sports or Main Event-type places, fugetaboutit.  The yoga and Nia studios are second to none; the martial arts spread is less consistent.

If you’re gluten-free or otherwise under special dietary restrictions, never fear!  No matter who you are, there’s something out there for you.

Vegan/vegetarian?  No problem.

Gluten-free?  Gotcha covered.

Organic?  Done.

Made from scratch?  Plenty.

Paleo?

Still working on that one.

The Meetup groups are a mixed bag.  There more to choose from in terms of the nutrition and health/wellness themes, but none of them are the young 20s-40s hip go-getters you’d think.

It is, however, mostly retired people, many cancer survivors and whatnot.  Several Veg*n groups, who would crucify me in a cold second.  Everyone’s all over this Forks Over Knives thing.  Yawn.  T Colin Campbell’s disproof and downfall was sooo yesterday.  Again, no Paleo groups.  Yet.  Hopefully that’ll catch on before 5 years from now.

The News is marginally less stressful, but I’ve still permanently sworn off it.  Life is always better if you have Uverse or something similar.  I’d love to have a choice, though, such as AT&T’s Uverse (which we have) pitted against Verizon’s FIOS services (which we don’t have).

I like the integration and diversity you find within the neighborhoods, but I wish the neighborhoods weren’t quite SO integrated.

How integrated is too integrated?  Well, when we walk a quarter mile and see gang tags (vernacular for hoodlums marking their territory with spray paint) on mailboxes, and another quarter mile gets you hit up for some change from a panhandler who reeks to the bone of cigarette smoke.

Yay.

It’s not a dangerous neighborhood, but rundown doesn’t even cut it.  It’s crumbly, cracked, trashy, and hopeless.  The air has a permanent smell of stale motel hallways and cheap detergent.  Tinged with more smoke.  And maybe the oil from someone’s car.  Although that’s not as common as you’d think because they all know how to fix cars.  At least the neighborhood is good for something.  If you can get past all the subwoofers.

There are no Mormon proselytizers to speak of, really.  I think we got approached twice.  Once we sent them to the neighbor downstairs (who has since been evicted…she needed to find God the most desperately of all of us, I think) and the other time they cornered us on the deck and we shot the shit for a while.  They gave up after a while, though.  I told them I was Wiccan and then later I let it slide that I was happy going to hell.  I probably didn’t put it that way, but it probably would’ve been funnier if I did.  I didn’t want to seem disrespectful, though.

There isn’t a huge Scientology presence, either.  I mean, there are 3 different meeting places, but it’s not big here like it was in Dallas and Austin.

The malls are great.  They’re quirky, all of them, but they’re fine.  Anything you need, you can find.

Subluxation-based chiropractic doctors don’t do so well here.  Good.  Oh, and not everyone’s a Parker grad.  And there aren’t 5 individual DCs on every block.  There’s at least one in every complex, though; we just have fewer complexes.

For those of us who practice normally and ethically, though, the sentiment is generally pro-chiropractic.  Makes our job much easier.  Insurance sucks, though – everyone around here has BCBS (better up until last month), or UHC (sucks no matter what).

Most apartments are managed very horribly.  Parking problems, criminals, noise, gangs, vehicle thefts, break-ins, delayed repairs, security deposit scams, you name it.  Even in areas that should be good, the apartments are still shit.  Few and far between, if you look hard enough and have a little luck on your side, you can find a diamond in the rough.  Don’t get taken; looks can be deceiving – ask around.

We get out and do more things and walk around way more often than we ever have, even in Frisco.  We don’t feel like prisoners in our own house on weekends like we did in Dallas, kept inside by traffic and ‘tude.

People are generally nice, courteous, and polite here. They use turn signals, and they let you in when you put yours on.  The tradeoff: they drive slower.  Don’t tailgate or they’ll go even slower.  Don’t be a dick, and put your road rage hat away.  No room for it here.  You’ll only stick out like an ass.

Lots of wildflowers.  How do we know this?  Because there’s LOTS of un-mowed grass – in yards, parks, large easements, empty lots, you name it.  There are no pristine Lego-pad lawns of perfectly manicured uniform carpets of grass.  Not happening.  Things grow natural and wild here, and everyone’s OK with that.  Enjoy the bluebonnets!

Not every apartment has recycling.  You’ll have to throw everything in the trash.  You’ll have to get over that socially-ingrained “I’m going to hell” feeling.

You won’t get much of a chance to listen to talk radio unless you do so in your office, because you don’t have a long commute stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic anymore.  Ditto goes for a traffic report, because if you’re not retarded, you won’t need one.

Bars are there, even strip clubs, but they’re not totally obvious.  They’re all kind of hidden away.  They’re right out your back door, even just a few miles away from the best neighborhoods, but they have the decency not to obnoxiously announce to the world that they’re there.

Roads are getting done at different paces.  Some are smoothly redone; the potholes of others dare to tear your truck apart.

I’m tickled pink we don’t have much sports to speak of.  We don’t need them.  They attract the wrong people.  Although maybe they’d boost the economy a little.  That’s still sagging.

Overall, though, it’s an awesome town.  I hope I die here.

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