A California man moved to Texas, then moved back to California.
In between, Brett Alder battled the elements, labeled a Hill Country landmark “Disenchanted Rock,” pulled his children out of school and met Matthew McConaughey.
Alder recounted his Lone Star State experience, which the sales executive called an “expensive mistake,” in a colorful opinion piece for Business Insider.
Like many members of the recent California exodus, Alder chose to move to Austin because of the perception that the capitol city offers a similar lifestyle. His family left a 2,000 square-foot house in San Diego for a Bee Cave home with a pool and twice the square footage.
He noticed plenty of differences between the two locales, from weather to culture, but first emphasized one similarity.
“The thing that California and Austin definitely have in common is that they’re both very expensive,” Alder wrote. “Austin is not cheap. Let the words sink in. Austin is not cheap, it’s actually quite expensive.”
Texas might not have any state income taxes, but it has plenty of other costs.
Alder pointed to the high price of energy, water, and services like pool maintenance and landscaping. He also wrote fellow transplants should budget for summer getaways, because “most anyone who can leaves Austin for a month or two” to escape the heat.
The “oppressive” heat — and the wintry cold, humidity and allergens — were major sticking points for the new Texan. So was the perceived lack of public space.
Alder apparently didn’t find the Barton Springs Pool or Zilker Park sufficient. His family tried visiting Enchanted Rock, but encountered a long line and packed parking lot. They christened the site “Disenchanted Rock.”
The lifestyle and surroundings weren’t the only parts of Texas he took issue with. Alder found the locals to be rude, lacking in integrity and terrible drivers. Not even bumping into McConaughey at a flag football game could change his mind.
Alder wrote that Texas was a “conservative dystopia” and a “monoculture that doesn’t seem to be aware of it’s own blandness.” He eventually pulled his three kids out of the local elementary school because it was run like a “micro-managed military academy.”
“Are you ready to have your son judged based on his suitability for a future career in football?” Alder asked. “Are you ready to network by attending the local high school football game with the guys? Because that’s a thing in Texas.”
Some of Alder’s concerns, like the potent cedar allergies, made sense. Others — “the car washes were lame” — were rather baffling. The sales executive finally had enough and moved back to the coast. He now works in the Bay Area in the semiconductor industry.
The moral of the story, Alder wrote, was that it’d take a lot of money to buy a “California-like” lifestyle in Austin. “It was an expensive mistake, but my [ … ]