South By Southwest (SXSW) is a giant interactive, music, and film festival that takes place in Austin each year. It literally TAKES OVER the city. An extra 250,000 people flood the streets filling up every hotel, restaurant, and bar within the city limits. My first experience of this, despite only living her for a month, made me begin to feel like a bitter local. “What are all these people doing in my city,“ I thought to myself. The bus routes were screwed up due to streets being blocked off, not to mention the over-crowdedness of tourists who filled the buses and caused them all to run late because they can’t figure out the simple system of purchasing a bus pass.
If you ever take a stroll through the city during SXSW you will notice one common theme: lines. Oh my God the lines! Lines to get into bars, lines to see movies, lines to see bands, even lines to use the freaking bathroom. If you happen to be blessed with wealth then you are foreign to these “lines” that I am speaking of because you probably purchased one of those premium ultra deluxe badges that will let you be the first person in the door at any event. But of course you must be willing to dish out a few thousand dollars for this said badge. However, if you don’t have a special badge but still have money to dish out then that’s where people like me come into play.
I awoke to a text message from my friend Erica asking me if I wanted to stand in line for someone for four hours for $100. This was an obvious yes. Erica has become a good friend of mine in the short amount of time I lived here. I was originally introduced to her through my friend Danny because she needed help creating a website. Erica is a doctor who wants to start the movement of prescribing nutrition to fix health issues rather than using pills. It was very inspiring getting to know her because she cares deeply about her patients and wants to see them get healthy by eating the right food and cleansing their bodies rather than loading them up with pills to hide their illness. I am actually in the process of building her website which we hope to complete by next week, ShinyHealthyPeople.com.
I gave her a call and she explained to me that a gentleman she knew, Walter, is a set designer for a film company in Hollywood had a film that was premiering at midnight and he didn’t have enough tickets for the rest of his family to get in so he was willing to pay $100 for someone to hold a place in line for him so he could buy extra tickets. She gave me his number and I called him next to confirm where and when I would be doing this.
Walter asked me to get to the box office by 7:30 p.m. to make sure I would be the first person in line to get the tickets for the movie “Home” and then he asked if I had a friend that would be willing to join me who he would also pay $100 to stand in line. I said yes already knowing that Jet would be up for this offer. I was amazed by how much this guy was willing to spend just to see a movie.
Erica and her nieces, Alyssa and Sarah, picked us up a little early so we had some time to hangout downtown before we had to stand in line for hours. As soon as I met Alyssa I knew we would get a long very well solely based on the fact that she kind of resembled Taylor Swift. And anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE Taylor Swift which is why #19 on my Life Goals list is to marry her.
We all relaxed with some coffee and tea as we got to know each other and then it was off to “work” for Jet and I. When we arrived at the box office we informed the employees at the booth that we wanted to start the line for the movie “Home.” The guy looked confused as if I was speaking a different language or something. “Uh, that movie doesn’t start til midnight,” he eventually said.
We informed him that it was very important that we were the first people in line and didn’t care how long we would be waiting.
“Um. Okay.” He still didn’t understand why we were so desperate to see this movie. “Well the line we have formed now is for a different movie premiere starting at 9:30 so how about you come back then once that line clears out but even then you will be very early for the midnight movie.”
We thanked him and went on our way. This meant we had another two hours on our hands to go exploring around SXSW. We took a walk down 6th street which is the main party street in Austin. It is loaded with bars and was completely blocked off leaving a sea of drunk people to stumble from bar to bar with no worries of traffic. It kind of reminded me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
We wandered around for a bit and were fairly limited to the places we could go since Alyssa and Sarah are only 19 and 15. However, we managed to find a pizza place that Erica claimed to have some of the best pizza in Austin. Now anyone that knows me knows just how passionate I am about pizza. I love pizza so much I could probably eat it everyday for the rest of my life. In fact, in college I would eat pizza five to seven times a week.
The place we decided to go to, recommended by Erica, is called Hoeks Pizza and is now my favorite pizza restaurant in Austin…so far. My goal is to try every single pizza place in the city.
When I stepped up to the counter I noticed they had the biggest slice of pizza I had ever seen in my life. It was a mega slice the size of my arm. For only 8 bucks I viewed this as a deal especially during SXSW when the price of everything seems to skyrocket in the city.
Walking through the crowded 6th Street I received looks from just about every passerby in awe at my giant slice of pizza. I was so hungry I tore through it within minutes but once I hit the crust I hit a wall. My stomach was so stuffed but the pizza was so good I didn’t want to stop eating. I wolfed down a few more bites before I reluctantly threw it away.
Before too long Jet and I had to report to “work” and experience the hard labor of standing in line. We were the first ones in line, as expected, and had about two and a half hours to kill before Walter showed up.
Before the world of smart phones this could have been a very boring wait. But, thanks to modern technology and Netflix the time just seemed to fly by. Jet and I took a seat on the sidewalk leaning up against the building with Jet’s iPhone resting between us streaming one of our favorite TV shows off Netflix, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
The next thing we knew Walter was towering over us with a few of his friends or family trailing behind him. “Okay, gentlemen, I’m here to relieve you.”
He then reached into his pocket, retrieved his wallet, and pulled out a stack of 20s. He then handed Jet and I $100 each.
Jet and I walked away in excitement. We couldn’t believe that we just got paid so much money to just sit on the side walk for a few hours. This was, by far, the easiest gig of my life.