It was there at dusk that we found the “Bat Girl of Austin” waving her arms in the air and gleefully beckoning her legion of bats into the air to scour the surrounding Texas Hills for thousands of pounds of insects.
A popular slogan among Austinites is “Keep Austin Weird”. Bat Girl was certainly doing her part. When I asked her questions about the bats she responded with answers that were far more detailed and intimate than I could have imagined. This woman spoke passionately about her bats like a mother speaking about her children.
Once all the bats had taken to the night sky she started walking across the Congress Bridge heading for downtown. I asked Bat Girl where she was going next. She said she was off to feed on some sweet nectar.
She invited me and the Mayor, who had just moved from Arizona to Austin, to join her. As we strolled past bars and restaurants people called out to her like she was a super hero. We ended up in a bar where she ordered a fruity drink that she sucked down through two straws.
Bat Girl has a flighty cute demeanor. Everyone in Austin seems to love her. She laughs and squeals with abandon and shoots pool like a super hero. No one could tell me anything about her beyond that she could be found at the Congress Bridge and the clubs at night. The doormen at the clubs waved her in without question or ID. She was and is, after all, a super hero – “the Bat Girl of Austin”.
The next day she let us follow her around with a camera. But she wouldn’t tell us where she lived or how she lived. She simply fluttered about town and was simply “the Bat Girl” to everyone. Bat Girl will always be “Bat Girl” to me too. “Keep Austin Weird” indeed!
To learn more about the great oasis of Austin Texas and its annual South by Southwest Music/Film Festival, visit the Road Trip Begins.
Next Stop – The Road to Peyote in the South Western Desert