The Wendy’s near my apartment got knocked down over the last couple of weeks and that makes me a bit sad. That Wendy’s has been in that spot since I was at least in high school. That Wendy’s was there when I honestly believed the restaurant had been reported for using worms in their meat. That Wendy’s was there when one of my roommates in college pointed out how silly that sounded. That Wendy’s was there during my friend’s break-up with one of the burger flippers when we had to be ushered out by the manager because his new girlfriend, the fry shift lead, was having some sort of emotional spasm. Needless to say that Wendy’s has been a reliable landmark for me for decades and I hate to see it go. They also knocked down the adjacent apartment complex, but I have no special feelings for that place. No one ever stood on their balconies and offered up a #1 combo with cheese, no onions and a Dr. Pepper for the drink, so that place had it coming in my eyes.

The sign posted around the new construction depicts a dazzling new loft with some dazzling new loft name like “Refreshing Breeze Over the Lake of Hedonistic Delights Lofts” and tells you how you can find out more to reserve your spot NOW! Hooray, another loft for well-to-do sybarites. I wouldn’t be bothered except I read in the paper that the block catty-corner to this spot is also going to be developed into a loft, but this one promises fancy shops and restaurants on its lower level. They’re going to be uprooting a store that claims to have been in that same spot for 40 years. What I’m gradually seeing is the spots in my neighborhood are losing their comfortable, cool, “Keep Austin Weird” feel in favor of more upscale developments. I miss that feel more and more as people move into Austin for that same feel but end up turning it into the “Starbucks on Every Block” place they came from. It seems the mentality is “we love Austin for its atmosphere, now if you wouldn’t mind we’d like to make a few changes.”

All of that aside, when was it exactly that we went from thinking “condo” was less cool than saying “loft”? I’m sure there’s some technical difference like the floor plan is more open, but still aren’t they basically the same? and if they are, wouldn’t that really just make them “over-priced apartments that can be owned”? Well, I’m sure the REAL difference is how much you’ll be charged. By saying “loft” I’m sure you’re paying a bit more than if you were saying “condo”. However, I would be willing to bet that I could get more “apartment” than I could one of these chichi “lofts”. The downside is I would have to say “apartment” while drinking malt liquor out of a bag as opposed to saying “loft” while sipping a lovely Gamay Beaujolais while mixing at the Oasis.
All things considered though, I’d rather be saying “Wendy’s”.

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