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  • It was that moment at South by Southwest when the tech geeks fade back into their screens and the hoards of music festival goers swamp all the venues. The rain had stopped and a very loud, repetitive mic check was happening just a few feet away from my hotel’s back patio. I was on deadline for a few different stories of tech trends coming out of the interactive festival and fidgeting with all my gadgets as a hip hop show prepared to get underway. A bittersweet time to leave Austin. No more hyperactive nerds obsessing over their own startups, just bands playing shows at all hours of the day and music writers clutching margaritas with their bracelet clad arms.

    My cab was thirty minutes late and I imagined getting stranded in the airport while others swayed in sweaty indie rock crowds. Once my cab finally pulled up, a very relaxed driver with shaggy brown hair and a baseball cap emerged. He gently put all of my things in the backseat and we were off. Austin folks are fond of small talk, but this guy took it to a whole new level. He pulled a miniature guitar out and asked me if I’d like to play it.

    Startled I looked up at him. (You know that moment when you realize that you’ve been engrossed in your phone like a zombie and someone is trying to communicate with you). I assured him that I definitely didn’t know how to play the guitar.

    He passed it towards the back seat anyway and asked if I’d like to learn at least. And so, as we cruised down the Bastrop Highway towards the Austin airport, I slowly learned where to place my small fingers to make a G chord, and with is encouragement, we moved on to a C chord, then D and then A. He gave me small tips on how to curl my knuckles or how to press my index finger down harder to really get a good strum. He was practically cheering me on from the front seat at each small progression I made.

    And as we pulled up to my gate, and I was absolutely thrilled that I could play four chords, I realized this taxi driver gave me the taste of SXSW rock and roll that I had been craving.
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