We land around 11:15 pm, Texas time, and our cab driver is an older chap of West African descent. Before we see any fun, we have to infiltrate the heart of the mess—7th and Red River—in order to get a key to a half-empty apartment that's pretty far uptown (the owner is moving out and gracious enough to let us stay there). While idling illegally across the street from Red 7 as my compatriot runs out to get the key, the cab driver, who despite being rather charming and jovial, is not a very good listener, complains that the police “don’t play around down here.” He worries about getting a ticket. The friend gets back with the key and we have to inch through throngs of people to get back to open road. Drunkards—mostly young, Caucasian, slovenly men—curse at our cabbie even though he’s inching along with what seems like the utmost care. Just out of the thick, we pass by three scrawny young women, and he leans out the window. “If you hit me, I will marry you,” he says with a grin and dense accent. “Fuck you, nigger!” one yells back. Welcome to South by Southwest.