When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
When in Texas…drive suburbans, listen to 80’s country and eat as many tortillas as you can shove down your pie hole in thirty seconds flat!
I am still trying to wrap my head around my most recent visit to the Lone Star state. It’s not a completely foreign country to me. Actually, I grew up there. I can still remember the day in my Geography 101 class, freshman year of college when the professor asked “what is the biggest state in the United States?” I quickly raised my hand, he quickly called on me and I proudly declared “Texas!” He then said “You must be from Texas.” I said “yes, how did you know?” He said “because the biggest state in the USA is Alaska.” Mer, mer…
But even though I grew up being Texocentric (that is a made up word that means the world revolves around Texas – Texans make up words because they are Texocentric) I don’t remember it being so…so…so Texan. Yes, I remember pressing my middle and ring fingers down with my thumb to form a “Hook ‘Em” and I remember not wanting to litter because you “don’t mess with Texas” but it seems as though some things may have slipped my mind.
Like how people meet for Tah-Koe’s on Tooz-dee (Taco Tuesday anyone?) or how the girl at a certain big orange hardware store literally held her jaw open when all five feet eleven inches of me asked her a question about orchids. She said “Eye know yew jist mist ’em” and then her eyes traveled up and down my whole body – twice…don’t remember ever having that kind of response from anyone…ever. Awkward. I almost reached my hand to her chin and pushed her mouth closed, but instead I just gave her a creepy Nacho Libre smile and slowly backed away. Then there is the fact that despite a good ol’ college try, I couldn’t find any vegetables at my favorite BBQ joint. When I was growing up there were vegetables everywhere! Corn, beans, cole slaw, salsa, fried okra…but now that I wasn’t eight years old, there was nary a green vegetable in my midst! The crazy thing is, I didn’t miss the stuff. I was too full of tortillas and banana pudding (a fruit) to even notice.
Ok, ok…to be honest, I kinda liked driving around in my Dad’s big ol’ suburban. I couldn’t park the thing worth a darn, but who cares!? It’s Texas, if that thing sticks out two feet from a parking spot no one will notice because everyone else is parked the same way. And the 80’s country? Reminds me of my childhood. I know every single word to every single George Strait, Clint Black and Mr. Paper Suit himself, Randy Travis, song there is and I can still hear my mom try to hit the high notes (and miss them juuuuust a tad). I don’t know what a “Cotton Eyed Joe” is, but I do know that whoever he is, he musta stole someone’s girlfriend because the songwriter woulda been married a loooong time ago if it weren’t for that sonofagun – all that and a catchy tune to boot. And I should probably talk about tortillas. It might be a stretch, but I don’t think you have lived until you have sunk your bicuspids into a centimeter thick fresh, handmade tortilla. Tortillas, the other white meat. As for that jaw dropping moment at the hardware store, I’m almost 40 I’ll take all the gawking I can get these days. God bless that girl.
And after all, I was in Austin and that isn’t nearly as Texan as Dallas or Houston or Laredo or Lubbock. I mean Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Olympian Sonya Richards-Ross, SXSW, Austin City Limits, The State Capital, The University of Texas, Willie Nelson, Lance Armstrong, Whole Foods, The Dell Mothership and lots of other cool people and stuff call Austin home. Austinites pride themselves on being “weird” and in supporting local businesses. There are laws that limit the height of buildings so that none are taller than the capital building and there is a bridge downtown that has like a gajillion bats. There are academics, musicians, actors, athletes, thespians, politicians, businessmen and women, crunchy granola hippies, homeless people, lots of boots, lots of big trucks and most of all on a clear night in the middle of the summer there are big, bright stars.
Clap, clap, clap, clap.
Categories: All The Rest