For the past two weeks, courtesy of my employer, I have been residing Deep in the Heart of …you guessed it, Texas. It has been a fun adventure and I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal in the process.
Many people, myself included, may have the misconception that Texas is a place full of wranglers and cowpokes. There’s the belief that everyone has a Texas twang and that their conversations are peppered with “y’all” and “fixin’ to”. Some may have the perception that Texas is still the wild west and tumbleweeds blow through town. I had been to Texas previously, but my prior concept of the state has been radically changed. There’s no “dusty trail” to hit; Texas is positively cosmopolitan.
Now, granted, when I visited this state before, I was always in a small area of Houston and I didn’t stay for very long. In these two weeks, I’ve travelled through Dallas and Houston, Garland and Plano, with even a small stop in Ennis. Texas has green grass and tall trees (even if many of them died in the drought)–nonetheless, they are real tall trees; somewhat of an anomaly in downtown Phoenix. The topography of Texas is flat with some wide open spaces, but the big cities themselves are modern and clean.
I have learned that Texas has many freeways and while driving on one, you’d better get out of the way, pardner. The left lane is not designated for passing; it’s desiginated for speeding and tailgating. In addition, the majority of drivers in Texas apparently cannot operate the “blinker” or “lane change indicator”, even though I am pretty certain they are standard on all vehicles nowadays. Also, the standard of measure for a “car length” in Texas is equivalent to how far the driver behind you can get to your bumper without actually touching! When I looked in my rearview mirror and it read that objects are closer than they appear, I realized there was no way the massive truck right on my tail could be any closer than it appeared. However, to the truck driver’s credit, everything really is bigger in Texas.
If you’re planning a trip to Texas, come hungry. There are so many restaurants in the area that if you stand in any downtown intersection, you’re bound to hit one when you toss your ten gallon hat.
And the people…polite, friendly, and fiercely proud of their state. If the fifty states were high school students, Texas would win the “most school spirit” award. They love their Cowboys. They fly the state flag in their front yards. They paint their house numbers in state colors and logos. If you are looking for a sign that you’re in Texas, you don’t have to look very far. The people of this great state aren’t cocky; just confident that theirs is the best state in the union. Hey, you don’t mess with Texas.
While I have enjoyed my immersion in all things Texas, I miss my family. Work is work and I will do what I need to in order to support them, but it’s hard to be away. When I SKYPE my son, Daniel, and he starts to cry because he misses me, well, you couldn’t make me stay any longer for all the yellow roses in Texas. Texas may be beautiful and very liveable, but Dorothy Gale said it best:
“There’s no place like home.”