09 January 2012

Fraudulence and Fact: Texas

When moving to a new state, there's a generous helping of myths commonly held by other states.  We heard more than our share about what Iowans, Nebraskans, Utahans, Canadians, etc. think about the big state of Texas.  So far, here are some things we've discovered to be true or false living in the Lone Star state.

1.  Things really aren't bigger in Texas.  Their cattle are the same size as everywhere else.  Their fire hydrants appear to be normal (though the wrong color--they're supposed to be red).  Their (fill in the blank) is average.  The only things that are bigger were intentionally made larger so they could advertise they were "Texas Huge," like some jelly beans the size of my thumb I spotted while checking out from the craft store.

2.  There is an unusually high population of vultures, mostly turkey and black.  I don't know what they're eating because there's hardly any roadkill.  Mostly they just soar about and it seems they prefer to congregate at the zoo where they pester sleeping animals.  One kept tugging on the white rhino's skin while he tried to nap, probably checking if the rhinoceros was deceased so he could start eating.
                                  Source
This is how Texans get through traffic jams.
3.  Everybody drives a truck here.  Okay, not everybody but there sure are a lot of trucks around.  The farmers, the soccer moms, the businessmen, the geriatric grandmothers all seem to have gas guzzling monstrous trucks as the vehicle of choice.  Thank goodness Jack fits in now with his modest F-150.

4.  For some reason, there are multiple of high-end pawn shops in the area.  They're in respectable looking buildings with brand new neon signs and their are no bars on their windows or graffiti on the stucco exterior.  Some of them appear to be from the same chain.  Odd.

5.  Gas is not cheaper in Texas (WHAT?!).  I've held the misconception all my life that gasoline was dirt cheap in Texas because of all of the drilling they did.  Nope.  In fact, since they don't have any ethanol to mix in, it's actually more expensive than the states we just came from.  Also, from one gas station to the next, the price can vary over fifteen cents for the same petroleum, even if the stations are only a block apart.  The whole fuel dilemma is baffling.

6.  I don't know why sidewalks are such a novel idea but they are few and far between here.  They expect you to walk in the street or just not walk at all I guess.  Not exactly conducive if I want to go running with a stroller.  Then it becomes a game of chicken between me and the girls in their double stroller against the near-sighted elderly grandma gunning down the road in her enormous truck.  We usually stick to the neighborhoods.
7.  One thing that is gigantic are their curbs.  They're made with a large amount of rock in the concrete and they don't bother grinding down driveway entrances, so it feels like going on an African safari trying to navigate over the built in speed bump without scraping off the bottom of the car.  We theorize that it's for any flash flooding that might occur so that the roads become a sort of canal to direct the water to the limited number of drains.  Other than that, we have no idea why they like their curbs as high as mountain foothills.

8.  I have a hard time believing the locals when they say it really does get cold here.  They bundle up in 70 degree weather and their lows at night are twenty degrees higher than the highs (on a good day) back home.  I'll believe "cold" here when I see it.

9.  The water here is awful.  Terrible.  It smells like dirt when I turn on the shower and tastes like mud if sipped straight from the tap.  Thank goodness for water filters or I may have died of thirst.

10.  Women love big hair here.  When I went to chop off my hair, the stylist asked if I wanted to tease my hair.  I said that I'd never done it before, so why not.  I had to keep myself from busting into a giggling fit.  My hair just kept getting higher and poufier.  I was sure a sparrow was going to try and nest on my head the moment I walked outside.  Even funnier is that there were old women whose hair was even fluffier.  I've never seen so many granny fro's in my life.

Well, there you go.  A little bit of fact and fiction about Texas from an outsider covertly living on the inside.

(P.S.  They have a habit of changing street names at intersections.  I'm almost positive it's to keep foreigners wondering where on earth they are going).

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