Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Messing With Texas

So I spent the weekend in Houston for a wedding in Cypress, which is just down the street from Spring, where I used to live. So I took a moment to revisit my old stomping grounds, and I was struck by how much Houston felt like home more than any other home I've gone back to.

Which is not to imply that I would ever want to live there again. It still has the oppressive heat, the wasps, the roaches, the torrential downpours, the mother-loving humidity, and, you know, Texans. I talked to the groom at the rehearsal dinner, he asked me how my drive was, and I said it was twelve hours in a small car, but it wasn't awful. He proceeded to tell me about how that was nothing--you could drive for fourteen hours from one end of Texas without leaving the state.

Really? You went straight from "how was your drive?" to "Texas is big, yee-haw!" without pausing for, you know, conversation? I lived here, I've gotten over how big it is. And for your information, there's nothing but filler between El Paso and San Antonio, so it's not as if you're making the best possible use of the space.

Another striking Houston oddities: the sheer number of people who dress up for a wedding by wearing their "good blue jeans" and their "nice belt". Why yes, I'm glad you wore your nice ball cap to the reception. If my recollection holds, there were eight men in suits: the groom, the groom's father, the preacher, the two groomsmen, the two ushers, and me.

The bride's father wore a sports jacket over a Henley, which I might almost count except he paused at one point to tell Abby and I that he wanted to design a short-sleeve sports jacket for warmer weather. I swear to god...

Now, I don't want you to think that this is in any way a representative slice of Texans or that I'm deriding Texans across the board. There are lots of perfectly wonderful people living in Texas and Texans, in general, share some admirable qualities. They're typically very polite, as long you're non-hispanic, straight, and willing to at least feign some religiosity. They say "y'all" without even a hint of irony, and my word, but they could teach St. Louis a thing or two about building roads. Roads are big and broad with wide shoulders and dividers. Highways have one-way multi-lane feeders with no-signal U-Turn lanes at intersections. Damn straight.

'Course, they freak out a little when the weather gets below freezing, but it's not like that ever happens.

Also, if you speak fondly of Spring, they immediately thing you're talking about Old Town Spring, which is sort of a like a mile-long craft fair with sturdier tables. I don't care much for Old Town Spring, but it was good to see the old stomping grounds. I found the road where I got horribly lost after only a month with a driver's license. I found my old house, my old Junior and Senior high schools. I found the community theater where I had once been active, and found that, even fifteen-odd years after it's moved, the old sign is still visible from 1960 pointing to its old location in Breck Plaza.

Something never change, it seems, even though they really could use to.

'Twas good to be back, if only for a weekend.



Anne said...

Two of my current good friends grew up in Spring - did you ever know any Andersens or Medleys? Christie would have been a year younger than you and there were a lot of Medleys - my friend Bill is my age.

Kurt said...

The name Christie Medley sounds familiar, but I couldn't put a face to it. If she went to Klein High, we would have been in the same school for a year before I moved. Bill Andersen doesn't ring any bells, but then, I have an awful, awful memory for names.

Ben said...

In the defense of your casually-clad kin, formal wear is one tradition I could dispense with when it's over 90 degrees.

Anne said...

Actually it's flipped, C. Andersen and Bill Medley - there were a ton of Medleys - Bill, Trey, Beth, Melissa . . . not important at all, just funny that it's such a small world!

Anonymous said...

They also freak out when it rains. If it's sprinkling, you have to add 30 minutes to your morning commute.

But Texans are really good at bringing a meal over when you have any kind of need. I had to learn how to cook just so that I could return the favor.

I knew a Beth Medley in Spring. We roomed together at summer camp.