Monday, November 19, 2012

Texas does not seem weird!

When i began telling my friends that i was going to Texas for an extended visit as i am considering moving there within the next year, the responses varied in wording but the tone was always the same:

Sign in the History of Printing Museum, Houston, Texas

"Oh wow. ...well......"

"You're WHAT?? Why would you do THAT??"

My response to this last question was simple and immediately understood: "Because that's where she lives."

i had met a beautiful Texan woman and was considering putting my life together with hers. And, just as my friends were, i was expecting a culture shock at least as extreme as when i moved from the United States to Italy 8years ago. i had, after all, grown up in New England. Waterbury, Connecticut is in one of the old immigrant, industrial towns of that tiny state and everything i'd heard about Texas while growing up lead me to believe that The Lone Star State would be a cross between the Wild West of Spaghetti Westerns and an unknown intergalactic moonscape.

But now, after nearly 3weeks in Houston, i am finding that my friends' (and my own) premonitions about big, bad Texas were unneeded. In fact, the place doesn't actually seem weird at all! Sure, i have been able to find  some regional distinctness, but from my experience thus far it is mild when present. Incredibly, the people don't even talk funny, hardly any accent at all most of the time!

Now, i'm sure that TEXAS Texas does exist out there, full of cowboys, racists, preachers and other scary creatures, enthusiastically perpetuating the stereotypes we all know. But it seems to me you'd find a similar cut of folk at Connecticut flea markets or inland Florida small towns as well.

In the last three weeks i have been to art museums, New Age chapels, worked out and played in a YMCA, spent lots of time and too much money in a Starbucks, joined the local Theosophy Society, shopped in an Asian-language supermarket, hit the public library, shopped and strolled through the mall, wandered through a deserted urban downtown on the weekend, and i have met a variety of open minded (and even liberal) people - just like i've done in CT, FL, and Washington DC.

So, subtlety aside, Texas just has not struck me as weird. And i am glad:-)


  1. Soon after i clicked "Publish" to put this post up a fat, white-haired, mustached guy sat down near me in Starbucks where i am writing and began telling his buddy, "I cannot believe we still have a BLACK President!" we know, stereotypes do come from somewhere. But like i said, there are idiots in each state!

  2. After writing this i was then also reminded of the arrest of Professor Gates in Boston in 2008. Gates, a black Harvard professor, was arriving home from a trip with his luggage and his private driver. When he was seen entering his own home (with luggage), a white neighbor saw him and his (also black) driver and called the cops to say there was a burglary. When the cops arrived the Professor yelled at the cops (showing more restraint than i would have shown) and was arrested. As he was a personal friend of President Obama, this lead to the famous Beer Summit where the Prof, the President and the cop sat down for a beer to show how things were "healed." A great example of racism in New England.


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