Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rollin, rollin, rollin, keep those doggies rollin'

* This started as a blog post and turned into a minor political diatribe. Sorry in advance*

Git along, little doggies.

We find out late next week where we are being sent next, if we are being sent anywhere at all. It looks a lot like Houston at the moment.

Houston, as you may be aware, is located in America. This is nice for me, having been raised in America and all. Houston is also in Texas, which if you are aware of the regional diversity of the United States, is like a different planet to where I was raised. We speak roughly the same language, and drive on the same side of the road, but the similarities peter out from there. If I may reveal to truly shallow depth of my character, Texas frightens me, a lot. One can only assume that Houston is full of Texans, and while I believe they are genuinely kind and welcoming people, THEY SCARE ME.

George Bush (s) came from there. They talk really really really slowly. Some of them have guns, like INSIDE their cars, all the time. The nighbourhoods I have looked at have neither front porches, nor sidewalks, and everyone's suburban back yard has an 8 foot privacy fence around it. They deep fry toast.

Texas is full of republicans, but I'm not sure they are the sort of fiscally conservative and secular republicans with whom I think I share much common ground. I am afraid that the streets will be awash in Zombiefied, Glen Beck Quoting, war-making, Anti-Choice, Anti contraception, racist Nut-bars. In Texas, I think everyone goes to Church, every Sunday. I think they will try to get all "Come to Jesus" and "You'll burn in hell because you don't think exactly like us" on me. I will be ostracized, lonely and friendless. Especially if I keep this attitude up.

I know, I am such a Asshole, unfairly maligning the good people of Texas, without ever having been there for more than a stopover. I'm sorry Texas, it's just that I don't understand you very well, and the media does not portray you in, shall we say, the kindest light.

I am looking forward to decent Mexican food, Ample parking, hardware stores, being able to speak Spanish again, vast grocery stores with everything I could ever dream of on the shelves, one hundred thousand awesome classic cars to choose from, Country music, classic rock radio stations, not being mocked for wearing cowboy boots, outrageous clothes, and for the first time in my entire life, a horse of my own.

I am thankful that Stone is employable in this labour market, and that he can have a real, corporate job with health benefits. I really don't want to raise my daughter without health coverage, and if it were up to me to go back to being a Chef to support the family, we would never in a million years be able to afford health insurance. Maybe that will change, with the health reform stateside, assuming it gets passed. I don't know if I want to live in a country full of people who won't help their fellow man receive the basic human right that is medical care.

I am happy that Stone is not a reluctant, Euro-centric prick who will hate everything about America on principle. Stone genuinely loves America and in his wonderful, flexible, chameleon style, he is delighted to embrace American culture and assimilate to whatever the norm is going to be in Texas. He already owns a few cowboy outfits, which he wears at any opportunity, he's practicing his drawl, and he's even talking about buying some guns.

So it's not like I'm suffering, but I think I am going to find a lonely planet guide book for Texas, because frankly, I know less about the place than I know about Saudi or Pakistan. My friends from the state I grew up in are far more apprehensive about the dangers of my moving to Texas, as they were about me moving here. But none of them are from Texas either.

So, are any of you guys from Texas or Houston? Can you help with some information? Can you correct my hideously ignorant perceptions of your fine state?
  • Is it nice?
  • Are the people nice?
  • Are they nice to Libertarian leaning Democrats like myself?
  • Does it rain in Houston? I heard it rains a lot, which is weird because I thought Texas was really dry, with like Cactus and tumbleweeds and stuff.
  • How do you meet people? Is it Ok to go over to your neighbor's house with like a pie or a six-pack of beer or something and introduce yourself? Or will they shoot at me?
  • Do Texans Drink?
  • Where is a good neighbourhood on the west side?
  • Is there anywhere artsy or creative or edgy out that way?
  • Can I grow Bananas in my garden?
  • Does everybody really have a pool in their backyard? Should I have a pool in my backyard?
  • Should we live in a House or a Condo or a Townhome?
  • What kind of car is appropriate in Houston?
  • Is it OK to let my three year old run around naked on the beach or in the yard, or will people get all freaked out about it?
  • Does Houston Have a beach nearby?
  • Are top-notch Mexican ingredients available in the Suburbs, or do I have to go to Mexicantown to get the good stuff?
  • Does everyone ride western or are there some good Hunter-Jumper Barns around?
  • Is my Daughter going to get picked on for her weird sounding foreign name?
  • Anything else you feel like sharing?
You can comment here, or drop me an email. Additionally, you may call me an arugula salad eating, microbrew drinking, northern democrat elitist, if you wish. Because that's only fair.


The Restless Quill said...

Don't go.

Cap'n Jack said...

Texas big hair...mmmm lovely. Yeehaw!

Sara said...

You won't get decent Mexican food in Houston. What you will get is Tex-Mex, which is like US restaurants making gyros and calling it Greek food.

Zilker said...

All right - another Dem for Houston, which is getting bluer! (I'm in Austin.)

Texas is nice. Texans are friendly and fun and loud and like to drink and dance and party. Years ago I traveled south from Chicago on the AMTRAK Lone Star Special and the club car was all party all the time.

When you fly here, you will notice that at airport gates for TX destinations, people are talking and laughing. (Two TX women meeting up outside of their usual venues greet each other with screams - look out for that at the airport gates.)

There's some bigotry and narrow-mindedness around, but we've enjoyed living here for 21 years - and we're 2 liberals in a noticeably mixed-race, mixed-religion, mixed-culture marriage...

Give yourself some time to pick your neighborhood.

Amber said...

I'm from the houston area. So is my husband. I'll do my best to answer...
your daughter's name will be fine, whatever it is.
Most of my friends and even some family are democrats and voted for Obama.
Yes, Texans drink...lots.
There IS in fact decent mexican food in Houston...but Sara is right it is mostly tex-mex which I love by the way. I can send you a list. You can get the good ingredients pretty much wherever. You will love HEB stores and Krogers.
You don't have to wear "western" wear. Where what you like. I rode horses in tennis shoes.
There is a very good school in houston for english riding. It is very popular as well as western.
My kids ran around naked.
When you say "west houston" do you mean the Katy area? What area will your husband be working? I can get REAL specific about the North Spring area and even Friendswood.
You will want to pick your neighborhood based on the schools.
You will want a house most likely. Condo's/townhouses are generally small and not meant for families. Again, school district is everything.
Texas can be very liberal and in houston there are tons of things going on.
You can drive any car/monster you want. Classic beauties are always admired and salivated over. email me personally if you want to get down to real specifics..if I don't' know I know people who can answer and give you the real lowdown.

Anonymous said...

I fully endorse Zilker - and just know that Austin is a quick drive away. Check out the Austin Chronicle online; great live music listing and super easy to search.

two last words:

Chilango Margarita!!!

Yeah, Baby!