Austin, Hipstercrite Life

I Wasn’t Born in Texas, But I Got Here at an Average Speed

Oh man, did it feel good to stay away from the computer this weekend!
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and that most of you are still on break and not at work reading this post.
Wanted to share with you last Friday’s CultureMap post. It meant a lot to me. It’s about the the generous and familial culture in Texas and how inspiring and comforting it is.
I hope I don’t offend any of my fellow Upstate New Yorkers here. I think you’ll get what I mean…

I Wasn’t Born in Texas, But I Got Here at an Average Speed

I’m a Yankee. Born and raised in the armpit of the Rust Belt. In the land of fallen big box giants, frost-bitten morale and Wonder Bread tans.

I have not lived in the North in over seven years, but one can never really change where they’re from, right? Where you were born is in your blood. Always.
The fact that I’m a Yankee is not something I advertise, but it’s difficult to hide when you develop instant heartburn just looking at Polvo’s salsa. The sweat on your brow and the pain-filled look of regurgitated sour in your throat does little to make you look like a natural born Texan.

If the Tums-popping doesn’t give it away, then the way I dress like Little Edie in the summer — equipped with head wrap, heavy coat and scarf — might. Or by my snobbish views of Italian food (in Upstate NY one in every four people were born in the second story of a family-owned Italian restaurant/house whether you were Italian or not). Anyone can sense I’m from the Northeast via the ability for my hands to talk faster than my mouth and the way that mouth says “saaal-led”, “squaaa-sh” and “a-eggs”. Each word sounds like the product of a linguistics class taught by Marge Gunderson.

But I always had a rich fascination with the South. I’m not sure what created it. Maybe because it was a land so unfamiliar to me. Or maybe it was because I always wanted to be a 75-year old blues musician from the bayou named Belly Jug Washington equipped with powder blue three piece suit and porkpie hat.

The South had it’s architecture of grandeur, snakes and speaking in tongues and sweltering sticky days. In my mind, every woman looked and talked like one of two different Vivien Leigh characters to me — the strong-headed Georgian Scarlett O’Hara or the dainty and docile Mississippian Blanche DuBois.

In high school I planned a road trip through the Deep South during my summer break. My mother looked at me like I had lost my marbles. I knew that though the story of the South wasn’t always a pretty one, there was a story waiting to be discovered in every nook and cranny and I wanted in… quite possibly during the hottest days of the year.

Needless to say I never got anyone on board to drive down South with me and my regional travels consisted of visiting the Southern-lite Virginia and Southern-nothing Disney World.

Though I always had an interest in discovering the land down under the Mason Dixon line, I never could have imagined that one day I would live in Texas. Not because I didn’t want to — it was just such a foreign land to me! Texas wasn’t only the South, it was a country of it’s own!


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