1. Texans love putting flags on their cars.
On the license plates, hanging off their truck beds, in the windows, on the antennae – anywhere. A car here seems less like a mode of transportation and more like a convenient way to store and display your varied flag collection. On the bright side, there seems to be an equal distribution of American flags and Texan flags (with the Texan one winning slightly), so there seems to be more general patriotism and less state-specific excitement than I expected.
2. Tex Mex food is shit everywhere but here.
I ate one tortilla soup upon arrival at a (to be fair, very highly reviewed) restaurant, and it immediately felt like every other “tortilla soup” I’d ever eaten had been slapped out of my mouth. It felt like there were at least 25 layers of flavor that my body had never been privy to until this very moment. What was I eating before? Why did it not taste anything like this?? What is that amazing, oil-and-aromatic-based sauce that was served with that expertly-grilled flank steak? How does anyone eat anything here but Tex Mex????
3. Speaking of cars, there is no fossil fuel endangerment here.
I admit that as someone who has lived in either solidly-blue, East Coast states or France (lol) all her life, I am very used to the presence of Priuses, Mini Coopers, small Hondas/Volkswagens, or other generally compact and (relatively) fuel-efficient cars. (Although, given what we know about VW now, it’s probably smart to take it off the list of hippie-dippie automobile manufacturers.) In any case, though, Texas seems thusfar to be an orgy of fuel-inefficient cars and general disregard for any impact they might have on the world around us. I have two uncles that live here and who both view their luxury trucks as a family member, but part of me always assumed they were more the exception, since they work in real estate development and need to haul shit. Not so! As it turns out, Texas is full of these kinds of vehicles, and the two Ubers we’ve taken so far have both been enormous, full-cab, two-door pickup trucks, and they seem to be the norm rather than the exception. And while it is slightly terrifying to think of an entire state getting 11 miles per gallon to drive one person, I admit that the look of ‘upscale construction vehicle as personal aesthetic is kind of cool.’
4. The female sartorial style here is “chill as hell.”
Nothing more liberating, as a woman, than getting off a plane from New York City (aka the capital of fashion bloggers, punishing winter weather, and a general need to look on fleek at all times despite it feeling like you’re being rained upon with ice knives), only to arrive in a place like Texas where the weather is mild, and the feminine dress code is jeans, sensible shoes, and a reasonably cute top if you’re being fancy (promotional tee shirt if you’re not). I realized upon arriving home that I brought literally nothing that wasn’t going to make me look like a try-hard East Coaster, and honestly I feel nothing but envy for the women who get to go about their day with a little tinted lip gloss and a sensible jacket, not having to worry about the literal model and ‘fashion industry insiders’ who are going to be on line at their bodega at seven in the morning.
5. People are way fucking nicer than back east.
It’s honestly disarming to have people just like… smile at you? And say hello?? And strike up friendly conversation with you just because you’re another human being existing on this same plane of reality and having just as hard a time navigating the human condition??? Are people just like… friendly? I don’t trust it.