For Ten Things Tuesday – on a day that might actually be a Tuesday – I present Ways Texas Made Me A Better Person
(Once upon a time, I used to post a random ten things on a Tuesday. Sometimes it was Tuesday, sometimes it wasn’t, but that’s besides the point. It’s been some time since I posted a Ten Things Tuesday post so don’t feel bad if you don’t remember. I promised infrequent posts, and I’ve kept to that.)
I’m in Ohio for a short stay. I missed Texas as soon as I left it five days ago. I miss the wonderful people I’ve met there, I miss the weather, I miss the low cost of living (especially fuel), I miss the slower pace of the country life, and the slower pace overall.
Before I came to Texas, for a long time I felt drawn to the state, a desire to go to there. I had no idea what it was really like, and no idea how much of an imprint it would leave on my soul. Texas changed me for the better. That may seem silly to say, but it is so different from the other states in which I’ve been – it really is like its own country.
(It may seem in some of the items below like I’m picking on California. I don’t mean to bash California. It is the one other place I lived for a long time, therefore my best reference point. I still consider it one of the most beautiful states.)
Ten Ways Texas Made Me A Better Person:
Driving polite. Oh, how I love the polite drivers in the Texas country! I’ve mentioned this before. Having come from the rush-rush “me first” attitude that seems to permeate the California cities, polite driving and polite drivers were a surprising – and refreshing – experience. As a whole, people in Texas don’t tailgate. If they want to go faster than you, you just drive on the shoulder for them until they pass. If there’s no shoulder, they pass you in the opposite lane when it’s clear. When they’ve passed, they even tap their brakes at you to say “Thanks”.
I can’t drive 55 anymore. It took a while to get used to going 70+ everywhere. It took a while, but now I’m used to it. And now I’m in a state where 55 is the speed limit, like in California.
Yes, ma’am. No, ma’am. At first, this sounded odd to my ears. In California, only the occasional young man talking to a woman he perceives as much older ever utters those words. It was always something that made you silently consider your advancing age. But not in Texas. It isn’t so much a factor of age, as it is good southern manners.
Spirituality. Everywhere you look in Texas there is a cross, often covered with bling or otherwise decorated. The music in the grocery stores is sometimes Christian. Christian books have their own display section in the grocery stores. There is a massive church on every corner. You often hear the word “God” in casual conversation. While none of this made me want to convert, it has given me a deeper sense of my spirituality. I am much more open to discussing my personal beliefs or even saying “God” in social environments.
Deep appreciation for the wide open country. In the near five years I’ve RVd, I’ve lived at the beach (still the best), the desert (not a fan at all), and the country. Not only have I come to truly appreciate wide open fields dotted with livestock, small two-lane country roads with rarely another car and never any traffic, and the complete lack of road or air traffic noise, I have come to rely on it. The peace and quiet the removal of those external items allows to enter the internal mind it indescribable.
Slower pace of the country life and lack of materialism. Oh, how de-stressing it is to not be part of the rat race, always having to get the latest shiny object so you can keep up with the neighbors. Before I began RVing, I spoke with a friend who lived out of the country. He had a few homes in different parts of the world. He could live anywhere he chose. While he didn’t live in Texas, he spent most of his time in Mexico. He lamented to me about having to go into San Diego to go Christmas shopping. He now detested the hustle and bustle. I didn’t understand at all at the time; I lived in northern California and had no concept of what it was like somewhere else. I get it now. I totally get it.
Country music. Before Texas (“BT”), I liked a few country songs. After three years in Texas (“AT”) and not other music choices besides Country, and Western, I have come to love country music. It took a while, but it grew on me. On the long drive between Texas and Ohio I stopped the radio on country stations as often as rock.
Gas prices, energy production. These could and should be two separate things, but there’s not much to say about loving cheap gas. It’s a no-brainer. But energy production, that can get political. Here’s my two cents: Appreciate the folks who produce the oil and gas you use every day. It doesn’t matter if you drive an electric car (never seen in the country), we all still use rubber, plastic, and a whole host of items made from fossil fuels. The oil field workers work hard for you to have all the little comforts you enjoy.
Farmers and ranchers. Again with the appreciation and not taking for granted all the comforts we enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegetarian, or hate Monsanto, that is besides the point. Farmers and ranchers work harder than most of us likely ever had to so we can have a fresh meal. Support your local farmers and ranchers. Not to take anything away from our soldiers, but farmers do as much for our daily existence as our soldiers.
Cowboys. They’re hot.
Polite customer service reps. Holy Attitude Adjustment, Batman! I had become so used to the snarky, passive-aggressive customer service reps that I was shocked to find they were almost always polite in Texas. What a concept.
An appreciation for the state. I’ve said this before: Texas really is like its own country. People openly appreciate their state like no where else. I get it now.
Come to Texas and stay a while, but only if you are ready to change many of the “norms” you’ve become used to.