The other day I was on the phone ordering something from a catalog. I gave the customer service rep on the other end my info and before I got to my address she asked, “Do you still live in Texas?” (I ordered from this place before.) I replied yes then she started asking what the weather was like here. She must have been bored because she sure was chatty.
Then she said she’d heard about the cult in West Texas and about those old guys that were having sex with children. (Kinda makes you proud to be a Texan, doesn’t it?) She asked if that was close to where I lived. Wanting to get back to the business at hand, I briskly answered that I’d heard something about the cult on the news, too and that those people she’d heard about were far away from where I lived. Then I said I just want to order my item, please.
That’s what outsiders can’t seem to grasp. Just because I live in the same state, doesn’t mean I’m affected by something. For instance, in Amarillo, they’re begging for water, yet in east Texas, they have to use boats to get around. But we’re still talking about the same state, right?
And when talking to relatives or friends who live in other parts of the country, they will always tell me about something they heard on the news that happened here. Because of its shear size and population, it seems like Texas has more than its fair share of lurid stories and always makes the national news. When I tell my phone buddies that I hadn’t heard what they are talking about, they oftentimes will say, “How could you not have heard about it? It happened where you live.”
Living in a smaller, more intimate place would have its advantages. Last summer when my family vacationed in Costa Rica, one of the guys who worked at a resort noticed my husband’s Texas ballcap on his head and asked us if we knew his friend so-and-so who lived in Houston. Costa Rica is such a small country that I’m sure it isn’t too unusual to meet someone who knows someone you know. But that’s not that way it is here and it’s hard to explain that to people, especially when there’s a language barrier. We just shrugged our shoulders and sadly told the man no, we didn’t know his friend.
On the other hand, telling someone you’re a Texan makes communication a little easier because everyone’s familiar with Texas. On another occasion on the same trip, we were “talking” to a local who asked where we were from. We told him, in our broken Spanish, that we were from “Los Estados Unidos en Tejas”. The man’s eyes lit up and he said, “Oh. Tejas.” Then he made his hands into the shape of a gun, pointed his index fingers in the air and said, “Bang-bang. Cowboys.” He laughed when he said this. He knew he was telling a joke.
When we flew home from Costa Rica, our heads numb and achy from translating all week, we stepped into Dallas-Ft. Worth airport and it was wonderful to hear Texas accents again. I was so glad to be home!
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