Why Texas is Great
Texas residents have a lot of pride for our state. After traveling in some northern states, I realized why. The difference in climate and attitude made is easy to fly on home. Here are just a few reasons I learned why Texas is great.
I recently spent some time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. This trip, though fun filled, was tough for this southern girl to handle at times. It was reiterated over and over why I love my home, Texas.
You all knew I'd start my rant here, didn't you?
Yes, the weather was HORRIBLE. So cold. So windy. So gloomy.
When I let people know I was visiting from Texas, they always asked, "How's the weather here treating you?" I would answer, "This is stupid." And, I meant it. How do you live in that kind of cold. How did these people survive 40 below?! The weather was a warm, for them, 20 degrees most of the days I was there and it was painful. They do not call Chicago the "windy city" for nothing.
There was a time I was walking to a coffee bar and the wind knocked me back and took my breath away. I tried to take another step forward and asked myself, "Why? What does it matter? It is too cold, why don't you just succumb and lay down right here and die?"
To make matters worse, everyone from back home kept sending pictures of the 70 degree weather back here in East Texas. Thanks, guys. Really, I wanted that rubbed in my face. I stayed with a friend that had a pool a few nights. I would go stand in a patch of frozen snow, look at that pool, and than curse the cold weather as I flipped through pictures of friends in Texas barefoot in the sun with their pool in sight. What did that feel like? It felt like lemon in a wound.
The only silver lining I found for these freezing temperatures was alcohol. Since everything up there is close, you walk. But, you drink some great locally brewed beer and the cold seems to get a bit better. You don't have to worry about driving while drinking, because you can walk a block home. No wonder people up there spend so much time in bars. They are heated and give you fire water to warm the insides.
To get some of those local brews to keep you warm, you will need A LOT of money. Chicago, especially, was so expensive.
I understand that having a night out in a bigger city, even here in Texas, can break the bank, but GOLLY.
Sometimes I felt on this trip that when I got my ticket for a sandwich they were asking for my entire savings account. I wouldn't have been surprised if my tab literally asked for my arm and leg in payment. I bought a coffee and scone for more than my water bill was last month.
When all that walking around became too much of a bother, getting a cab didn't stop my wallet from taking a beating. I had too many fights over whether or not my cab should start with a $2.25 charge. What is that? Is it two bucks to just get into the thing?
To have a positive attitude about the money I burned through, I had to look in the mirror and repeat, "You are paying for an experience. You are having fun."
I was brought up to say, "Yes, ma'am. No, sir. Thank you. Hi. Excuse me. You are welcome. How are you?"
I don't think many people up there had the same schooling.
I cannot fully express the insult I felt when a man pushed past me to get through a door. First of all, I was here first ya jerk. Second, you are a man. Why aren't you holding the door for me or, at least, letting me through first? Third problem with this situation is that you don't need to bump your shoulder into mine to force your way in. I know it is cold outside, but you chose to live in this winter wonderland, not me.
The manners, or the lack there of, was astounding. Please, don't give me a dirty look when I smile at you and say thanks. Maybe the grey skies and frigid wind makes it difficult to be nice, but there really is no excuse for rudeness.
I am exaggerating, but I am not. When I found people that returned my kindness, I latched on to them. Oh happy day! I found another person not one second away from "going postal." There were some folks in Chicago and Milwaukee that would put some Texas people to shame with their manners and those folks need to be applauded.
I play around occasionally with a Wisconsin accent. I thought I was pretty good at it. I found out quickly that I had no idea what Wisconsin people sound like.
Their accents were thick. Real thick. It took me a second every once in a while to understand what a waitress was saying, but I was always patient with my ignorance to their dialect. My accent, though, was a joke.
In Texas, people ask me where I am visiting from. So, I thought I might get along on this trip without people instantly knowing I was from Texas.
They knew with the first word out of my mouth. They believed it was cute the way I said, "Hey y'all." For the first few times I was asked to say something like a Texan, I was okay with it. After the 50th time, I was no longer amused. The good news was I could ask them to repeat things as a silent revenge. Just as much as my accent was cute to them, theirs was adorable to me.
Tacos are a Texas staple. We want them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is an art to making a great taco. The science and prestige that comes with a the perfect flavors wrapped up in a tortilla is something that should not be played with.
Milwaukee thought they could do it. They tried. They tried real hard. But, failed.
I was excited to get a little taste of home while traveling far from Texas. I shouldn't have gambled.
Up north, there is a lot of great food to be had. Sit around a table and enjoy the variety and pleasures these states so far from us provide. But, do not get the tacos. Just follow my lead here. I can tell you with all confidence that I will be righting this wrong at Don Juan's for their amazing taco Wednesday.
Now that my rant is over, let me say a few more things.
I am, by no means, upset with my trip. I had a blast. Chicago and Milwaukee offered some fun I had not seen here in Texas. I found great people (sometimes), great food (sometimes), great things to spend money on (sometimes), and a whole truck load of fun. I would do it again, but I am sure I will always miss Texas. For those of you from Chicago or Milwaukee, or visiting Texas from there, I apologize for some exaggeration. I cannot apologize for the love I have for my state.
For all of you, I suggest a trip to these great cities. We must leave home to really appreciate what we have there and get some new experiences. Here is a quick list of places I highly suggest if you take the trip up north.
1. Swig (Chicago, Wicker Park) The world's greatest Bloody Mary and a fantastic and kind bartender live in this cozy bar.
2. Pour Man's (Milwaukee, Water St.) A Moscow Mule with Rye Whiskey Substitute can be purchased here. The patio, atmosphere, AWESOME bartenders, and booths with pour your own beer taps make this place a gem worth visiting more than once.
3. Thia-namite (Milwaukee) Oh my golly gee gosh, the food is amazing.
4. Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinders (Chicago) AMAZING. Get their salad, bread, and pizza pot pies, you can die happy after that meal.