Friday, December 16, 2005

The story of Texas

Heading the list of my ideas for submission to the Texas Dept. of Tourism is a billboard stating, “Welcome to Texas, the Promised Land”, with the grill of a mondo-sized truck pointed to greet the viewer. The truck would, of course, be a Texas edition- insert brand name here- because I’ve learned since my recent arrival, the state is its own separate market demographic. There actually are King Ranch Edition trucks, which if you’re not from Texas, like Mr. Lovett likes to point out, you may not be familiar. King Ranch is the largest cattle ranch in the state and is a household name in these parts. The truck has ranchy touches, such as, a rugged washed leather interior with heavy stitching and a full back seat for the kids or, presumably, the ranch hands.

Having relocated to Austin only a couple weeks ago from the great white North, this all has been a lot to absorb. Since my arrival I’ve been crashing with my friend Twisty and searching for a suitable apartment. After vetoing many located in so-called apartment communities, which are ubiquitous in this town, I found a cute place in central East Austin on a street named Manor Road. Only, I quickly learned that this stately street is pronounced MAY-ner, and my non-Texan pronunciation- one of many indicators- immediately marked me as a transplant. In true Texan style the building is constructed of stacked limestone with burnt orange accents settled around an oval-shaped pool. It’s pretty cute in a quirky Austin way, and I can’t complain about the possibility of an afternoon dip on, perhaps, an eighty-five degree Thanksgiving day.

All this is to say I’m experiencing my own process of Texas shock. In time, I’m sure this place will lose its foreign air. For now I have fun pointing out purely Texan things, much to the irritation of my pal Twisty, until a few years ago a displaced Texan herself. I must say I’ve never experienced a place that has as state mottos both, “Drive Friendly” and “Don’t Mess With Texas”. Although they may not be fully endorsed by the State Dept. of Tourism, they are indicative of a dichotomy of the view from outsiders versus the one from here. I’m working on welcoming this evolution of perspective on my journey to becoming a real, live Texan.


Blogger RJ said...

Welcome to Austin and Texas, Stingray. And welcome to the East Side. I'm sure you're in capable hands with Twisty, but if you need anything, drop me a line.

(a transplant for 29 years)

4:00 PM, December 18, 2005  
Blogger stingray said...

Hey, thanks for the Texas-sized welcome, Arjet. I'll look forward to enjoying more transplant perspective.

5:23 PM, December 18, 2005  

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