Travel: Adios, Texas

Texas Addio titleDear Texas,

I’m leaving you. By the time you read this I will already be on my way. I know we’ve only been together for about a year and a half, and that’s a long time for some people, but it was way too long for me. I think it will be better for both of us if I leave. We both knew I wasn’t happy here, but at least I tried. You? All you did was tell me how awesome you USED to be, or how stupid I am because of where I was born. That’s just not nice. I would try “It’s not you it’s me”, but this time it actually is you.

You weren’t all bad, I guess. I had a blast going to the movies at The Alamo Draft House, and I think the burgers at Wholly Cow are pretty badass… if you don’t mind waiting 40 minutes for a burger. (Even when you call ahead.) I also enjoyed Half Price Books and Book People. Both fine establishments worthy of note. And Taco Deli is pretty darn great. I was so very happy to work just down the street from such yummy tacos.

I guess the best part of living and working in Austin was my job. I met some great teachers and made friends with some pretty awesome kids. (Cora, I’m talkin’ to you) I laughed a lot at work – which is saying something when you teach preschool. So, thanks for that. I really did enjoy my time at work. I had fun teaching the little people of Austin that the world is a bigger place than Texas, and it’s their job to get out there and see it. I had fun singing, running, laughing, making coffee, and coloring with all of you.

But a good job and nice co-workers are not enough to keep me around. I adored Prague, but I still knew it was time to move on and find new adventures. So I came to Texas. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Right? Right. But Austin was a total let down. I need a city that is forward thinking, not stuck in its glory days. I need more than a has been. Sure you might have been something ten years ago, but what good does that do me now? Talking about how cool you used to be only highlights how uncool you are right now. Gentrified with a beer gut. You walk around like the Prom King, but you are more like that 35 year old dude who trolls college parties looking for babes. Living in the past doesn’t make you cool. It makes you sad.

Although I was miserable for most of our relationship, I wish you the best. I know it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but maybe someday you’ll see it. There is a reason people make fun of you, Texas. You are pretty inhospitable. Calling people “outsiders” doesn’t really help them to feel warm and welcome. Blaming all of your problems on “them” doesn’t help anything. You have outdated alcohol laws and your public transit is a joke. Closing over a dozen Planned Parenthood’s over the past month doesn’t really instill trust either.

So this is good-bye. Thanks for the traffic and the relentless heat. Thanks for the annoying sports fans and the fat laden food. Thanks for telling me to “get the fuck out” daily. It made me feel great. Most of all, thanks for giving me a new experience. I might have not LOVED you, but at least I tried. At least I stepped outside of my comfort zone and gave it my all. I’m sorry you can’t do the same.

Best of luck

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10 thoughts on “Travel: Adios, Texas

  1. I felt that way, about being an “outsider” in parts of the Midwest where I’ve lived… hoping you’ve found somewhere to move to that doesn’t have that attitude. 🙂

  2. Well, if you stop in El Paso on your way out west, give a holler; we’ll set you up with a cozy farewell shot of tequila at the Kentucky Club. Farewell.

  3. I just read your “Austin not weird, just mediocre” article and “Adios, Texas”. It was so refreshing to hear someone say all that you did about Austin, because you are so right. I have been in Austin for 8 long years and finally going back home in 6 months, but it’s still here in Texas. I hope you visit other cities in Texas because they are NOT all like Austin. Many moons ago before I moved here, Austin WAS weird, and MUCH nicer. When I run into people who are actually from Austin and grew up here, their is a stark difference between them and those that have moved here and are not Texas friendly. And my opinions are all generalities,,,like anyone elses opinion, it does not apply to the subject at hand 100% of the time. Just a little background on “Mexican” food though. Tex-Mex is Tex-Mex, Mexican is Mexican….two totally different foods. Many people who didn’t grow up here complain about cheese laden Tex-Mex. And you are right, Tex-Mex was born from using the few cheap foods that we had generations ago. American cheese, beans, rice, tortilllas, comino (cumin) and garlic our seasoning for ground meat. So Tex-Mex is part of our history. Yes, that’s why many of us have diabetes. I can’t say to much about that because many just don’t understand,,,,it’s just deep rooted. As for me and my family, please know that we would have welcomed you and fed you and treated you like part of the family before you could say “chili con carne”. And that’s why I am proud to call Texas home, just not Austin.

  4. I just read your blog on Austin, but comments were closed & I want to tell you- THANK YOU. I wish I had known you while I was suffering there as well, because you hit all of my feelings spot on. Love all of your travel anecdotes as well, we’ve gone to a lot of the same places 🙂 I look forward to reading more!

  5. Austin = Seattle = Portland. It’s all the same garbage attitude; cities laden with the same cookie-cutter hipsters, complaining about “YOU outsiders” in exactly the same way, parroting the same stupid “Keep _______ weird” mantra to each other, painfully and ironically unspecial with their costume, painstakingly thought-out, this-is-just-how-I-dress garb and ultra phony, narcissistic, perpetually self-celebratory spots, establishments, tastes and music scenes. Are there decent people around in these places? Sure, of course. But all things and the greater populace considered, there are way better places to live, with better people, better art, better food, better music, and better attitudes. Good for you for at least giving it a try and seeing what it is all about, up close and first hand.

    You’re ditching Austin like I’m ditching Seattle, and for all the same reasons. Here’s to better, real, *positive*, non-phony futures! 🙂

  6. I just found your “Austin not weird…” post and I really thank you for writing it. It made me feel much better for a moment. It’s the middle of December and I just returned from a walk in shorts and a tank top at 10:00am, sweating. It’s depressing. I’ve been here a little over a year where I sadly gave birth to my son. The question I was asked repeatedly throughout the process was “what’s your religion?” I kept giving the wrong answer until I understood they were looking for “Christian” at which point I fumbled with, “all religions.” And that was the best of it.

  7. Hey, saw your article on Austin, and as a native Houstonian (Can’t believe I just said that), I kind of figured you’d say Austin really wasn’t cracked up to all that they say it is. I adored the live music, because fuck it, it’s live music (And I love blues, and Austin has a LOT of good blues artists)!

    I do agree that Austin, like every other yuppie/hippie city like Portland, San Fran, etc. is very pretentious and rude.

    However, PLEASE don’t assume the rest of Texas is like that. While the Planned Parenthood thing is up for debate on its moral merits (In fact, let’s not even touch that topic here), and the Sunday alcohol laws are kinda weird, the rest of the state has tons of pluses, starting with some really pretty natural beauty, not tainted by cities, for starters.

    San Antonio is pretty run-down, but it has a very vibrant and lively Hispanic culture (Along with some absolutely KILLER Tex-Mex). Dallas is okay, it’s just Dallas. It’s the only city people remember being in Texas, I would think, and it’s just “eh.” Although Deep Ellum is really cool; check it out sometime.

    Then there is Houston. I, personally, love being here. You’ve mentioned that the food culture in Houston is way better than Austin (So you HAVE been here), and to that I wholeheartedly agree. Tons of AMAZING restaurants here, and I would still say that its some of the best I’ve ever had, even when I went to NYC. However, it’s also just a great city; Houston is incredibly diverse, lots of Indians, Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, etc. that coexist very naturally, but we do get a few people that can be foreign even to us; I went to a barbecue place once, and met a husband and wife from Australia and Britain, respectively. Everyone there was ogling them, chatting with them, and giving them a very warm, Texas welcome. (We LOOOVE people from exotic places)

    Speaking of warm, holy shit yes the humidity can really suck here. Mosquitoes can also bite me (Figuratively and literally) for all I care. You think Austin is bad? Try Austin with a regular 70-90 percent humidity. We’re not called the “most air-conditioned city in the world” for nothing. However, living here all my life had me be used to it pretty easily. Maybe it just takes time.

    You also mentioned how Houston is a lot like LA, in the fact that you have to drive everywhere on huge freeways (I-10 on the west-side is actually the widest freeway on the planet, shit you not). This is very true. Houston isn’t a very walk-able town… save for a few areas in the inner-city area.

    Houston’s best side, I feel, is in the Heights. Very pretty, antique suburban homes everywhere (It became really gentrified, and is actually quite expensive to live there), and everywhere is walkable, or if failing that, biking can be easy with all the sidewalks. (There is also a metrorail connecting downtown to U of H, just south of downtown.) Montrose is another really pretty part of town, with a vibrant community (Look up Juan Carlos if you need proof, the dude gets in a skintight suit and goes on the intersection of Allen Parkway and Montrose and just roller-blades his heart out on that street-corner. Did this for DECADES and is still going strong), and is an absolutely gorgeous place to be.

    The music community here is also phenomenal, it’s just that Houston doesn’t have any open bars for live music and some pretty pricey cover-charges, along with a very early bed-time for the city on weekdays, and weekends, so it’s a bit hard to see (Though I highly recommend going to Fitzgerald’s at least once, however). The comedy scene is also very underrated. It’s nothing super-fantastic, but it is definitely something worth noting if you’re looking for a good laugh. The artistic community here is very bustling, but they’re surprisingly humble and down-to-earth; they know precisely who they are, just artists, and they have day-jobs like everyone else. The “underground” culture is the same way, really. It’s a city that isn’t full of itself.

    The museum district is awesome, yeah, you hit that on the head, but there is also a Theatre District in Downtown; second largest in the nation, next only to New York City, and is quite phenomenal if you’re looking for a good play, or so I’ve heard.

    If you’re letting Austin represent Texas as a whole, then I personally wouldn’t want to live here myself. But check out some small towns, and visit Galveston for some really pretty beaches, AMAZING seafood (Be sure to go to Guido’s!), some reaaaaallly pretty architecture, colorful history, and some great tourist attractions, too.

    It’s all VERY different from Austin.

    If you ever decide to give Texas a second shot (And gauging by your scathing review of Texas as a whole, you may not), at least stay in Houston for a month and see how you like it. Of course, Texan culture and Californian culture will always be different from each other, and you may never like it here seeing you are from California (I’m guilty of the same thing, I personally don’t like Cali that much, from visiting multiple times), but if you ever do come back, you are always welcome in the rest of Texas, and Houston, too. Because even we think Austin is full of themselves, too, and I’m sorry that those pricks killed the experience for you.

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