So I feel like I should begin, as this is still the beginning, by setting the scene. Though starting my life, spending the first twenty years of my life, and fearing I would end my life in the mid-coast area of Maine (which is not part of Canada… no, it’s not), I find myself in Texas. DFW, to be more precise, or Dallas-Fort Worth to those not in the know. I like it here, or maybe I love it here… it’s kind of a fine line. It’s not the northeast. The locals don’t really know what the word “beach” means. Nor do they know the potential implications of the word “winter.” Nor do they understand the concept of “small town.” The small towns here have forty-thousand people crammed inside their borders, and at least one high school each. The town I grew up in had approximately fourteen-hundred people strewn across the landscape, and shared a high school with four neighboring towns. That’s a small town.
Not that there really are many locals living here, not in the true sense of the word. A large percentage of the population relocated here from the north a decade or more ago, and have become Texans over the years. Now, when I say “from the north,” that is of course said with the understanding that, from where I’m standing (or sitting, as it were) the entire country is north. With the exception of Florida. And Louisiana. Ok, and Mississippi. Whatever. The point is, it seems like most of those who have migrated to Dallas are from Chicago, Detroit, and Cincinatti. Oh and Hope, Maine. The north north. Even my boy, who says words like “y’all” and “yonder” with a straight face, is born of first-generation Ohio-an parentage.
I’m still the only New Englander I know down here. This, I believe, makes me special and awesome, a feeling only bolstered by the shocked and confused faces people give me when I tell them where I’m from. Let me repeat, Maine… not part of Canada.
So, anyway, I think the fact that everyone is from somewhere else really adds to DFW’s charm. It’s like a microcosm of the United States, mirroring the influx of people from other countries in the earlier part of last century. The area has managed to hold on to its southwestern roots while still moving forward and modernizing all the time. The city of Dallas is ritzy, upscale, expensive, and modern, while 30 miles away in Fort Worth is the worlds largest honky-tonk, and cowboys… real cowboys! All the cities in between have their own varying blends of all these characteristics, and… forgive me for sounding like a brochure for a moment… no matter what your budget and tastes dictate, you will find a place to make a home here, and a happy one.
Unless you don’t like heat. If you don’t like heat, you’re not going to like it here.
Football’s another biggy. You’ve got to at least tolerate football to live happily in Texas. That Friday Night Lights stuff? Not really all that exaggerated. Sports in general are big here, but we are talking Dallas, home of the Rangers, the Mavericks, and most importantly the Cowboys. (For the record, the ‘Boys actually play in Arlington, and previously in Irving, but those doesn’t really roll off the tongue as nicely so we’ll just leave it be.) I’m serious though, the sports fans here don’t f*ck around… and they’re all sports fans. I’ve gone from never having sat and watched a full game of hockey (or even ten seconds of a game) to being an intense and fiercly loyal Dallas Stars fan. Not a lick of interest in baseball, but I know what a 6-4-3 double play looks like. I believe at the beginning of the 2009 football season I may have actually uttered the words ‘Ohhhhhhhhh, the quarterback throws the ball!” These days I’m actually winning my Fantasy Football games this season… without any (ok, much) help from The Boy!
To give this a little more perspective, my high school didn’t have a football team until the year after I graduated. The fact that 98% of the conversations my boyfriend’s family has are about sports baffles me and leaves me feeling like the only sane person in a psychiatric ward. The only social drinker at an AA meeting. A diabetic at a candy store… you get it. I just want to scream, “How can you care so much about some games that some dudes you don’t even know are playing?!” Why does my boyfriend know that “Ian Kinsler prefers to be a lead-off hitter, though he’s becoming more okay with hitting down in the order,” but probably couldn’t tell you what kind of shampoo I use? Because he’s from Texas. Where that kind of thing matters.
I’ve lived here over a year and this state still feels like a foreign country to me. I guess though when it really comes down to it, heat stroke at the ballpark beats a foot of snow in April any day.
Today’s reading: Why Do Americans Have So Many Types of Breakfast Cereal? :: Zikata