Texans are obsessed with Texas—and for damn good reason. We (yes, I’m one of them!) tend to think of ourselves as Texans first and Americans second. State flags, bearing the iconic Lone Star, always seem to outnumber national ones. We like to remind people as often as possible that “Texas used to be a country!” (The Republic of Texas existed for five glorious years, from 1839 to 1846, and we will never let anyone forget it, ever.) Even for those of us who grew up in Texas but have left, Texas leaves an indelible mark. I haven’t lived in Texas in almost ten years, and I still think of it as home.
Texas can sometimes be hard to love. A lot stupid things happen there, things that make me roll my eyes so hard I’m in danger of flipping over: The state legislature passing abortion restrictions that would leave only five clinics open in the state; the Texas State Board of Education attempting to put more Moses into social studies textbooks; a Texas court ruling it legal to take upskirt photos. I could go on (and on, and on, and on...), but I’ll stop before I give myself a rage-induced aneurism. The truth is that, despite all of its maddening aspects, I still love Texas, and I love that I got to grow up there. As anyone who spent their formative years in the Lone Star State can tell you, Texas gets under your skin and reveals itself in a lot of random ways. Here are just a few:
1. You say “y’all” without irony
“Y’all” is just a good word. English lacks a second-person pronoun that is immediately identifiable as plural. “Hey, you!” (singular) and “Hey, you!” (plural). So confusing. “Hey, y’all!”—totally clear!
2. You have very strong feelings about Bar-B-Q and Mexican food
Our stubborn belief is that no one outside of Texas can properly make either. And we're very, very correct in this belief. Well, in the United States, at least. Mexico obviously has good Mexican food. But BBQ? Texas for LIFE.
3. You are used to driving insane distances to get anywhere
Texas is a huge state, and everything is far apart. When you grow up here, your intrinsic sense of time and space is skewed toward the insane. An hour’s drive to work? ‘Tis but a moment’s inconvenience! A two-and-a-half hour drive to your favorite Mexican restaurant? Nothing more than a healthy jaunt! A 14-hour drive to get any where in the U.S. that isn’t Texas? It’s simply a testament to the state’s incomparable grandeur! We are perfectly prepared to live in our cars, thank you very much.
4. All sodas are simply called "Coke"
Conversations at restaurants go like this:
Waiter: What can I get you to drink?Customer: Coke, please.Waiter: Sure, what kind?Customer: I’ll have a Sprite.
I have no idea why.
5. Anything smaller than a truck qualifies as a “Compact Vehicle”
This is just truth. Environment, shmenvironment. Shmenvironment.
6. When abroad, you talk about Texas as if it were a country
When I’ve been overseas and people ask me where I’m from, my knee jerk response is “Texas,” not “the United States.” This usually leads to fun conversations, as most of the people I’ve met in Britain and Europe seem to associate Texas with the death penalty, George Bush, and old Westerns.
7. You grew up calling adults "Sir" and "Ma'am"
And now you find yourself still saying "Yes, sir" and "Yes, ma'am" to everybody, and people who aren't from Texas seem to find this bizarre.
8. You know random lyrics to country songs even if you don’t like country music
(Shut up—you secretly love country music.)
Images: Dave Wilson, Erik Gustafson, Jypsygen/Flickr(3); Wikimedia; Giphy