A close dear friend just moved from Austin to Dallas. To those who know the terrain or the geography of Texas just made a small groan and those who don’t well you may come to understand better.
This friend, like myself, is from the Northeast. Where I grew up in Connecticut is about an hour from where she grew up in the Hudson Valley. We were raised on hills and ever flowing streams. Good Italian food (substitute ‘good’ for ‘real’), bagels that are chewy and deep leafy shade come August heat.
Well we didn’t know heat until we ended up in Texas. We met in graduate school for poetry of all things. It seemed like a good idea at the time and in truth it was for both of us. She met her husband here and I had other adventures. We’d finish up papers, last minute, in the writing center while talking of where we’d been or what we were doing for the weekend.
Back to Dallas, infamous as the home of J.R Ewing and the fictitious South Fork. The way I’ve come to understand Texas is this way: the major cities or big towns, are each like islands. Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Corpus, El Paso . . .each have their own cultures. Austin is ‘cool’ mixed with the burnt orange of U.T. Dallas is shiny red lipstick just applied. Fort Worth is cowboy culture (like Cape Cod is beach kitsch). Houston is patchwork of fine museums, medical wonders and humidity. San Antonio is mestizo: Anglo. Mexican, Tejano, and don’t forget the Alamo.
There is an awkwardness to my weeks now that she’s moved for I know she’s not here and more than likely to not return to Austin. She and her husband with child in tow, will go where the work in academia leads. In the mean time, I talked to her yesterday. Called to say I can Skype now with this new computer. And she told me how she can’t open any of the windows in the house she’s rented. She asked her landlord and he told her that this is the way the house was when he bought it.
We were in that really? Can’t open the windows and that’s ok? Really? And then said at the same time, “Must be a Yankee thing. This being able to open windows”.