"Everything is bigger in Texas."
"If you don't like the weather here, wait."
There are certain phrases synonymous with Texas. Some of them you hear with regularity. Yes, we do occasionally quip about everything being bigger here and warn people not to mess with us. We even use y'all when it strikes our fancy. Houston too has its own colloquialisms. We refer to all soft drinks as "Cokes" for example. All cities have sayings they call their own.
This is not a list of those things. Instead, we figured that giving a rundown of all the things you would never hear us say would be enough to clue you in to who we are as Houstonians. Because you won't hear a native utter anything on this list unless he is drunk or being sarcastic.
It should be noted that there are certainly more than just these, so feel free to add your own in the comments.
10. Our fall foliage is breathtaking.
Some parts of the country have this thing referred to as "changing seasons." Apparently, the weather moderates from summer to winter and back again with a gradual decline and increase in temperature along with a stunning display of fiery leaf colors. In Houston, we have two settings: hot and cool-ish. As for the leaves, they go from green to on the ground. If they do change colors, it happens in the dead of winter.
9. I almost never hit traffic in the mornings, mainly because there is so little road construction.
If someone were working on inventing a perpetual motion machine, it would be wise for him to study our traffic and road construction in Houston because it never, ever, ever ends. If only science could harness the frustration of Houston drivers, we would never be dependent upon fossil fuel again.
8. Where did I put my ice scraper (or snow tires)?
Last year, we got what northerners might call "a little icing." That was the first time in half a decade we saw any significant winter precipitation. People here build tiny snowmen out of ice crystals that stick for about 10 minutes. Children lay on the ground to make slush angels. It's magical!
7. There is no prettier drive in Houston than the one from the airport to downtown.
If this were opposite day, a holiday long honored by middle schoolers everywhere, this is a phrase we would all utter. Quite to the contrary, the drive south from Bush Intercontinental Airport and north from Hobby Airport into downtown on Interstate 45 is one of the most bleak and depressing drives you will ever make. It is like a war-torn province of a far away land if they had strip malls, abandoned car dealerships and check cashing stores.
6. Champion City!
In major titles -- no offense Dynamo and Comets -- after the NFL merger -- sorry AFL champ Houston Oilers -- Houston has exactly two championships, thanks to the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Houston Rockets. But that was 20 years ago. The Rockets have won only ONE playoff series since 1997. The Astros have only been to the World Series once in their entire history. The Texans have never made it beyond a second game in the playoffs -- the Oilers made the AFC title game twice, but never the Super Bowl. This all despite tremendous talent having passed through our various arenas and stadiums. What makes it worse is the awful heartbreak fans have suffered at the hands of these teams on numerous occasions. If there were an award for futility, then we would definitely be on top of the world.
5. Let's walk!
This is easily interchangeable with "let's ride bikes" or "let's take public transportation." Making the decision to walk to and from your destination -- not for exercise -- in Houston is kind of like making the decision to walk through rather than around a swamp. It's hot. It's humid. And if you aren't struck by a car, you'll probably be eaten by an alligator.
4. Queso and margaritas again?
Tex-Mex is not special occasion fare. In Houston, it's a daily staple. The one day of the year it hits 30 degrees, you can bet people will be packing restaurants ordering a frozen marg, and in the dead of summer when the heat index reaches 111, bring on that molten liquid gold.
3. At least it's a dry heat.
Once, years ago, I spoke to a customer service rep from a cable company. She was in Canada and had never been to Houston. She asked me if it was really hot and dry here. I said, "Well, it is hot." Our city is less desert than it is rainforest. As one friend of a friend described it, "It's fucking lush." Think a steam room filled with fat, sweaty old guys and you get the picture.
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2. I wish I lived in Dallas.
If there is anything that unifies Houstonians, it is our absolute belief that we are better than Dallas. Anyone who wants to move there already has. Those who stay remain steadfast in the hope that one day Big D will be annexed by Oklahoma and our long, horrifying nightmare of a shared state will be over.
1. Houston, we have a problem.
I know you all think this is adorable. It is a cheap headline for people who know nothing about our city and are too lazy to look deeper. It's a lame punchline to a half-assed late night monologue. We all think it is stupid. You should too.