7 Things Houstonians Don't Care About
Houston is a city full of passionate people, but there are a few things that most Houstonians just don't seem to care about.
7. Doing things on a small scale. Well, this IS the Lone Star State, and everything's supposedly bigger in Texas, and boy do Houstonians seem to believe it. We love going big, and it shows. The Katy Freeway has 26 lanes at some points, and is the widest in the world. Then there's the enormous Lakewood Church, with the largest congregation in the U.S. We take conventional stuff and super size it here. Clearly Houstonians like large things, and aren't fond of doing stuff on a small scale.
6. Barbecue from outside of Texas.
Sure, the world of barbecue is a large and diverse, with many specific regional styles all vying for dominance. But most Houstonians I know just don't care that barbecue outside of Texas is primarily pork-based. In Texas, barbecue means beef. Sure, we might throw a few pork links or pork ribs on the grill for a backyard gathering, but serious barbecue usually means someone's breaking out their smoker and spending 12 to 18 hours preparing a brisket. We just don't care how they do barbecue in Kansas City or North Carolina.
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5. Getting by without a car.
Things may slowly be changing, but most Houstonians have not embraced a lifestyle where they don't have to own a car. While other large cities long ago embraced mass transit to the extent that some people don't bother to drive anywhere, Houston has mostly scoffed at that idea. Sure, we have the obligatory bus system, and an expanding MetroRail line, but the majority of Houstonians I know still laugh at the idea that they might see a day where they won't need a car to get around. Clearly we still like driving in these parts.
Passing through this dumps you in the middle of a Belle and Sebastion show that goes on for all eternity.
4. Hipsters. Yes, Houston has a population of these self-consciously awkward goofballs, but for a city its size, that population is remarkably small. Perhaps it's hard to groom a ridiculous beard and twirly mustache combo in a town with such high humidity, or maybe something else is responsible, but anyone visiting Austin for the weekend knows how fortunate Houston is to have largely avoided this silly trend. I went to a show there recently and it looked like a convention of Civil War generals wearing skinny jeans and "clever" vintage tee shirts. Houston has its own versions of cool going on, it just doesn't need some leftover retread from places like Portland. Fortunately, Houstonians seem perfectly happy not caring about hipster crap. They'll have to ride their unicycles off into the sunset somewhere else.
For good or ill, Houstonians don't care much for recycling programs. According to a 2008 study by Waste News, at that time Houston was the worst recycler of the nation's 30 largest cities. It seems as if things have gotten better since then, but even in more recent years, recycling efforts in the Bayou City appear to be lacking. Former Mayor Bill White thought that Houstonians have an independent streak that makes them less accepting of having new programs forced on them, and perhaps he was correct -- Houston is not a place where people eagerly follow the herd.
Houstonians really don't care about zoning. At least until a developer comes into their neighborhood and decides to start building something the residents don't like. Then there's usually wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, and then people start throwing around that scary "Z" word again. But despite the occasional uproar over Houston's lack of zoning laws, every time zoning has been voted on Houstonians have rejected it. I guess the lack of zoning laws does make things a little more "colorful" and chaotic in regards to development in this city. Who says we shouldn't have a taqueria next to a church, or strip clubs near residential neighborhoods? Never a dull moment!
1. How people do things somewhere else. Houston seems like a fairly friendly city to me. Most people are approachable, and it's easy to get along for the most part. But there's definitely one way to get on a lot of Houstonians' shit lists. Suggest that the way "they do things" somewhere else is superior to the way we do things here. We don't care how they do things in New York City or Los Angeles. Heck, most of us don't care how they do things in Austin or Dallas, but an out-of-towner who snidely suggests that the way they do something in San Francisco or some other place completely different from Houston is superior? To quote the old Pace Picante Sauce commercials: "Get a rope."
Hey, we're not perfect, but no one anywhere enjoys some smug out-of-town chump telling him that he's uncivilized for not doing things the way they do wherever the chump is from. That's just rude and a good way to not get invited over for more barbecue, which of course means brisket. We don't care how they do things in Seattle.
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