March 24th, 2011
Listomania: The Top 10 Loop Outsider Misconceptions
I’m sick of it. Every time I mention I’m from Houston, and that I love it, I’m met with quizzical smirks and “Really?”s. I usually take the bait and inquire folks as to exactly why they don’t enjoy the Bayou City, and when I’m not met with slack-jawed silence, this is the crap I get:
1.) “Everywhere you look, it’s like, all concrete and stuff.”
First of all, what does that even mean? You’d think the folks that spout that kind of drivel have never visited a major metropolitan area. What’s more, Houston has 27.2 acres of parkland for every 1,000 citizens, ranking 2nd in the U.S. among cities of comparable density. So what was that about concrete again?
2.) “Traffic is horrible.”
Well I’m assuming that you came to the Big City for a reason, bumpkin, so what part of a traffic jam at 5:30 surprises you? Still, letting a 20 minute delay in Baytown or Pearland shape the way you view H-Town is pretty short-sighted. Want to see truly horrendous traffic? Take a look at DC or LA during rush hour.
3.) “The smog is terrible.”
To your point, that’s something we’ve been working on. Sitting around 84 ppb, which is considered somewhere in the scope of acceptability by the EPA, isn’t so bad when you consider our weather patterns. When it starts raining acid on my back yard garbage burn, then I’ll worry.
4.) “Well, it’s no Austin.”
I do enjoy visiting the Cap City, but using Austin to mold your opinion of Houston is like saying that Star Pizza sucks because Hub Cap is so damn delicious. Also, as much as I know Austinites love to brag about their weirdness and free-wheeling spirit, and as great a career as hand-weaving bracelets may be, I’m sure they’d love a taste of our 24 Fortune 500 companies. Apples and oranges, my friends.
5.) “Everyone is unfriendly.”
No, everyone has things to do, and half of us may not even speak your language or have your same cultural background. So expecting the quintessential Texas “Howdy” from every person you see in the most culturally diverse city in the south is just a bit unrealistic. Averting your eyes, giving the finger and screaming “_______ OFF!” is how they say hello in Greece. Or so I’ve been told.
6.) “The sports scene sucks.”
Ok, I have no rebuttal. At least we’ve got the Final Four this year?
7.) “Oh the
When everyone has frizzy hair and can’t walk to the mailbox without getting soaked on a sunny day, you really find out what people are made of. The humidity here is a great common denominator, and real Houstonians have learned to wear it as a sadistic, sweaty badge of honor.
8.) “Everyone in Montrose is gay.”
One morning after living in one of Houston’s most historic and culturally in-tune areas for three years, sure enough, I woke up and I was gay. Seriously? The stereotype that Montrose is the Bermuda Triangle of heterosexuality is just plain stupid, and mildly offensive to the progressive social conscience in general. (That said, it is pretty fabulous!)
9.) “Houston runs on oil.”
I’m sure that when you’re ready to drive a vehicle that runs completely on fairy milk, we’ll still be progressive enough to survive. We’re the #1 purchaser of wind power according to the EPA, after all. If it sounds like I got that fact from this month’s Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine, you’re correct. I also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, just saved $500 on car insurance, and while I don’t always drink beer, when I do, I use tired jokes from commercials.
10.) “There’s no sense of community.”
You’re right, we don’t have a sense of community—we have senses of communities. We may not have many events that bridge the gap between every single borough, but between Montrose, The Heights, Rice Village etc., there’s something going on for everyone at nearly any given moment—each soiree with its own unique Bayou City flave.