Well I guess I'm firmly planted in the Big D, although I'm still trying to gain traction in this 32,314,778 horse town. I've officially consolidated into one living space, taking early leave of my ultra-swank temporary corporate housing in favor of having at least one pair of matching socks in just one central location. It was hard to give up the car-wash showers and living room-to-kitchen monorail, but I'm a one-residence kinda guy, even if that residence is filled mostly with self-assembly Target furniture.
I think I'll like it here. And I'm not just saying that because I watched that "Optimism in the Face of Unbelievably Bad Situations" documentary 10 minutes ago and I'm all jazzed up on coffee and Adderall. There are things I've found that I'm definitely impressed with (the amount of plastic surgery per square mile is not one of them, but I'll get to that).
Here is one:
This is White Rock Lake, and while it's true that it doesn't always look quite this "nut in your running shorts" spectacular, it's actually a pretty good place to run. This is a good thing because I've got to have decent running circumstances or I go crazier than a taunted San Francisco Zoo tiger.
There are a few things, however, about the Big that I find a little unsettling, if not downright abrasive. They are as follows in no particular order:
Concrete/Roads/Interstates/Shopping Centers/Toll-Ways as far as the eye can see
Seriously, it's friggin' concrete jungle. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you or crazy. Either way you should push their face into the ground and run away. I've never seen so many Bed Bath & Beyonds in a 2 mile radius. I guess if I have some sort of bath-mat emergency I'll be all set as long as I can figure out which 3 toll roads connect to the highway that leads to US 35E-W-NS-Business-E. But if I miss it I can always make a left and catch Mockingbird S and loop around on the Dallas North Tollway and HOLY F I'M LOSING MY MIND!!!!
What could be worse? How about:
Blind, All-Encompassing Materialism
It's been said that there's more plastic surgery per square mile in Dallas than in L.A. I don't know if that's true or not, but I have noticed that the douche-bag factor here is extremely high for a state that is technically below the Mason-Dixon line. This city is all about what you're driving, what you're wearing, where you live, who you're banging, what the person you're banging is wearing and driving, and so forth. Personality is an afterthought and the concept of intellect seems to be avoided like the plague. Unless you don't drive a Mercedes E-Class that is, then it's obvious that you're just stupid.
Anyway, with all this obsession with appearances and what-not at least the people must be pretty fit and active, right?
Texas is One of the Fattest States in the Union
Tenth fattest in 2007 to be exact.
Nobody here really seems to care about fitness. Maybe it's because you can get 8 lbs of beef brisket for $0.35. Or maybe it's because there's plenty of room in everyone's Ford F-750 dually trucks to comfortably hold all the love handles and double chins you can squeeze in there and still fit comfortably into those over sized Texas parking spaces (this is true - these parking spaces are GIGANTIC!). And even if it doesn't fit, well hells-bells, just drive 3 blocks down the street to the next Target. I hear they have oatmeal cream pies on special and all the cashiers are Texas natives.
But at least everyone is friendly, right?:
Hi! Okay, never mind I guess..
So far I've waved and/or smiled at every runner I've passed (which, granted, is not that many). I've yet to even get an acknowledgment. I mean, I'm getting totally ghosted here. Maybe I've been spoiled with all that southern hospitality into thinking that people shouldn't give you the stink-eye just because you said hi to them out there on the street. Call me ol' fashioned I guess.
So, in summary, there are a few things in the Big that I've got to get used to and/or change. But, I like to consider myself somewhat of an adaptive and resilient creature and I'm sure I'll make Texas home. It's always tough when you're in a situation where everything around you is new and different. All your familiarity and comfort zones are stripped from you and you're forced to build new friendships, find new places, and just generally situate yourself again in a place that is much bigger and flatter than those quaint Dilworth streets that are quickly seeming like such a distant memory..