One afternoon this summer, a woman at my church here in Abilene invited the congregation to her ranch for a barbecue after service. I had never been to a cattle ranch before, so I eagerly accepted and headed out to the middle of nowhere for an evening of games and food with my friends.
Her husband made some of the best burgers I have ever eaten in my life. While I was eating, the hostess came over to the table and asked everyone how the food was.
“It’s delicious,” I said, burger in hand.
“Oh good,” she smiled back at me. “Well, don’t tell my daughter, but that was her pet cow Stella you’re eating.”
And that was the first time I had ever eaten someone’s pet.
“Only in Texas,” I thought. Being from California, this was only one of many culture shocks I’ve experienced since moving to Texas last fall. Just for fun, I’ve put together a list of some of the major differences I’ve experienced since I came to the best gosh darn state in the country.
1. Politics. Back home in Los Angeles, it’s uncommon to see a car without some sort of Obama or “Coexist” bumper sticker, and Bush is a four-letter word. This, however, is the land of “Nobamas” and “Don’t Mess With Texas” signs, and George W. Bush is the best president who’s ever lived.
2. Gas prices. Gas in California is over $4 right now, with the possibility of reaching $5 by January. Right now, I’m paying $2.98 per gallon. This is probably my most convincing reason not to move back home.
3. Whataburger vs. In-N-Out. I’ve had Whataburger. It’s decent. I’m OK with it, but I don’t understand Texas’ obsession with it. But anyone who’s ever had In-N-Out will tell you it’s the burger of your dreams. No question.
4. A good chunk of Californians are vegans, pescatarians or some other sort of picky eater, but those of us who do eat meat have the luxury of pretending our steaks have never been alive. Here, you raise things you know you’re going to eat later. I’m not judging, I’m just not used to it.
5. Dancing. The term “dancing” where I’m from is synonymous with “clubbing” or “raving.” But here, when my friends want to go dance, I know it involves cowboy boots and two-stepping.
6. Football. Los Angeles doesn’t have a football team, so I’m a die-hard 49ers fan. Everyone I know in Texas is a Cowboys fan. Makes sense. But in California, nobody cares about high school football. Here it’s not an after-school activity – it’s a lifestyle.
7. Homecoming mums. There are no Homecoming mums in California. People wear sashes. Because they look normal. Not like you’re growing a garden out of the front of your dress.
8. Weather. I’m used to a solid spectrum of 60 to 80 degrees all year round. Moving here I had to learn how to deal with icy roads and real heat.
9. State pride. I have not yet met a Texan who doesn’t believe the greatest honor you can have in life is being born here.
10. Finally, the people. There is a true difference here. People are polite, helpful, smile at you on the street and aren’t afraid to offend anyone or show their faith. And that’s how I’m concluding that Texas is superior to my home state. You’re welcome.