Contemplating Texas from the train

Texas by trainI spent just over a decade living in Texas, but it feels like the most foreign place I visit, a place I can hardly understand because it shares so few of my values.

I suppose if I were a visionary, I would see it as a land of opportunity. It seems to be getting left behind as so many other places make strides toward sustainability, supporting small businesses, and building strong movements for social justice. Therefore, it follows that those of us with ties to Texas could help the state catch up. Perhaps it would be the best place to apply everything I’ve learned.

But I guess I’m more of an opportunist because I prefer living in places that already reflect my beliefs. And maybe I’m dreadfully unimaginative because I don’t know where I would start in Texas.

When I’m there I don’t see possibilities. Just flat land, long distances, chain restaurants, crowded highways (no carpooling), and a dealership called Chic Motors selling huge pick-up trucks.

Sometimes I wonder if I’d have a better relationship with the state if it hadn’t been the first place I lived in the United States. I wonder if most immigrants from the Global South experience the pain I felt when I moved to Texas.

I was young and innocent. I didn’t have words like racism and xenophobia to explain what was happening. All I knew was that Mexico, a place I’d felt proud of as long as I could remember, a culture celebrated constantly in my old life, was, in Texas, at best ignored and at worst hated.

No one ever got excited when I said where I was from.

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Contemplating Texas from the train

2 thoughts on “Contemplating Texas from the train

  1. Bob says:

    There is certainly mystery and paradox inherent in the Texas state-of-mind. I’m reminded of John Steinbeck’s treatment of the topic in Travels With Charley. He married a Texan and had a lot to say on the topic. He wrote, “We have heard Texans threaten to secede so often that I formed an enthusiastic organization –The American Friends for Texas Secession. This Stops the subject cold. They want to be able to secede but they don’t want anyone to want them to.”

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