I really hate flying out of Terminal B of Bush Intercontinental.
I deserve the distractions of a Borders Express or Brookstone just as much as travelers flying Continental, out of the much envied Terminal C. Instead, I’m stuck with the minimum airport amenities. Bathroom. Sketchy McDonald’s with a twenty-minute wait. Overcrowded newsstand. Houston Roadhouse Gift Corral, where I can buy Texas windchimes—four empty Bud cans suspended from a plastic Texas flag—or a “Roadkill Café” barbecue apron decorated with a cartoon armadillo in the final stages of its decomposition.*
Speaking of Western wear, if I ever get a job that involves leaving the state, I think I’ll look back nostalgically at Texans’ obsession with Texas. Here, we countrify everything that can be countrified. We have Texas edition trucks. Expected. But also Texas-edition hamburgers and Texas-edition jeans and Texas-edition Mother’s Day brunches at hotel restaurants. If it can be super-sized, smothered in jack cheese and onions, pronounced with a folksy twang, accessorized with a ten-gallon hat, or decorated with a cactus or tumbleweed, it can be Texas-editioned.
It’s kind of funny. And cute. Here, they’ve managed to make a dried out steer skulls cute enough to embroider onto pastel pink sweatshirts for toddlers. Look! It’s winking at you!
Of course, while living in Houston, all of this Texifying is also annoying. My Saturn Ion does not even reach the top of the tires of the Texas Edition Super Bronco Sequoia Hemi Monster trucks that park at the mall. And I don’t always want to qualify my entrée with geographical coordinates when I order at a restaurant. Can’t I just have a steak sandwich? Does it have to be an “Everything is Bigger in Texas” steak sandwich with ranchero chili chipotle salsa on the side?
I may be exaggerating. A little.
But for now I’m heading off to Charlotte for the holidays and then on to San Francisco for the MLA conference, where I’ll interview for professorships in the Lone Star state and elsewhere. So anyone who wants a “Don’t Mess With Texas” shot glass better let me know soon. Your time is running short.
* Of course, NO terminal in Bush airport has free Wifi, so I’m posting this a day late.