the trouble with texas
January 3, 2012
This is in part because I have a problematic sense of direction. But also, it’s Texas. Or, more specifically, Texans.
When Texans give directions, they use landmarks. I am not sure why. Maybe it dates back to pioneer days. Texas is pretty big and in pioneer days street signs had to be sparse. I have lived in the country. I get that. Places I have lived have had directions like “go three miles and when you see the rock that looks like a goat, turn left.” But this is Austin. It is a city. Pioneer days are done and gone. And there are STREET SIGNS! Because, hello, streets in cities have NAMES and STREET SIGNS!
This makes no difference to Texans.
Me: Do you know where such and such place is?
Texan: Sure, it’s next to LANDMARK.*
Me: Um, not from here, not familiar with that.
Texan: Oh, okay, it’s by OTHER LANDMARK.
Me: Really not from here, know no Landmarks, seriously, landmarks will not work in this convo.
Texan: Oh. Okay. It’s by OTHER OTHER OTHER LANDMARK.
This doesn’t happen other places. Other places, you ask for directions, someone will say, Sure, go five blocks, turn left on Santa Monica, it’ll be on the right about a mile down.
Not Texas. I’m not even sure they know what street signs are here.
*Note, “LANDMARK” is usually a restaurant or store you are unfamiliar with, but could also be a public building like a grammar school (you are unfamiliar with) or could also be a building that used to be someplace (you are unfamiliar with) but got torn down about ten years ago.