Not counting the eight years I lived in Industry, Texas when my family departed the big city for more a more bucolic setting, I’ve lived within 15 miles of the hospital where I was born. That’s 35 years in a pretty tight area, especially considering Houston’s sprawl. My shortest-distance move was out of the garage apartment I lived in for 11 years (where I was pretty sure someone would eventually find me buried under a mound of cats*) into a house with James a half-mile away.
My grandfather was born in a house downtown near where the Houston Public Library now stands. The house was within a short walk of the hospital where I was born almost 55 years later. My mother was born in Houston, and my father got here when he was five years old. And both my brothers were born here, too. My Houston roots run deep, and I’ve had a habit of running the same ground for most of my years here.
In fact, I’ve spent the past 14 years living 1.5 miles or less from Interstate 10, which Houstonians commonly refer to as “I-10.” When we visited my friend Bree in LA last year, she gave us shortcut directions to avoid traffic on what she called “the 10.” These regional variations aren’t related to an accent you can hear, but they’re an accent just the same. This quiz nailed that I’m from Houston and, oddly, suggests I have some New Orleans influence too.
I joked with my brother yesterday that I’m going to become “Texas Crystal” when we move to California. Start wearing boots and really up the twang that I’ve always been relieved not to have. (I was already wearing a shirt with the Astrodome on it while we were having this conversation.) James piped up, “Please don’t do that.”
And I won’t. Probably.
Maybe I’ll do a hybrid instead. Call that particular interstate “the I-10.” Serve sliced avocados with my grits. Go fishing…for sanddabs…from a kayak…while drinking Lone Star.
*Regarding the “crazy cat lady” motif, why cats? Dogs are much more exuberant in their displays of love. Seems like a lonely lady would get more emotional gratification out of having a dog than a cat that barely sniffs her direction when she enters the room.
What I’m saying is, cats are assholes.