Monday, October 31, 2011

"North" Texas

This is the sign you see when you reach the Kansas state line.

This is the sign you see when you reach the Oklahoma state line.

And these are the signs you see when you reach the Texas state line.

More than one sign? What can I say? We Texans are proud of our state.

My friends in college looked at me incredulously when I told them that I had to drive to Kansas from my hometown in Texas to go to the nearest Wal-Mart.

"So you have to go through, like, three states?" one of them once asked me. Yes, except there's no "like" involved. I DO, in actuality, drive through three states.

And then my friends were really taken aback when I told them that I had to drive 120 miles to the nearest mall.

I used to smile when Dallas natives told me that they were from North Texas. My literal mind understood that the Panhandle was "north" Texas. Perryton is, after all, located on the northernmost point of the state.

I returned to my hometown to teach, so I am often asked if having to travel "so far" to Amarillo bothers me. I do live in the U.S. - we want everything instantly: fast food, music downloads on iTunes, information on Google. We want to be able to lose weight TODAY after a lifetime of eating whatever we want without exercising. I'm only human, so naturaly, I want to be able to make it to Barnes & Noble in ten minutes.

Instead of having a negative perception about having to drive two hours away, I have learned to look forward to my therapy on the road. While I listen to my favorite songs, I think about the steps that I need to take to reach my goals. I'm so thankful for music. I cannot imagine my life without it. Countless times I have pondered life-changing lyrics like: two birds on a wire - one wants to fly away and the other watches him close from that wire. Or perhaps Garth reminds me, once more, to sail my vessel until the river runs dry. Julieta Venegas sings, No se ve, pero siento que hay en mí algo que está cambiando. I have benefited greatly from my "long" drives from Perryton to Amarillo.

I have to, like, be happy wherever life takes me.

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