Texas Aggression vs. LA Aggression

I’ve recently discovered that there’s a fundamental difference between Texas road rage and LA road rage. They’re both vicious, but in different ways. Neither is worse than the other. Except LA road rage is absolutely worse. But I’ll get to that.

In Texas, the left lane is a coveted area to control; sort of the Texas version of the Autobahn. In fact, there are “official” Department of Transportation signs that actually say: “left lane is for passing only.” But we won’t waste our time with unrealistic fantasies.

By saying this, I don’t mean it’s difficult to get into the left lane – in fact it’s quite simple. You put on your blinker and turn the wheel (I take that back; it’s way easier said than done). However, once people get into this lane, they don’t feel the need to move, regardless of how far below the speed limit they are traveling. We will henceforth refer to these evidently illiterate drivers as “Slowmobiles.” To them, the left lane is like retirement – they had to work pretty hard to get there, and once they’ve arrived, ain’t no one gonna make them go back. And this is where the aggression commences.

Everyone behind Slowmobile is going 90 and joke’s on you, Slowmobile, if you think they’re planning on slowing down. These drivers have several options. Option A: get right up on the bumper of Slowmobile and then aggressively move into the right lane, speed up, and promptly switch back into the left lane inches in front of Slowmobile. Option B: realize that life is too short to have road rage and slow down to Slowmobile’s pace (Lol). Option C: speed up even more until you could be mistaken for a passenger in Slowmobile’s backseat and lay on your horn until the cows come home (literally. I mean, Texas.). Of course there are tons of other options – maybe two more – but these are generally the go-to’s.

I, myself, usually go for option A because I’m a passive aggressive road rager. I want to get my point across, but I’d also like to quickly be on my way.

The thing is, this scenario doesn’t just apply to highways. This happens in neighborhoods, on access roads, in school zones, in open roadless fields, I mean there’s no area out there that is safe from the wrath of Texan drivers. And the more aware of it I become, the more sociopathic it seems. Betsy Jo awakens to a lovely, sunshiney day. She has breakfast with the fam, kisses her dog goodbye, and heads off for work. Betsy Jo gets stuck behind some lunatic going 50 in the left lane. Betsy Jo loses it. Betsy Jo furiously honks and tailgates until she finally accepts that her actions are in fact making this car drive even more slowly. Betsy Jo whips into the right lane, then back to the left just to make her point, then back to the right and takes her exit. Betsy Jo calmly parks her car and strolls into work, greeting everyone with a smile as she continues her peaceful morning.

What?! How does Betsy Jo compartmentalize like that? Could Betsy Jo also go rob a bank and then pick up her kids from school as if nothing out-of-the-ordinary happened? I do not trust Betsy Jo. Although, regrettably, I am Betsy Jo. We are all Betsy Jo.

Texas road aggression is real, yes. But it’s a choice. LA road aggression essentially keeps you alive. Without it, you’re a goner. The difference: in Texas, your road rage is on the offensive. Your team has the ball and you just want to score (stay with me), but in LA, you’re on defense. You’re just trying not to get trampled because you know the ref won’t be giving you that charge call. You’re about to foul out and be on your way to purchasing a new car.

All 87 lanes are jam-packed with vehicles, so there’s really no use in trying to get into the left lane. The “left lane” concept that I took for granted for so long is obsolete here. The goal is no longer to reach your destination as quickly as possible; the goal is to reach it at all.

Sounds terrifying? Yeah I KNOW. If you’re a nice person in middle school, everyone tends to walk all over you. I grew up thinking that kindness was, like, important, so basically I was a middle school doormat. I can’t afford to be an LA road doormat. I’m really reaching with these metaphors, y’all. I guess I’m still shaken up from today’s drive. Nothing in particular happened. Just the fact that I had to drive has me a little apprehensive. The recovery process doesn’t gradually get any easier.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hear honking in my dreams at night. Yesterday, I apparently I left work at a magical time because, by some miracle, I was able to drive 60 on the highway for upwards of 3 and a half minutes. It was the strangest feeling – I haven’t driven that fast since 2015. I felt free. I felt like anything and everything I want to accomplish in life is ripe for the picking. But soon enough, it was back to jammed lanes and tuning out everyone’s venomous yelling by blasting Usher’s reassuring voice.

 

Road rage exists. In some places, you choose it. In other places, it chooses you. To all my passengers, both past and future, know that I am deeply sorry. To all the other cars on the road with me, know that I accept your forthcoming apologies.

Farewell to da Wack

Here’s to you Wacotown. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your quirks and your charm. As I prepare to bid you adieu, I reflect back on my time here and feel the need to mention a few things you offered me that can never be replaced.

So, here are just a few things I’ll miss about Waco, Texas:

 

  • Pulling up to the Schlotzsky’s drive-thru and only needing to say “hey” before I hear “hi Katie. We saw you drive up. Your order is ready.”

 

  • Coming up with a solid team name, yet still somehow getting dead last at True Love trivia night. Because everyone else cheats. Probably.

 

  • Also serenading the crowds at True Love karaoke with my renditions of each and every melodramatic Broadway song I know until there’s not a dry eye in the place. More accurately, I’m by far the most moved by my own performance and no one else is really paying attention. Their loss.

 

  • Asking any restaurant if they have a gluten-free menu and receiving the response: “What the hell is gluten. This is Texas.”
    • All I can say back is “That response doesn’t make any sense, but I respect your disdain.” And then I leave and go to Schlotzsky’s.

 

  • Wearing jeans and a normal shirt instead of nike shorts and being asked what fancy Oscar party I’m attending after class.

 

  • Taco Z.

 

  • Making frenemies in the Sidrich parking lot with the people I battle daily for a coveted parking spot. It’s been a real bonding opportunity.
    • We’ve had our differences, silver Toyota, but in the end, I know we’re just too similar.
    • And here’s to you, black Honda, may you find peace and happiness one day.
    • As for you, red BMW, I do not regret cutting you off that one time. You are an even worse driver than I am. And you have a red car, so you had it coming.

 

  • Seeing people I know at HEB and having those awkward HEB conversations where you don’t want to say too much, because you know you’ll see them in another aisle a few minutes later, and then again at the register.
    • So you stick with clever little quips like “man you buy a lot of toilet paper” or “wow can you believe they raised the price of coconut milk, like what is this, the pre-Industrial Revolution era?”

 

  • Understanding that having brunch at Café Cap means showing up to Café Cap, waiting 6-8 hours outside, and then finally having brunch at Café Cap.

 

  • Observing the Chick-fil-A drive-thru crowd versus those who bravely venture inside Chick-fil-A. Very different crowds. Let me tell you, I’ve tried both and honestly, I’d rather just have food delivered.

 

  • Adding “sic’em” to literally every phrase.
    • “Sic’em the sun, it feels so good outside.”
    • “I bought new toothpaste yesterday, sic’em hygiene.”
    • “I’m super bummed about my last test grade, sic’em marrying rich.” It works in every situation! Sic’em optimism.

 

  • Walking around campus and being very aware that you go to school in a postcard. This one is a little sappy, but give me a break. I’m graduating I get to be sappy. And Baylor is breathtakingly gorgeous. Just like its students. Am I right?

 

I’ll miss so much about Waco. Mainly my friends, but also the city itself. It will always have a special place in my heart. And thanks to Taco Z, my butt and thighs as well. Sic’em Wacky people.

 

 

 

 

 

A Texan’s Guide to New York

Ah, New York City. The wonderful, fairy-tale, fantasy town where folks from all walks of life stroll hand in hand down the streets harmonizing to Fiddler on the Roof and sipping coffee as they write screenplays by the fireplace, looking up occasionally out the window as the snow falls. A place where no dream is out of reach.

Well, kind of. I journeyed to this magical city with my mom and little brother last weekend. It was an incredible, hilarious trip, but, by our last day, I decided that I hate all human beings and if I never have to be around another person for the rest of my life, that’d be fine. Long story short, NYC is a tad crowded. And there was no snow.

While on the trip, I noted some do’s and don’t’s (all of which we definitely did) that I think might be helpful for other travelers who plan to visit New York – specifically Texans. So, here are some guidelines for all y’all who want to fit in and not be laughed out of the Big Apple.

 

  1. Locals evidently don’t refer to New York as the “Big Apple.” No matter how many Red Deliciously brilliant apple puns you make.

 

  1. You probably shouldn’t say “this is where we die” each time you cross the street. Cool and hip New Yorkers don’t necessarily wait for that little man signal to start walking. And if you choose to be one of these rebellious jaywalkers, at least act like you belong. But remember, while you may decide to be one of those ballsy rule-breakers, your mom will not. Running across the street and then promptly turning around to laugh and wave at her while she patiently waits alone on the curb will not get old.

 

  1. Don’t smile at people, I guess. They’ll think you’re trying to sell them something, or that you’re crazy. I have a habit of staring at people until they meet my glance and then I smile at them in the hopes that they will feel pressured to smile back at me. It’s practically a social experiment. I’m not typically trying to sell anything, but the fact that I do this probably does mean I’m crazy, so.

 

  1. Shopping is both depressing and uplifting. This isn’t limited to New York. And it’s neither a do nor a don’t. Just making an observation.

 

  1. Do accept that Bloomingdales is terribly overwhelming. Just dig deep within yourself, pull out that inner fake confidence, walk tall, and look like you know what you’re doing until a sales person asks if you’re looking for the bathroom. Look them in the eye and proudly say “yes I am” because they called your bluff.

 

  1. This is a big one. Don’t test your mom’s sense of awareness by subtly tugging on her purse from behind. She’ll have a panic attack right there in the subway. She doesn’t need your help – she’s been preparing for this city her whole life.

 

  1. Someone will eventually want to discuss the Big 12 with you. Don’t give up the search. It’s as if New Yorkers have other, more important, non-football related things to worry about and that’s unacceptable. Make it your mission to fix that.

 

  1. Do spew Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt quotes everywhere you go. Especially when you’re in Times Square – where New Yorkers shop!

 

  1. Don’t aggressively attack Gary Patterson’s character in a Broadway theatre because there will inevitably be a TCU grad sitting right in front of you seeing Book of Mormon that night too. And she’ll turn around and chew you out. And you can’t hide your identity because you’ve already made far too many Book of Mooreman jokes.

 

  1. Do make sure to observe what other people in the restaurant are ordering and notice how they’re all sharing plates and that no one actually ordered their own meal before you order. You may be in a traditional family-style Chinese restaurant and you’ll each eat yourself into an actual food coma. Man, what a meal(s) though.

 

  1. Don’t order a slice of cake at an authentic Italian restaurant because they will bring you an entire cake. How about just don’t go to New York restaurants with my family. Although you would apparently be missing out on a lot of cake.

 

  1. Do waste a lot of money on NBC merchandise. Buy those Fallon pajama bottoms! Make that Dunder Mifflin coffee mug yours! One could argue that you could wait until later and order that stuff online for a lower price, but that’s simply not the same. I like to think I’m purchasing my 30 Rock shot glass directly from Tina Fey herself. And then afterward we’ll take a shot together. And who knows, maybe after that she’ll suggest we go get manicures and perhaps get a dog together. That didn’t happen. But the chance of it happening is greater in the NBC gift shop than online at my house, ok?

 

 

I hope these tips are helpful. They may be too specific to my family to be considered universal, but I think you get the gist. My main point is do take spontaneous weekend trips with your family, especially if they’re loud and weird and don’t fit in anywhere. Oh, also, invest in comfortable shoes.

 

 

 

Dallas According to Katie

I moved to Dallas for a summer internship. After one week in this city, I have a few thoughts.

On Day 1, I wore Nike shorts and wet hair to The HEB Platinum (this is how I refer to Tom Thumb and/or other Dallas grocery stores) and I have not made that mistake since. People do not leave their homes unless they actually look presentable. This is new for me. Sometimes I’ll see a woman in yoga pants, but I can tell by her hairsprayed curls and flawless makeup that she did not come from the gym nor is she on her way to the gym. Nonetheless [insert any Dallas female] still looks better in “workout” gear than I do with real clothes on.

Luckily, I moved just in time to avoid the bring-your-own-bag rule at stores. Perhaps that changed because shoplifters were the target audience. I’m a little annoyed that it’s no longer a thing – I just bought all these cute bags to carry around the grocery store. However, I had to first buy bags to bring with me upon purchasing the cute bags, so you can imagine how many extra bags I am now burdened with.

 

Driving in Dallas is more terrifying to me than a montage of Chucky films. Trains appear quite literally out of nowhere. Everyone I’ve asked about this has told me I will probably not be hit by a train as long as I hear the sound which precedes a train’s appearance. Therefore I no longer listen to music. If someone is riding in my passenger’s seat, they too are to be silent. No sounds in the car anymore ever again. I will not be hit by a train. If I am going to die in Dallas, it will be from overdosing on popsicles (why are they so delicious here?).

Here’s something fun though! I’ve finally gotten to use my car horn! I’ve never actually used it in a real-life situation, but Dallas Katie has serious road rage. That newfound rage – coupled with the fact that cars decide at a moment’s notice to just park randomly in the far right lane with no warning or indication – makes for some exciting, yet permanently silent, driving adventures.

I would like to think that I’ll have time to explore the stimulating cultural exhibitions Dallas has to offer me, but I’ve calculated that most of my day is spent navigating some parking garage or another. The remaining hours are spent in elevators or aimlessly roaming around Whole Foods in awe of how many gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian meals there actually are. A lot. There are a lot.

 

Hindering my effort to make friends, I keep getting all the hundreds of Dallas sports teams confused. The Rangers do not in fact play the Cowboys and I guess there’s a hockey team or something? Oddly enough, no one seems to want to discuss the Spurs so I’m sort of at a loss. If I ever do pick a sport and go to any games, I would certainly not drive there myself (i.e. trains).

Despite the many Mavericks fans, the immense pressure to wear actual clothes and driving in general, I actually really enjoy living in Dallas. Stuff here stays open past 8 pm! And boys constantly walk around in suits. There’s an Anthropologie at the mall, so it’s already a step ahead of Waco, and I haven’t yet gotten stuck behind a tractor, so it’s already 10 points ahead of Boerne! Not too shabby.