Texas: More than I ever expected, which is kind of exactly what I expected

I’ve been in College Station, TX, this week. I’ve had a very nice time. Texas is a weird place.

I’m wondering if what Europeans feel when they come to America, is kind of like what non-Texans feel when they go to Texas. The food is cheap, the Dr. Pepper is served in ginormous tumblers, the service providers are effusive….etc. I’ve also made a number of other discoveries, some more surprising than others: 

  • Usually when I blowdry and style my hair, I can get 2-3 days out of it. But after less than 12 hours, I had the dreaded “wings,” and other crazy bendy things going on on my scalp. I didn’t have the time, products, or tools to do anything about it, so everyone here thinks my hair just looks like that. 
  • Giant cockroach crawled out of the drain while I was in the shower. What could I do? I wasn’t going to step on it with my bare foot! Eventually it got washed back down the drain, where it either drowned or made like the eensy weensy spider and climbed up the spout again.
  • The students here hold doors! They excuse themselves if they accidentally stumble into your path while texting (imagine)! They are exceedingly polite–unless you wear a hat inside the Memorial Student Center, which is dedicated to the memory of fallen alumni service members, in which case, they will hiss at you.
  • There is a thing here called ring day. As I understand it, when you get your class ring, your entire family comes to campus to witness the event. You skip all your classes, and go to the bar and drop your ring into a pitcher of beer, and then you have a certain number of seconds to drink your way to your ring. People all over town, in all stages of life, are wearing their rings with pride.
  • As the earnest, All-American teenage hotel shuttle driver told me, “People change the world here every day.”
  • There are surprisingly robust options for vegetarians at BBQ, Tex-Mex, and other local eateries. There is not just an absence of meat, but a colorful and tempting selection of vegetables and other fare.
  • This hotel is apparently the nicest one in town, and also the one that gets most university business. So it is hoppin’. I checked in on Wednesday, and since then there has been a Garden Club convention, an Alaskan Tankers convention (why in Texas? I don’t know), a swanky wedding, a family reunion and/or birthday party, some kind of event that brought two Frenchmen wearing bolo ties and socks with their sandals to town, and more maroon polo shirts than I can count.

What other secret knowledge about Texas should I take home with me?

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