Some of the people we met in Texas were quite vocal about expressing their dislike of New York. Or, more specifically, for the idea of New York, since they had never actually been there. A real conversation: "Where y'all from?" "We live in New York." "EWWWWWW." Now, I wouldn't say that New Yorkers are exempt from gross displays of place-ism. In fact, they are probably the worst offenders of them all, perhaps especially when confronted with the notion of Texas suburbs. I admit to harboring certain prejudices toward Texas, suburbs in general and New York City, where I've lived for over five years. And while they may all be based on reality, I've reached a point at which I can happily call bullshit on myself. Yes, Texas is a funny place where people can legally shoot you for coming on to their property. But I have never been around such a uniformly friendly group of people, who have no desire to talk religion or politics, but who just want to hang out, drink beer and be buddies. New Yorkers can be rude to the point of hostility, but they are typically unfazed by people with different accents, religions, cultures or haircuts. And while people in the suburban nail salon gossiped openly about my sister-in-law's haircut ("SHE's not from Conroe!"), they also chatted comfortably with me over the nail drier. On the plane coming home, I took this picture out the window. It's of former farm and forest land, developed into contrived formations of uniform little houses. I won't lie: The sight of this truly depresses me. But I bet there are some really nice people who live there.
06/09/11 This got picked up Gawker. Awesome! gawker.com/5810320/the-suburbs-still-suck-all-signs-indicate