Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Post by Alana Cash

Many times in different cities, I’ve heard people from the North or West Coast say how friendly people are in Texas.  Until I lived in New York, I didn’t really understand what they meant.  What they meant was that people working in Texas stores or banks greet their customers.  They’ll thank you for coming in, maybe even say they hope you’ll come back.    

What they people meant was that people in Texas have good manners and make you feel welcome.

My first week living in New York, I was amazed when a clerk in a subway booth actually said to me, can’t you read, meaning couldn’t I read the signs telling me which train went where instead of interrupting her reading the newspaper.  And in Los Angeles recently, I got really annoyed when I went to donate some books to a library sale and the elderly volunteer confronted me with, Can I help you?  Not in the Texas friendly way, but in the way that implied that I might have just robbed a liquor store.  I explained that I had books to donate and she pointed to a table at the back of the room and said, put them over there.  It was like I was delivering a pizza she’d ordered.  Pretending that she had said thank you, which she did not, I said, you’re welcome.  She just walked away.

It’s not that every single person in Texas is always polite, but the training is there.  The expectation is there.  When I check out at a grocery store in Texas, I am greeted and asked if I found everything I needed.  And if I haven’t, someone goes to fetch whatever I need and didn’t find.  I contrast that with my experiences in Brooklyn, where I finally got used to checking out at the grocery store without ever getting eye contract or one word from the clerk.  And if I hadn’t found something I needed – well, too late now.  Get out.

It’s not just attention I’m talking about either.  Anyone will get attention at the stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or at Prada in New York.  Maybe not so much out of good manners, as to keep you from stealing. 

What I’m talking about are the manners that make someone feel at ease.  I heard excuse me a dozen times from people who were passing through a 300,000-person crowd last time I was at the Fiesta Parade in San Antonio.  They only time I heard that phrase in New York was from tourists – yes, you can tell who they are – and teenaged boys in Brooklyn.  I’m not sure I’ve heard it once in Los Angeles.  People in Los Angeles are so preoccupied with getting there and getting there fast, ahead of everyone, that they don’t pay much attention to their effect on or behavior toward other people.

Just like you recognize the tourists in New York after you’ve been there a while, you recognize the people who have moved to Texas from the North or West Coast and have not yet acclimated.  They seem to be playing musical chairs, making sure they get a seat when there don’t seem to be enough for everyone.  If they only knew that if there aren’t enough chairs for everyone, someone will be going to the neighbor to borrow one. 

If you have been taught to treat people respectfully and make them feel welcome and at ease, you carry that with you wherever you are and people who didn’t learn it may label you as friendly or open or even soft.  I learned those things in Texas, but when I was learning it, we just called it behaving yourself.


Blogger Heather said...
I've been told that us Canadians are so polite. We let others in to traffic, then wave a thank-you to someone who lets us in. We say please and thank-you a lot. Makes it a nicer place to be.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I've been told that us Canadians are so polite. We let others in to traffic, then wave a thank-you to someone who lets us in. We say please and thank-you a lot. Makes it a nicer place to be.