It is starting to feel like Spring outside. (What that means in Texas is: mornings start off in the 30’s but by mid afternoon it is up to almost 85 degrees.) The sunshine, birds, and greenery has put me in a much more dapper mood and I am now officially out of my “I hate the country” funk.
However, as I drove home the other night, wishing for a bowl of baba ganoush and some pita. I decided I was going to make a list of things that I miss about the city. (It needs to be said, that whenever I start to feel nostalgic about the amenities of the city, my husband reels me in with a, “How often did you go there?” His practicality, in this one instance, is annoying. The understanding that. just having the option available could be considered enough to make me content, is lost on him.)
1. Culturally diverse foods
Even on my most lax days, I wouldn’t consider Panda Express to be Chinese food and at half an hour away, that would be my closest option. I miss Indian, Mediterranean, and Asian foods. Whitewright has two restaurants and a Dairy Queen. One is Mexican and the other is Bar-B-Que. (It’s a stereotype of Texas cuisine for a reason.) The other day, while in a crowd of people, I overheard a woman say, ” I saw a great recipe for chocolate cake with “gah-no-key” icing”. No one corrected her. How could they? Who out here would even know the difference between gnocchi and ganache?
2. Pizza Delivery
Technically, this is two fold. I also miss Papa John’s and their disgustingly artery clogging garlic butter gelatinous goo. While in the city, I never actually ate Papa John’s but somehow, because my options are limited to Domino’s and Pizza Hut. (since I don’t actually own one of those nifty pizza cozies to keep my pizza warm if I were to travel further to purchase said pizza) my desire for Papa John’s has intensified.
Oh, the wonderful city days of zooming around listening to Diane Rehm, Fresh Air, and This American Life are over. To listen to NPR now, I must make a concerted effort to tune in to 88.9 if I drive southeast, 90.1 if I drive south, and 99.3 if I drive northwest. It is a constant balancing act and it is driving me insane. Especially since one of these stations plays the program with a 5 minute delay from the other two. When you incorporate an Ira Glass pause in to the equation, that 5 minute delay can feel like an eternity.
4. Museums/ cultural events
I don’t need to elaborate on what we gave up when it comes to museums and cultural events. You can well imagine the plethora of art, plays, ballets, operas, symphonies, all available at leisure. It can be best summed up by one picture:
This is the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. The building appears to rest on an 18 inch deep reflecting pool. It was designed by the famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, and is one of my most favorite buildings in Fort Worth.
In contrast, my husband took the children to see this, extremely popular, event in Whitewright:
Click here for video.
Obviously, I declined to go.
Oh, but all is not lost. If ever I start to mourn my cultural loss of Shakespeare in the Park, I can rejoice in the knowledge that every year Whitewright offers an Annual Fiddlefest. Lest I forget their Rose Tour.
If I care to step out of my town for the day, there is a dandy of a new museum that has just opened in Sherman. It is called Harber Wildlife Museum. Before I elaborate further, here is a picture:
It was constructed in an old restaurant. As I have come to find out, Mr. Harber is quite the world hunter. All 150 animals in this “museum” were killed by him. Here is a quote given by Mrs. Harber concerning their philanthropic work.
“There’s nothing like it when you arrive (in Africa) and see your first species. All of a sudden you’re in the middle of National Geographic,” said Dorothy Harber. “It’s all about culture. It makes you appreciate in your heart what you have.”
The newspaper goes on to explain:
“The couple, who donate the meat from all their kills to area villagers, recalled stories of women walking 50 miles for a portion, and in a culture where breastfeeding is the only option for babies, that means carrying the little ones along.”
Unfortunately, as I understand it, to do a safari in Africa, donating the meat is mandatory... watching breastfeeding women walk 50 miles for food is optional. YEA, HARBERS!!!
Which, clearly brings me to #5-
Obviously I am a Democrat. I am a vegetarian who is appalled by hunting. While, I confess, this is Texas so finding a Democrat is difficult to begin with, try moving to the edge of nowhere and finding one here. 99% – 99.9% of people out here carry guns. Since it is believed that all Democrats want to abolish the 2nd amendment, you couldn’t convince one of these people to go blue if you left them naked in Antarctica for a month.
6. My dentist
First this (and yes, those are my molars poking out):
My old dentist never made me wear this horrible tooth trap. I don’t care if my NEW dentist says it is the law, it makes me feel like the long lost sister of Chatterbox.
I stole away to the bathroom in order to take that picture. When I got back to the room, the dentist asked me if I took a picture of myself. I felt it was an odd question to ask since I can’t visualize that many people wanting to revisit this experience but I nodded honestly and was met with a 5 minute lecture on how photographing a dental procedure was illegal. So there I was, confined to this horrible, latex, tooth trap, dollar store sunglasses, unable to verbally retaliate, and left feeling very much like a scolded third grader. Personally, I just don’t think that he wants anyone to possess photographic evidence of the torture he is inflicting on his clients. How do you like this, doctor, now the whole world can witness your perversion?!
6. High speed internet.
Nick and I waited almost two years before we forfeited our dream of getting high speed internet at our home. Verizon says not only is it not available but they have no plans to make it available either. Depressed, we contacted HughesNet. Here is what their website says,
“With HughesNet® as your high-speed satellite Internet service, your super-fast, always-on, satellite Internet access is ready when you are – no dialing in, no waiting, and no tied-up phone lines. You can download files in seconds, check email instantly, and surf faster than you ever imagined.”
Awesome, huh? Let me say, that you could invent a time traveling device, go back and conduct an interview with Abraham Lincoln, then write a book about your experience, in faster time than it would take me to download the Gettysburg Address in PDF format.
That is not entirely true, but as you are staring at a blank screen for 10 minutes before finally giving up and turning everything off…. it feels true. I hate HughesNet and thus I hate Verizon.
Honestly, this is just self explanatory. Aside from driving all of our recyclables to my in-laws, our choices are nil. I wonder if global warming is even taught in schools out here.
was a small pile of rocks, with the one word…
This category covers a wide spectrum of things (including those listed above). I miss the variety of people that the city offers, I miss the variety of services the city offers, I miss the variety of places that I can buy things from and all of that within a 10 mile radius of your home. Unless you have lived in the city, you simply can not understand what convenience is. My husband would point out that all of those options contain vast crowds of people and many miles of traffic. This is something we don’t have to deal with out here. There are no lines when you do your Christmas shopping. It is almost worth it to drive the 100+ miles to shop at the Target or BestBuy, in Sherman, for Black Friday, really. Walmart may be another story though.
Of course, the trade-off’s are innumerable. When we first moved in to the house, I made the mistake of standing in a pile of fire ants. Faster than Clark Kent could change in to Superman, I had my pants ripped off and was dancing around like a lunatic. We took our two year old son to a park in Dallas, last fall, when he saw the beautifully constructed pond. He had thrown his shoes off and was working on getting his pants down before we could catch him and explain that he couldn’t be naked here, like at home. Outdoor nudity, a plus to country living.
Our children attend a small school where the principle greets every child by name each morning. Small school, a plus to country living. On the flip side, the other day when we were at a bookstore in the city, my daughter commented on a little girl wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat by saying, indignantly, “She is dressed like a cowboy and she doesn’t even live in the country!” The fact that she felt that this little girl was impeding on her, personal, lifestyle may end up being a problem.
When all else fails to put my yearning for the city in perspective, I can look at the sunset’s reflection on my pond and know that we made the right choice. (It also helps that I know it is all just a waiting game, and I have already told Nick when the kid’s are grown we are moving back to the city. He has laid down some terms and conditions but has reluctantly agreed.)