Rich personalities entertain me. I truly enjoy the quirkiness of others. If anything, I have a distaste for those that suffocate their off-beat wackiness and conform to resemble drones. Give me a trail blazing, borderline weirdo and I will happily engage and appreciate their bold eccentricity. Those are the people who leave an imprint and their intriguing personality entertains my mind long after our meeting.
A while back, I had a rather rare evening to myself and decided to visit a local restaurant within walking distance from our abode. The kiddo was with the grandparents in Dallas and the hubby was out of town for work. So, I happily strolled along, hopeful the food and the ambiance would be good. On my previous walks, I’d heard live music coming from the patio which made it even more appealing.
I trotted along through a filled parking lot (good sign) and made my way inside. As a nice surprise, I found a friendly neighbor, perched at the bar. Michael, a retired, Jewish, New Yorker had fun stories to share about his life, business and globetrotting adventures. This place had a cozy neighborhood, “Cheers” like, vibe to it. I was digging it.
I joined him at the bar and we quickly picked up a conversation. He was telling me about his brother, the songwriter, and some of the most popular songs he’d written for the material girl herself as well as other big headliners he’d worked with.
Some moments into the conversation another local walked in and grabbed a seat near to us. Michael and Beth said hello and then he introduced me as the new kid on the block.
Beth seemed friendly enough. She, like me made the short hike to get here. Unlike me though she was a regular here. She seemed comfortable walking in ready to unwind and catch up with the locals. This was her arena. I was liking it, good atmosphere and seemingly friendly locals.
The three of us chatted just a little bit more and Michael threw in some more of his fun stories. My appetizer showed up and Michael’s recommendation didn’t disappoint. I was happy. This place has it all, good ambiance, good food and friendly locals. My excitement would be quickly curtailed. Beth looked at me with friendly eyes and popped the question. Where did you guys move from? I explained my hubby’s work moved us around some but that originally, we were from Dallas.
For perspective, know that I am a Dallas girl. I wasn’t born there but it’s where I’ve spent most of my existence and the place my family calls home. Beth was a proud Houstonian.
What do you think of Houston? she asked. Seems it was a rhetorical question. And so, she answered, you must be shocked how nice and friendly Houstonians are compared to Dallas. Ouch…really…. if I had feelings that might hurt a little bit, lady. That doesn’t seem to be my experience, I responded in a cool tone. I was thinking specifically about this conversation.
I could see this Beth was a weirdo, provocative, pot stirrer. She kept going with her anti-Dallas sentiments, clearly needing to speak her piece. Michael tried to interrupt this mostly one-sided debate with some jokes. I chuckled along, trying to help him steer the conversation elsewhere with no such luck.
I needed to quickly decide whether to indulge this Dallas vs Houston rivalry conversation. I realized it was best to opt out. This wasn’t my battle anymore. Beth continued to happily share her comparison of Dallasites vs Houstonians. Without ordering a main course I left after finishing my appetizer.
Several thoughts crossed my mind while listening to Beth that evening. I have been her in the past and spouted derogatory thoughtless comments about Houston and made cliché comparisons between these two giant metropolitan areas. Now, here we are happily thriving in Houston. Yet, Dallas (Plano) is still home and one of the very best places to live and the #1 safest city in the country per Forbes.
Over the last few months we’ve been back to this eatery several times, even ran into Michael a time or two and always enjoy the good service, food and ambiance. I haven’t seen Beth since that evening. She had personality and spoke her mind. For that reason, I wouldn’t mind revisiting with her but maybe this time I would guide the conversation and try and push her buttons a little. Possibly good fodder for my writing.
Occasionally, her words from that evening will occupy my thoughts. While Beth may not have conducted herself as a friendly or kind Houstonian she fearlessly spoke her mind and shared a passionate perspective of her reality. What’s so wrong about that.
Do we have a winner? Well…. That really depends. It’s easy enough to quantify if we’re talking about crime rate, climate, traffic, politics, culture and things to do. However, when it comes to comparing the people, here’s the truth. DFW and Houston are the 4th and 5th largest metropolitan areas in the country. They are both large cities with very diverse populations. The people Beth described as Houstonians do exist and the ones she described as Dallasites also exist. They exist just as much in both places and beyond. I’ve lived and travelled all over the world and in my typical universe wherever I happen to hang my hat I can search out and find my type of people. They’re always nearby. The names and faces may change some, yet I can always find them by the warmth in their smile and an energy that conveys their enthusiasm for life. Like Michael they have stories of a life lived to the fullest or they’re in the midst of their amazing adventure.
Hope this blog served to entertain, enlighten, inspire, or possibly provoke you a bit. What are your thoughts or experiences on Dallasites vs Houstonians? Have you lived in or visited, either of these cities? Or what are your comparisons on a city that rivals yours?
In case you didn’t know, tomorrow is national Gynell day. So, go right ahead and give yourself the Saturday off to celebrate me. Your welcome!!
Till next time, go forth and be your best weird, wacky self.