I am in Texas. I did not know what to expect. I am staying in a town called Irving which is about 20 minutes from the Dallas Love Field airport that I flew into. When I was planning my trip, I almost did not rent a car. That would have been a dreadful mistake. The teeny part of Texas that I am in seems huge. The roads are giant and there are a lot of them, think of the H-1 but on steroids. And I swear I saw a speed limit 75 sign today. 75! I am lucky if I am doing 60. Especially since I am trying really hard to not get lost.
Back when I was younger and we used to drive places, like Great Adventure in New Jersey, we would get lost. Soul crunchingly lost. And my boyfriend at the time would be the driver. I was supposed to be the navigator. And the person who kept him awake while everyone else slept. I took the job very seriously. And we were often lost. Driving late at night somewhere near NYC or in the bowels of Jersey. It made me hate getting lost. And I still feel like that. It was the thing I was afraid of most coming to Texas. Driving around. But, after ditching google maps for waze, things have been going all right. I don’t want to jinx myself but whenever I hear that waze voice telling me that I have arrived at my destination I feel a tinge of pride with myself.
But I digress. Today I toured Dallas Stadium. I didn’t know what to expect. I loved it. I loved being in Mr. Jones’ box (called “the perch” by our tour guide – and it has its own private elevator). I loved the giant monitor over the field. I loved that they sell cheap standing tickets to the games (there are bar-like tables that are behind the last seats in the sections). And I totally had my picture taken with Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders on the field (they told me that they were not allowed to do a shaka, which was sad but not surprising).
Then I drove to the Dallas Museum of Art where the admission is free but the parking is $12. It is a lovely building and they had an exhibit on the “art of the cocktail” an exhibit made for me (or maybe my friend Joe). I took my waitress’ advice (see previous blog post) and visited the food trucks at the park across the street from the museum. I ended up getting French toast and brown butter gelato. It was quite yummy.
The only bad thing about Texas, the need for driving and the possibility of getting lost, it has completely curtailed my drinking. It seems like a bad idea. So I decided to grab food from chipotle (next to the hotel and we don’t have that in Hawaii) and have a glass of wine at the hotel bar. That was great. I hope that we get chipotle in Hawaii because it was really good.
With the evening before me I decided to go to the local arts center. The town that I am staying in, Irving, seems pretty up and coming to me. There is a bunch of construction and some lovely town homes around a lake. Although I have yet to see a grocery store. There was a dance performance and a play at the arts center tonight. I decided to go to the dance performance. The company was small, six dancers. And the first part of the show featured them dancing together and in pairs. But, the reason, I think that most of the people were in the audience, was the grand finale. When I bought my ticket to the performance at the box office ten minutes before it was to start, the woman told me that there were dogs and a longhorn cattle in the show. I seriously thought that I had misheard her.
The finale featured a cast of local Irving residents. Big and small. Of all shapes, sizes and ages. And they danced about their love of Texas. There was a part where state flags were taken out and numerous individuals ran across the stage with them. There was a part where a smoking barbeque was walked across the stage. And then, a Texas longhorn was brought out. It was tremendous. The biggest animal I have ever seen outside of a zoo. And then all of the dancers, local and the company were on the stage in a haze of red, white and blue dancing to Michael Jackson. And the whole thing, while veering really close to being over the top, never felt that way. It felt right. It felt right for Texas. And I was so glad that I had decided to go. Because when you are in Texas, you go big, or go home. I am embracing Texas in all its bigness.