1. You don’t go to the Galleria.
Unless you enjoy ice skating and falling on your ass in front of a huge crowd, there really is no reason to go anywhere near this massive three-story mall. The Galleria is where you send your out-of-state visitors when you want some time to yourself. You do your shopping at local shops in Rice Village or the Heights.
2. You hesitate when a friend invites you to someplace outside of the Loop.
For you, the I-610 loop is a circular boundary that divides the hip inner city from, well, everything else. Everywhere you want to be or who you want to meet is inside the Loop, so there isn’t much motivation to leave. Also, you’re not ashamed to admit the only reason you never went out with that guy you met at the bar last week is because he lives outside the Loop.
3. …but you probably grew up in the suburbs or Katy.
Yes, it’s true. Most of us were raised in the suburbs outside of the city, which is why the moment we could move out, we flocked towards hip studio apartments in Montrose or the Heights, never once looking back. The rent is worth every penny more than living five minutes away from your parents’ house.
4. You’ve been to NASA only once, and it was probably for a school field trip.
Yes, we’re proud to call Houston the “Space City” but don’t ask us anything more about NASA’s mission control unit, which is actually a 30-mile drive to Clear Lake, which means going outside the Loop — hence why we never go.
5. You hate Dallas and you don’t know why.
It’s either ingrained in us from the moment of birth or there are just too many reasons we don’t even know where to begin.
6. You’ve spent at least one of your pre-18 Friday nights dancing to ’80s music at Numbers.
When you drive by this dark, seedy, warehouse-looking dance club on Westheimer in Montrose, you can’t help but reminisce about your high-school days, when you’d caravan with your friends to Numbers on Friday nights to dance (sober) with a bunch of creepos to ’80s music.
7. You’ve crowdsurfed at Fitzgeralds.
Old two-story house turned music venue, Fitz is where you go to see your favorite indie and punk rock bands perform rowdy shows. And if you’re a true Houstonian, the bouncer has kicked you off the stage at least once for crowdsurfing amongst the sweaty crowd.
8. You know what a feeder road is.
The access roads that run along an interstate, commonly known as frontage roads, are known as “feeders” in Houston. Maybe it’s because of the massive amount of freeways that wrap around and along our city that require constant merging, I don’t know, but we’ve aways called them feeders. You can’t even keep track of how many times you’ve been “corrected” by out-of-towners. Your only response is to politely ask them to go back to where they came from if they don’t like it.
9. Houston Restaurant Weeks excites you almost more than the holidays.
For one month, five-star restaurants all around Houston open their doors for the general, non-wealthy population to enjoy a three-course meal at an affordable fixed price. However, you learn to ignore the annoyed looks of the hostesses when you tell them you want the HRW menu instead of the full-priced menu and proceed to order the cheapest wine they serve by the glass.
10. You have an old Oilers jersey in your closet.
Even if you weren’t alive yet when the Houston Oilers were playing AFL games in the (now abandoned) Astrodome, you still keep their legacy alive. You may even be lucky enough to still have a foam finger or two, or a jersey one of your parents scored at a game in the 1970s.
11. Galveston will always be your favorite beach.
Yes, it might smell bad, and the water might be as brown as a mudslide, but Galveston will always be our favorite beach weekend getaway. Its quirky vibe, Strand Historic District, and the rows of beautiful Victorian houses will always make you defend this little island when out-of-towners have nothing better to say than, “It’s dirty.”
12. You’ve used “Westheimer traffic” as an excuse for being late.
Say it’s your first day of work at a new job and you accidentally snooze your alarm a few too many times. You throw your clothes on and rush out the door and show up 20 minutes late. The only sure-shot way to get your ass out of trouble is to blame the traffic on Westheimer. However, a true Houstonian knows about every side street and shortcut in this city to avoid driving on Westheimer, so if you’re new to town, you have at least a few months to use this excuse for being late. After a year, though, people will just start thinking you’re plain stupid for taking Westheimer in the first place.