Geographically, we Texans know that the difference between East and West Texas lies in the Balcones Fault line, running from Del Rio to Dallas. Culturally, there’s enough diversity and space in the Lone Star State to be at least 5-6 areas. However, people from the east know all too well what sets them apart from those in the west and vice-versa.
1. Where the south begins.
Texas is the buffer zone between the south and the southwest, and we like it that way. Not only can we usurp southern culture and claim it as our own, but we get to complain about the dry heat of the desert. Sometimes it feels like East Texas might as well be a part of Louisiana: it’s greener and more humid that any place out west, but they’re still our people.
2. Leisure sports.
There’s no arguing the fact dressing up in camo, slinging a rifle over your shoulder, and trudging out into the woods at 5 AM is a popular pastime all over the Lone Star State, but you’ve got to take the climate into account. East Texas is practically in the bayou with all its heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, and so the lakes and tanks make for some good fishing. Out west, the game are plentiful: whitetail deer, mule deer, duck, quail. Any activity as an excuse to crack open a Shiner at the end of the day.
3. Preparing for the apocalypse.
East Texas knows all too well about natural disasters, having been hit by quite a few hurricanes over the years and prematurely panicking over light showers. West Texas, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to fear from water or wind – tornadoes typically hit farther north – but wouldn’t fare well during the zombie apocalypse. Despite your favorite uncle owning a gun shop, don’t forget rule #1: cardio.
4. How oil is used.
West Texas removes the black gold from the ground, from pumps that churn endlessly and stretch across Texas to the sunset. East Texans process the crude stuff in Houston refineries, giving it the nickname carcinogenic coast. One could make the argument Houston was responsible for its own demise when it comes to traffic, by providing cheap gasoline in the early days of Texas and making cars ubiquitous.
5. Power to the people.
With the exception of El Paso, nearly the entire population of Texas lies east of the Balcones Fault. This includes all the major cities, the capital, and the companies and businesses most people associate with Texas. Although Texas is big enough that no place in the state can say they’re cramped with a straight face, there’s definitely more of a small town culture in the west – that happens when you have to drive 300 miles to reach the nearest Whole Foods.
Because gambling is illegal in New Mexico and there are no signs of life north and east of the Texas panhandle, West Texas is limited to Native American casinos if they want their blackjack fix; even these are limited to a handful out west. It’s also prohibited in Texas, but that isn’t a problem for people out east: just hop in your car and you’ll be in Lake Charles or Shreveport in no time.
7. Only one side has Haboobs.
I don’t blame you if you need to Google that. Usually haboobs are seen in the Middle East, but West Texas has seen its fair share of giant walls of wind and sand. Once things do calm down, you’re probably looking at the most beautiful sunset as far as the eye can see.
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