1. Everyone is bigger than you.
Many Texans are big people, and chances are, even if wherever you’re from you’re seen as big, there will be plenty of folks in Texas who can make you feel small.
2. Warning signs for open carry.
Since open carry became legal in Texas not too long ago, advertising firms have had a field day designing signs and writing text on windows to warn gun owners their firearms are not welcome at certain businesses. It’s almost comical when you see such a sign at a Chili’s and think, “Who would bring their guns to eat a hamburger…?”
Texans, that’s who.
3. Roadside stops have no healthy options.
You might expect the gas station in the middle of nowhere to not have a gluten-free corn dog — well, except for California — but Texas pull-over businesses deny the existence of salad, juice, or anything that isn’t fried. Still, there’s no denying Bucee’s knows its customers.
4. You start noticing more Whataburgers than McDs.
The numbers are actually in McDonald’s favor on this one: over 1200 golden arches with just over 700 white and orange roofs. I suppose our Texan eyes just glaze over when we spot Ronald’s place at an intersection because the brand is too familiar. That — or Texans demand the best in their fast food burgers.
5. You drive for an hour, and can see where you came from.
There’s an expression over here: “Texas is so flat, you can watch your dog run away for two weeks.” In all my travels, I’ve only seen one place flatter that wasn’t a salt flat or desert, and that’s Kansas.
6. Chips are free with Tex-Mex.
If you’re a Texan worth her salt, you’ll judge the Mexican food based on the quality of the chips and salsa before the meat and cheese. There’s a reason the food sucks anywhere else, and it’s not only because some of these so-called Mexican places out of state have the audacity to charge for chips. Why not add $1 every time I order mustard with a hot dog?
7. The average small talk is more intimate than your last ten conversations with lovers, friends or family.
I don’t know what it is about the south, especially the Lone Star State that suddenly allows two people waiting in line at the self-checkout suddenly start spilling deeply personal medical information, but you’re bound to overhear a few secrets you didn’t expect.
8. If you don’t like the weather, wait an hour.
Texas in spring, autumn, and winter can experience all four seasons inside of a week, sometimes within a day. If it’s your first-time visiting Dallas and you look out the window at random times, you’ll probably think the apocalypse is soon to be upon us.
9. Languages other than English are everywhere.
There are about seven million Spanish speakers in the Lone Star State, and over 140 languages spoken in Houston alone. Even many of our town names are derived from German.
10. Our smells are fascinating, if not always a delight.
If you ever want to experience Texas through your nose, try a road trip. Roadkill skunks are always fun, as is passing thousands of cattle… you’ll probably struggle to breathe in that case. On the other hand, there’s nothing like tasting the clean dry air out west, or enjoying the scent of cedar in central Texas.