We've been in Dallas almost 2 years now and the question I am still asked most frequently is, "so how do you like Dallas?" And honestly this is a tricky question for me answer. It's not that it's a bad place - it's just kind of a different place - but I never want to say that for fear of offending some die-hard Dallas native. So I usually turn these conversations into a Q&A where I try to get answers to my long-running Dallas quandries. Here are my top 3:
1.) Why are there so many highways here? Where do they all go? Why are 10 more always being built at any given time? And why do they each have an alphabetical name, a number, and then a nickname? Take, for example, the George Bush Turnpike. Also known as 161 in some places. Also known as "the toll road." I am afraid of this road. I have no idea where it goes, except that whenever I accidentally end up on any of these roads the right lane suddenly becomes exit only and I soon find myself in the parking lot of a Mexican strip club. This is why it takes me 45 to get to the mall when it could take me 5. I only take local roads, which means driving along truck routes and through cow pastures. Luckily Audrey loves cows so it's a win-win.
2.) What is the deal with Chik-fil-A? Chik-fil-A is like a bizarre second religion down here. Everyone eats at Chik-fil-A. As much as they possibly can. If you are looking for someone and can't find them you should go to Chik-fil-A because they are probably there. I cannot figure out what is so unique about Chik-fil-A, except that they aren't open on Sundays, they raise their chickens in an anti-gay environment, and they will give you half sweet tea half unsweetened tea mixed together if you ask really nicely at the counter. I have eaten at Chik-fil-A once and I ordered a fruit cup. I've since concluded this is why I have no friends.
3.) What exactly is Vacation Bible School and why do I need to send my child to this? Ever since we moved to Dallas I've been hearing about "vacation Bible school" and how this is a must-do in the summer when it's 125 degrees for the 63rd day in a row, and you need a break from your child. I get that it's some sort Christian-based day camp but what exactly do they do all day? Two and three-year olds can only sit around reading the Bible for so long - I have seen this first hand at Audrey's preschool. So what else do they do? Is it really free? If it's free is there some kind of catch? Like I'm handing my child over to a secret religious cult? No one can seem to give me the details on this and the web is not much more informative. Of course, none of this will stop me from sending Audrey if it's really free.
I don't say any of this to bash Dallas, or Texas. And it could be that these things are less characteristic of Dallas than they are of the south in general. These are just some of the things us crazy Yankees notice when we leave our bubble on the East Coast.