Rabbit Hole #9: Texas
Random observations from one month in the Lone Star State ⭐️
My adventure in Texas at Creator Cabins has concluded. I am now, briefly, in New York City, and by next week I’ll be back home. Sounds like the right time to tell you all I learned about Texas!
Some people asked me if my impressions of Texas matched my expectations of it. This begged the question: what, if any, were my expectations?
I honestly didn’t have very precise ones. Vague stereotypes about flying the Texas flag, wearing cowboy hats, conservative values, and tumbleweeds I guess?
Turns out the flag one is true. They fly the Texas flag quite a lot, often together with the US flag. There’s this place called Dreamland that has mini golf, disc golf, very random other activities, and a giant version of both flags.
In fact Texas really likes all symbols that can represent their state. The lone star is everywhere. It helps that the name “Texas” has five letters, which you can tastefully combine as in the chandeliers on the ceiling of the Texas State Senate:
Also the shape of Texas itself is everywhere. Notably in the soap:
As for cowboy hats and conservative values, I don’t think I’ve interacted with the locals nearly enough to make a fair assessment. The tumbleweeds bit is maybe true in the desert west of the state, but not in the region in and around Austin where I spent all of my time.
2) Six Flags over Texas
One particular symbol Texans seem to enjoy is the “Six flags over Texas” bit of trivia. Did you know that there were six modernstates that controlled at least part of the state over the years?
Spain (who claimed the area in 1519)
France (briefly for a colony in the 1680s, and also parts of the gigantic Louisiana territory before they sold it to the US in 1803)
Mexico (which became independent from Spain in 1821 and was then much bigger than it is now)
Republic of Texas (it was its own independent country for a while! In 1836 there was lots of English-speaking settlers in Mexican Texas and they had their own revolution)
United States of America (after the Republic joined the Union in 1845)
Confederate States of America (during the civil war in the 1860s; the shortest-lived and, uh, the most ethically questionable one)
Also, yes, it turns out this is the origin of the “Six Flags” theme parks franchise.
3) The sky
Texas has cool storms.
There were multiple flashes every second. The clouds were lighting up all the time. It was far in the distance; we were not directly in it (later in the night, we were). All of us residents of the cabin spent a lot of our time on the patio, looking in awe at the trembling sky. One of my friends says Zeus favors the American southwest.
On another night, we drove to Enchanted Rock, a very large dome of red granite. We climbed to the top after climbing to the top was technically not permitted (half an hour after sundown) and we watched the stars. Unfortunately the only app I had to take astrophotography pics was crap, so all I got was stuff like this:
I suppose it would make a good album cover, as my friend said. Might as well make it the cover of this Substack post.
excluding anything indigenous