Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Calm, Cool Texas
I love Texas. And we're finally here. But we're crammed in a traffic jam, backed up on Interstate 10 from Rose City to Beaumont.
I check the Web and learn that hours ago, a truck overturned carrying hazardous material. So the fire department closed a part of this main Texas thoroughfare for cleanup.
So we're stuck. With thousands of others. Oh, we're moving. But not much. We inch, then sit.
I look around. Hmmm. No one appears angry or even irritable. No frustrated horn blasts. No yelling, cursing. No fist shaking at God. People behave, well, cordially. This is Texas. So laid back.
Oh, look. A few hot-rodders scramble past us on the shoulder. Ha! They gain a five-car advantage. An ambulance scoots by, using that same space. Everyone edges over, courteously. A Texan being born?
Finally, after nearly three hours, we and thousands of others funnel to freedom down the little Magnolia Street exit, which leads us to our 10 p.m. fast-food dinner.
A lady next to me in line stands with her arms relaxed, reading the menu. She's with two teen girls, who cuddle, giggling, over a freezer case.
"Were you on the highway?" I ask.
"Oh, yes," the lady clicks her tongue, tucks her chin and looks at me over her glasses. "We came to Beaumont for a prom dress. Well, that store's sure closed by now. And I'm not doing this again tomorrow. She'll shop in Lake Charles."
"Well, how's she taking it?" I asked. Then thought, silly me. I know the answer. A missed prom-dress opportunity? Pure meltdown.
"Not well at all," the lady clucked.
I look at the teens again, straining to find that angst, that teenage prom-dress drama. But, they look calm.
Just like all those drivers.
I love Texas.