(Dada note: Sometimes the blog you set out to write isn't the blog that results. What follows has nothing to do with what I had originally intended to say, which will have to wait for another day. In the meantime, forgive my self-absorption as I herein confess my sins.)
Well, I guess I'm a Texan. This isn't an easy confession. I think we often cling to experiences from childhood to define the rest of our lives, no matter how invalid over time they become. Being Oregon bred and born and California raised underlies all other experiences of my youth. I think of it as "who I am." What that does is make me a west coaster at heart (if not in reality).
But I've been living in Texas for over thirty years and whenever asked by a stranger, "Where you from?," I'm always sure to excuse my Texas residency with something like, "But it's as far west in Texas one can go," or "It's as far east in Texas I ever hope to be."
None of my origin or anecdotal apologetic footnotes--as hard as they try to dismiss it--can justify that living anywhere on the fringes of Texas does not make one somehow less Texan. And being lumped in with all Texans is one of the big regrets of life I will take with me to the grave.
Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't feel so guilt ridden if this was El Paso, New Mexico. But it isn't. Yet, for over the thirty plus years I've lived in El Paso, I've come to appreciate and love it. After all, we're only 6 miles from New Mexico, 8 miles from Old Mexico, either of which we're more part of than Texas, right?
But contrast my angst of who I am with that of our president. I wish I could be more like him. Being a yankee born in New Haven, Connecticut, he's Texan through and through. He's got the 'good-old boy' Texas drawl. I don't know if he had it during his Yalie years, but rest assured, when among his daddy's Texas mogul cronies, "Dubya's" definitely pure blue blooded Texan.
I wish I could be adaptive like that, but I can't. I've tried to develop the twang but I can't. (But that's one of the things that makes El Paso uniquely un-Texan--we don't talk like folks from Pecos just a couple hours east of here.)
So my apologies from this Texan, where, as noted on National Public Radio this morning, "if Texas were a country, it would be the seventh-largest carbon dioxide polluter in the world." Where our "National Car of Texas" is a 14-mile-per-gallon Chevy Suburban and "where the bigger the truck you drive and the bigger the gas guzzler you are, the better off you are." And as our governor, Rick Perry, admits, "if global warming is man made, it was caused by Al Gore's mouth."
Yes, and if arrogance and ignorance sometimes makes Texas the brunt of other's jokes, we have precisely the right person in our governor's mansion.