I used to wish I were Jewish. The coolest people all seemed to be Jewish and I wanted in the club and even have my own belated Batmizvah. But after spending four months in Austin, Texas I have replaced wanting to be one of God’s Chosen People with wanting to be one of God’s Texan People.
Or maybe some mix of the two?
One of the many perks of being an actor is that you often get opportunities to live in different cities for months at a time. I have lived in South Carolina, Washington DC, Key West, Toronto, and London to name just a few.
But my newest love is the Lone Star State.
It’s the southern hospitality that makes me swoon.
My first day in Texas, when a man held the door open at Starbucks, I looked around expecting to see his family following or a person in a wheelchair, but no he was holding the door open for ME. This has continually happened. Men open doors for me, which instantly makes me feel giddy and oddly worthy. If more young men had held the door for me when I was younger – a lot more young men would have gotten lucky. I think this is the definition of “easy.”
Then there is the Texan warmth. On my third day of attending the same yoga class a woman (whom I now know as Amelia) came up, gave me a hug and said, “Hi, wanna go shopping sometime?” Amelia now texts me whenever there is an amazing sale going on in some cool, little, Austin store.
Next, some Texan friends invited my daughter and me to join them at a UT football game. First, a package arrived in the mail containing 2 bedazzled “Texas Longhorn” t-shirts. Then our new friends picked us up in their HUGE car, popped the back, filled HUGE cups with Skinny Margarita Mix and proceeded to throw a mini tailgate party in my driveway. We designated the 16 year old as the responsible driver and 3 Moms with 6 kids partied all the way to the stadium. Man, these people know how to turn anything into an adventure.
The bedazzled Longhorn t-shirt. Wore it proudly. Big car, big cups, big fun.
I rented a sweet little house in Austin with a screened in porch, where on my days off I have coffee and meditate. Within the first week of being here neighbors dropped off maps, lists of nearby grocery stores, and invitations to tea. One sweet woman brought over the contact list of all the neighbors in a 4-block radius which included their home phones, cells numbers, kids names and ages!
Heavenly screened in porch where coffee and meditating happen.
On the weekends the kids have lemonade stands, and in the evenings I hear the neighborhood come alive with the sound of children playing in their yards. They are just dinking around, playing. I can’t remember the last time I saw kids in that floaty-kind-of-bored-aimless space where they are actually MAKING UP THEIR OWN FUN.
Small Texan & trusty hound watching filming still wearing his gear from riding the range… and keeping Gotham City safe.
In a local grocery store, a very polite homeless man addressed Timothy Hutton, who plays my ex-husband. As Tim was wheeling his cart down the cracker aisle, the homeless man exclaimed, “Hey you look like… Tim….uh… Tim…Tim…”
“Hutton?” Tim replied.
“Yeah! Tim Hutton that’s who you look like!”
“Yeah,” said Tim, “I get that a lot.”
Then the guy looked at Tim with concern and said gently, “Hey man, I hope I didn’t just insult you?”
I mean, I know everyone has a dark side (according to Kelly Clarkson and Carl Jung). I don’t agree with a lot of the politics in this state; I really get twisted up about the 13 women’s health and abortion clinics having been shut down and I don’t think we are on the same side of the fence when it comes to gun control. But this is America and we get to disagree and duke it out. I know for sure Texans are great to be around. They are enthusiastic and live life large; they are generous, polite and see the glass as half full. They go to church on Sunday and follow it up with a BBQ. I like their unapologetic stance that Texas is the center of the planet. Maybe it is. It takes a big state to grow Rick Perry and Wendy Davis.
True, Austin is the only city in Texas where I have lived, but it seems to me to be the jewel in the crown. Everyone here is a musician or at least a music lover. How can you not adore a city where within a couple miles you can find a band playing, kids dancing and older folks doing the two-step?
Older folks two-stepping – outside Central Market.
And I have happily tripled the number of republicans I know.
Giving thanks for Texas and for Austin and that I am lucky enough to experience new places and new people.
I wish y’all a Happy Turkey Day.