Sunday, July 17, 2011

You never get a second chance to create a first impression!

My hubby believes that first impressions are never wrong! Interesting, given that my first impression of him was ‘what a fat arrogant bastard’! He was stood at a bar with his mate giving girls that walked by marks out of ten. He knew I knew what he was doing. He would watch them walk by, look them up and down from behind and then whisper the score to his mate then give me a cheeky smile. I think he thought this was endearing me to him! He then quite obviously directed his friend’s attention toward me and whispered his verdict. Fresh out of university I went over to spout some sort of feminist self righteous vitriol at him for having the audacity to demean women by ‘scoring ‘ them on something as superficial as looks. The rest is history! I married the f**ker! He never did tell me what score he gave me. His first impression of me must have been favourable. The jury is still out on whether my first impression of him was ultimately the right one!
Sometimes I believe our first impressions are completely wrong. Following a successful interview for a new job, I remember meeting a new colleague that I was to line-manage. He was well over 6 foot tall and virtually cubic. His shaven head and cabbage ears gave the clear indications of a rugby player. Towering over me and blocking any day light, he scowled at me… all ruddy faced and angry. I remember gulping as I offered my hand out to shake his and thinking – shit – how am I ever going to manage this! I silently howled laughing when he gave me a very limp, wet hand shake and introduced himself in the most camp girly voice I have ever heard, followed by a cheesy grin! I would never in a million years have connected that man to that voice and personality. First impressions can be misleading!
Today I flew to Houston. I am traveling there with the task of finding somewhere to live so that we can relocate within the next couple of months. I arrived in Houston not without expectations. I imagined Houston to be like that 6 foot cubed man. Big and mean.  I expected to arrive at the airport in Texas to be asked if I have any firearms. I was convinced that when I said no they would hand me some guns and tell me ‘Y’all be needing these then’.
I came armed with statistics. In 2005, of 60 US executions 19 were in Texas. That seems a disproportionate share for 50 states! In February a law was passed to allow 500,000 students in 38 Texan universities to carry concealed firearms. Apparently 70% of Texans were opposed to it. It clearly made no difference. I made the mistake of reading the novel ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ recently. I wish I hadn’t. It was about a kid who kills all his classmates in America. It is bad enough worrying about whether your child completed work in class or remembered to wash their hands at lunch or after they had been made to clean the toilet by their bully, without worrying if their classmate has their AK47 with them today! However, further research showed that first impressions and snippets of information can be misleading. Texas is not the most trigger happy state. The firearm death rate (per 100,000) put Texas at #26, way behind North Carolina at #15. That may of course be something to do with the fact that Texas is huge and has more people to shoot to water down the figures. Sarah Palin’s home state of Alaska was at #2!!! I thought she only shot bears!
I was told that Texas was unbearably hot. I find North Carolina too hot on occasion. People in the UK just think you are ‘show-boating’ as my dad would say when you claim it is too hot (when it is pissing down with rain and cold in the middle of July in England). 101°F which ‘feels’ like 110°F is TOO hot by any stretch of the imagination. As it happens Texas was a mere 97°F today. I had to put me cardie on! My Mom told me her friend had relatives who had moved to Houston and they hated it. I was dismayed and asked how long they had lived there. 'Oh, 40 years.' she said! MMMmmmm!
I had been told Houston was the fattest city I the world. I upon arrival after 9 hours of traveling we went to ‘Texas land and cattle steak house’. I saw the three fattest people I have ever seen in my life, tucking into a heifer but the rest of the restaurant were just working on super-sizing. The portions were immense! Not for the first time in the states I felt like Mr. Creosote before the last wafer thin mint! I was full! As could be expected, with 16 million cows living in Texas, it happened to be the best steak I have eaten in the world! …but then I was hungry enough to eat a…cow! Texas doesn’t just boast the fattest – it seems to have some surprises – the world’s smallest man at 2’ 5” tall is from Texas.
There is no denying - Texas is big – 268,000 square miles big compared to 88,744 square miles of the British Isles.  The flight, in state, from Dallas to Houston was an hour! As for Houston, it is huge! As we landed I could see the city skyline in the distance. In the haze it looked like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. I’m not sure yet whether upon closer inspection, it too will be all smoke, screens and mirrors! The roads from the airport to the hotel were big! Up to 14 lanes wide. All concrete because it gets so hot tarmac would melt! I thought negotiating the Spaghetti junction in Birmingham (UK) was daunting. It was like Tagliatelle on acid in Houston! Spaghetti Weston in cars!
From my initial glimpses it isn’t quite what I expected. I think I had mistakenly imagined Tombstone Arizona when I conjured up pictures of Houston, Texas! I didn’t see one 10 Gallon hat today! A year ago I felt like I had landed on Mars. When I arrived in Houston I hoped it would feel like a different planet. It didn’t! On the surface it didn’t look that different to North Carolina and I still feel like I am on Mars. It does seem overwhelmingly big, hot and scary. Not unlike the rugby playing colleague. I guess I need to wait to hear what sort of voice and personality Houston really has! Who knows it may be all squeaky, funny and camp!


  1. I can't wait to see if your first impression of Houston was right or wrong.

  2. Wooooooohooo!, Hot dang diggety, you gonna lasso ya one o them there steers, go for a swim in ya seement pond or strike oil in ya back yarrrrd?. Mighty fahn blog there missy, been a while now, ya'll take care now x

  3. If you thing everything is huge just imagine how it looks to the children.The roads would frighten the life out of me. Happy house hunting.Brillient blog.xxxx