One of the warnings I received before moving to Houston and the South in general is that things and people moved slower here. I didn’t take it to mean slow in terms of intelligence though often that seemed to be implied. I expected it was meant in terms of motivation and spunk. I’ve been here over a year now and while I am still gathering information, I am definitely experiencing more than a bit of that slowness and it’s quite frustrating.
Customer service at larger establishments and chains are fine. Small businesses or one-of’s of any kind are a gamble and often one wonders how many of them stay afloat. Government run agencies are mostly terrible with levels of incompetence and indifference reaching far beyond what would seem to be reason. You can literally be on the phone for hours, escalating issues to supervisors and even their superiors and it could still take weeks to get issues resolved. This appears to be accepted as normal.
I’ve had no problem finding educated and hard working people here but there appears to be an unearned pretentiousness that seems to permeate all manner of conversation with most that I have met. It’s as if people have peaked early and feel deserving of reverence due to their high opinion of themselves and their accomplishments. This is not to say that people aren’t nice here. The legendary Southern charm is alive and well but it’s veneer is often proven thin should you find yourself inquisitive enough to dig below the surface. The only people I seem to be able to stomach enough to stay connected to are transplants from other places outside of Texas.
I’m sure I am part of the problem. For me indifference is profane. Acceptance of what you can clearly see as wrong is a sin. “It is what it is,” being the worst curse phrase of all. This is however the South and Texas besides so there is no clear or safe place for my pulpit and pontifications here. There are certainly moments when I boil a bit under my skin but I am getting better at accepting more of those things, and people, I cannot change. It helps that I don’t let such people to get close and certainly do not have them into my home.
The worse part if I’m constantly around it, like I am at work, it’s catchy. Luckily it’s temporary. The biggest challenge with all this is making real friends. I am indeed a stranger in a strange land and like-minded people are not advertising. Meet-up and dating sites have proven interesting and somewhat diverting if not entirely fruitful.