I’ve lived in 4 places in my life – Northern Virginia, central Virginia, NYC and NJ suburbs. So, essentially, I’m a Northeast kind of girl. That said, I’ve seen a lot of places in and outside the US. I’ve visited Australia, Spain, France, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Mexico. I also get to travel extensively in the US for work. (My day job that is. I think most of us published authors know that books don’t really pay the bills. Keep that day job writer people!)
In the last year, for some reason, Dallas has been the nexus point for travel in my line of work. (My day job is the exciting world of medical editing. By night I’m super-writer, by day I’m Clark editor.) I’ve gone to Dallas over 5 times in the last 12-ish months.
Despite my many visits, I still only have a peripheral understanding of the city. This is because I really only get to stare at the city from the window of my hotel.
It looks like this:
Although I get to enjoy lovely hotels that stock animal-cruelty free shampoos and other toiletries, which I bring home to my animal-loving daughter…
…And, I get to work on The Travelers part 2 (feel free to check out Travelers part 1 here), which at this moment seems ironically named, while listening to music and drinking seltzer (one of my obsessions)…
…I still feel as though I know very little about Dallas.
Typically, I fly in, go to the hotel (which is usually connected to the airport), go to a meeting, and fly out. Honestly, sometimes it feels like I’m living in one of those books about a person with a sad, lonely life who travels around but never actually experiences anything. (I think they’ve made a movie or two about this.) Seriously, my work travel is a little pathetic in terms of actual experiencing other places. I mean this was my dinner on my last visit:
At my last trip to the airport I started to wonder if I should stop complaining and start trying to see what I could learn about the city from the airport. As I walked through the terminal, checking out the stores and restaurant, in some ways I felt like I was in a foreign country, even though I’d never left the US. This place was so different in many ways from the Northeast. Here’s what I learned from my strange experience in the land of the Dallas airport.
1) They really live up to the stereotype of loving football and the Cowboys. No matter what airline I fly I can quickly find a Cowboy’s store where I can buy my friends a Cowboy’s phone charger, earrings or a t-shirt.
2) Speaking of cowboys, people in Dallas also really do wear cowboy boots and hats and not ironically. It’s a thing! Although I must admit I’m super digging the pink fringe ones below. I would rock those.
3) People say y’all. They really do! It’s a word that most people would probably say is not in the dictionary. (OK, to be fair – it IS in the dictionary! https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/y’all.)
4) Dallas is cold. As cold as where I live in NOVA. What the??? I thought Texas was a hot desert. Apparently not everywhere. I didn’t bring a coat on this last trip because I thought I didn’t need one. Not cool, Texas. (Pun intended.)
5) Dallas likes to perpetuate Texan stereotypes in more ways than one. Based on their airport Texans don’t just eat their cows, they also idolize them by turning them into statues and displays dressed like people. I wasn’t the only one who thought this was really strange. Another woman took a picture of this at the same time as I did!
6) Dallas celebrates art and food through large murals of chicken nuggets. I think Andy Warhol would approve. Or maybe he would have a mental breakdown. I’m not sure actually.
7) The part I love most about Dallas? The airports have lots and lots and lots of books! Yes, there are books in all airports. But, the collection in Dallas was surprisingly robust. Nearly every store had some sort of collection of books. They also aren’t all about cows, fast food and cowboys. The stores have magazines like The New Yorker. Based on the Pace Picante commercials, honesty, I thought that magazine would be banned. :))
So, from my limited airport perspective Dallas is appears to be an unusual fairyland filled with magical cowboys who speak a strange language, stores and stores filled with fantastical books and large, colorful food-based potentially pop-art-adjacent artwork. I’d like to see how representative the rest of the city is of its airport.