Writer, editor, etc. For more information, see jaygabler.com.
I visited Houston this spring and, while there, wrote this for The Tangential. I never came up with a title for it, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. I decided not to publish it on The Tangential because in the end I wasn’t sure if it had much value as a piece of writing independent of my experience, but I didn’t just want to throw it out either. Here you go, Tumblr!
Hello, and welcome to the Houston Airport Express, bus line #102! You waited quite a while for this bus, standing on a narrow curb surrounding a pillar in the middle of a road outside the airport terminal while hotel shuttles whizzed past left and right, unsure of exactly where the bus was going or when it was going to come or how much it was going to cost because no one at the airport knew anything about the public bus service except that it exists and the bus schedules on the public transit site are PDFs you couldn’t access with your phone—nor with your laptop, since the airport wireless has been down all day—but! We are about to drive a surprisingly long distance for that one dollar your bus driver accepted for the $1.25 fare instead of taking two of your bills. And aren’t these seats surprisingly spacious for seats on a public bus that you paid only one dollar for? Well, as you’re learn, if there’s one thing we have in Houston, it is space.
As we roll out of the airport, you’ll notice how green everything looks. Another thing we have here in Houston: moisture. Look at all this sort of foresty-swampy land we have for sale in two-acre parcels! Just imagine the possibilities, and don’t get wet feet! Waka waka. Tips accepted, folks. But seriously, on our way from the airport into downtown we’re first going to pass through a dense but diverse zone of housing developments with names like “Open Pines.” There’s some public housing, there’s some lower-rent private housing, there’s the occasional trailer park, but it’s all going to have a sort of exotic grandeur to those of you from north of the Mason-Dixon Line, due to the semi-tropical vegetation, the many open porches and walkways, and the touches of luxury like winding open-air staircases and outrageously oversized porticos. Just take it all in.
Next, we’re talking strip malls. Lotta strip malls here, containing just about every kind of business you could conceivably fit into a strip mall and even some you really can’t, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. Please stay seated as we climb this onramp to a freeway into downtown. Along the way, we’ll pass a lot of very literally-named businesses with huge signs. There’s DOORS, there’s POOL TABLES, and there’s HOUSTON 420. Lots of freeways snaking all over the place here, and lots of power lines. If you’re into power-line porn and sexy underpasses, this is where you want to come take all your hot pics. Go ahead and snap away.
Now we pass into the downtown zone, which is—I’m not gonna lie—fairly nondescript, with a skyline that’s not unlike Minneapolis’s, minus the collapsible dome. But as we approach our final destination at the downtown transit center, I’ll point you towards the nifty litle light rail there that’s ready and waiting to take you through the Hipster Zone and its pancake shops, all the way out to the hospital and the zoo and your cheap hotel. Welcome to Houston! It only gets better from here.
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