My Thoughts, Exactly » Jim Chase

A Hot Time Was Had By All

Last week I did something I’ve always said I would never, ever do. I purposefully traveled to Dallas, Tex. in the hot-as-a-flippin’-furnace middle of July. Actually, I’ve always said I would also never, ever, ever go to Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Albuquerque – or for that matter – any part of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida or Georgia during the summer months. I don’t like heat, you see.

Maybe it was all those simmering summers spent under the instruction of my DIY-Dad as he taught his often-less-than-enthusiastic sons how to roof our family home, hot mop the entire length of the driveway or blow clouds of itchy insulation into every nook and cranny of our oven-like attic (not to mention our ears, eyes and various other body cavities). Whatever the cause, heat and I haven’t gotten along since I was a kid, thank you very much.

Nevertheless, last week I flew out to the sizzling Lone Star state to attend the Echo 2012 Conference, an annual creative gathering “for artists, geeks and storytellers.” My youngest son accompanied me on this too-short trip. As a graphic design major in college, he would be considered the artist part of the demo, while I’ve often been accused of being an unrepentant storyteller. Personally, I think their slogan should be something like, “A creative heaven in a place as hot as hell.” But they didn’t ask me.

A few observations from my visit: First, I’m convinced that Dallas would be a vast, empty wasteland void of all life with the exception of rattlesnakes and Cowboys fans were it not for air conditioning. I mean, seriously. The constant, bake-a-cake temperatures (at night it dropped to a whopping low of only 85 degrees) must turn locals into some sort of tortoise/human hybrid or other heat-loving reptilian creature. Why else would so many people walk around in full-length denim jeans wearing long-sleeved shirts in 100-plus degree temps? I even saw a few people walking around in hoodies, for crying out loud. Then again, it could be because the air conditioning inside their buildings seemed to be set at temperatures that would make arctic penguins giddy. To go in and out of buildings in Dallas is to go from one extreme to another.

Another thing; they really do say “Howdy!” and “How y’all doin’?” in Texas. I think they mean it, too. Even the TSA folks smile and make friendly chit chat as they grope you. Their overt friendliness almost makes the molestation enjoyable. Contrast that with the surly, sullen, sourpuss of a TSA goon at LAX who emotionally abused a young family from Europe going through the line in front of me on the trip out. I wanted to personally apologize to the family for the nasty treatment they received for no apparent reason at all. Truly shameful. (Note to Los Angeles officials: Leave the facilities at LAX alone. Overhaul the personnel.)

But back to Dallas.

Although I had only limited exposure to everyday Texans this trip, it seemed to me that Lone Star residents smoke a whole lot more than Californians. Then again, maybe I was just smelling my own hair smoldering in the heat and humidity. I just know something was burning.

Did I mention it was hot in Dallas? On the shuttle ride from our hotel back to the airport, I heard someone say, “It’s not just hot, it’s Texas hot.” Amen, brother. And just how hot does it get in Texas, Johnny? Well, before last week I’d never seen billboards advertising, “The best swimming pool chillers in town.” Even in sunny California, we have pool heaters. But pool chillers? On the half hour drive from North Dallas back to the DFW airport, I counted four such billboards, each from a different company.

That’s hot, my friends. Even so, given the chance I’d go right back again faster than you can say baked beans and barbecued brisket.

I’ll see you ’round town.

© 2011 WordChaser, Inc.
Jim Chase is an award-
winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook.  Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional
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