first fell in love with Dallas as an 11-year old kid looking out the window of our family car at the glittering buildings. I remember peeping out the back window and imagining that somewhere behind those mirrored windows J.R. Ewing sat cutting yet another deal before heading home to Southfork. And though my father complained about the stagnant stream of traffic on U.S. 75, I promised myself that one day I too would be a part of this bustling metropolis- traffic jams and all.
To most of the kids in my hometown, Dallas represented “the Big City”-the mythical Mecca to the north, a place far removed from our West Texas Bible Belt existence. Trips to Dallas became contemporary tall tales as adventures were exaggerated to emphasize the grandness of city life.
“Did you know in Dallas they have more than two Top 40 stations?”
“In Dallas there are always things to do, even if you’re not 21 yet.”
“Have you seen the malls in Dallas? One even has an ice-skating rink!” (An ice-skating rink in Texas being a sure sign of civilization and culture.) So, when it came time to choose a college, I chose to leave West Texas in favor of the big city lights and fast life in Dallas. And as I drove my little car up 1-30 past Reunion Tower and the scarlet horse flying above downtown, I planned all the adventures I’d have as a Dal-lasite: all the plays I’d attend, all the clubs I’d go to, and all the diverse and eclectic friends I’d make. After all, this was Dallas-the big city.
Three years later, as graduation neared, my only plan was to leave.
Somewhere between my initial glimpse of Dallas from the windows of my family car and my last year of college, I became disillusioned with Big D. Maybe it was seeing David Yurman on four out of five wrists, or maybe it was that 100th drink at the Green Elephant, but I ’d had it with Dallas-with the platinum blondes and their Kate Spade purses, with the fanatic Cowboy fans and their logo-clad families. I was tired of Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville, NorthPark, and the Galleria. Sure, Dallas was always one of my favorite shows, but I never actually wanted to live in an endless episode.
After three years in Dallas, I felt I’d seen all there was to see, and despite the fact that I once spoke of the city in almost reverent tones, by the time my senior year of college rolled around I swore that, come graduation, Dallas and I would part ways forever.
Luckily, I came to my senses.
I’ve begun to notice things that please me. And they’re everywhere-from the crack of the bat at the Ballpark in Arlington to the cheese fries at Snuffer’s. I’ve ventured beyond Central Expressway and its corollary streets to neighborhoods like Oak Cliff and Forest Hills. And in doing so, I’ve regained the feeling of awe and wonder 1 once felt as my family drove past downtown Dallas all those years ago.
I’ve realized that no place is the Shangri-La I’d envisioned when growing up in Abilene. It’s what you make of a city that determines whether or not it feels like home. Dallas is a young town. What better place for a young woman to begin her life?
Dallas is self-conscious-about David Yunnan, Kate Spade, and fashions du jour, yes, but also about the city. Dallas is constantly reinventing and rethinking itself- look at what’s happening downtown. And Dallas is enthusiastic-about me Cowboys and the Stars, yes, but also about the city’s culture. Look at what’s happening in the Arts District. Dallas is always looking toward the future, and that means Dallas is a good place for beginnings.
I’ve fallen in love with Dallas again because I took the time to know her.