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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Kelly’s Korner: Learning how to be a Houstonian

Monday through Friday, we go to school and then to work before staggering home through traffic, only to fall asleep a mere few hours before having to be awoken by some ironic ringtone like “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry.

Not to mention the weekends that whizz by so quickly that one would think they were watching the timespan of a tween’s high school relationship. Exhaustion from the weekdays hits so hard that waking up earlier than noon almost sounds sacrilegious. By the time that we resurrect from the confines of our old friend, the Bed, so much of the day has been wasted that we sometimes fail to take advantage of the city we live in.

Many UH students treat Houston as the activity hub it is with visits to museum districts, theaters, bars, clubs, coffee shops, stores and parks. However, there is the portion of college students who believe Houston to simply be the place of their chosen struggle through the four to five years of college and who therefore spend their weekend indoors.

While seeing these two options, it is sometimes difficult to feel like a Houstonian while attending college.

In 2012, the Houston Chronicle posted an article titled “You know you’re a real Houstonian when…” followed by Twitter and Facebook users telling their inputs. Commenters included “You enjoy Houston’s four seasons: almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas” and “You think wearing cowboy boots is acceptable business attire.”

In addition, a blog called “Movoto” posted an article in January called “29 Awesome Things to Do In Houston” that included going to The Chocolate Bar — which is delicious — and seeing the Mexican free-tailed bats that fly from Waugh Drive Bridge near Buffalo Bayou.

While these suggestions are all great, I would like to make some additions to these lists.

Jamming to loud music while sitting in the middle of standstill traffic with the windows down. Sure, sitting in traffic bites — majorly. Especially when, after waiting for 30 minutes to pass an assumed wreck, you pass a car pulled onto the shoulder with its hazards on. Nonetheless, rolling down the windows, putting on loud music and rocking out can make it a little better. The drivers in the other cars will probably stare, but they’re just jealous of how much fun you’re having. While this isn’t typically a Houstonian thing to do, it will make the suffering hurt less.

Getting breakfast, brunch and/or brinner. Basically, breakfast food is fantastic all day long. Brunch is particularly delicious because it usually lasts until 3 p.m. on weekends. There are many great brunch places in Houston, some of which are native to Houston. Though Le Peep Restaurant is not an original Houston restaurant, it has delicious pecan-flavored coffee. It’ll make you want learn how to roast coffee beans, rob a squirrel of hard-earned loot and make it yourself – or you could always go to the store and buy pecan coffee, if you want to take the easy way out. Keep your eyes open for hole-in-the-wall cafes and food places. These often end up being the best ones.

Keeping your hand on the horn longer than socially acceptable. People from other cities may say that a simple honk is enough to let another disgruntled driver know you are angry with them, but that is just not true. The length of the honk should reflect the anger that you feel towards the other driver. If they try to move into your lane while you are in their blind spot, a soft honk to make them realize your presence is necessary. Although, if they cut you off with no use of a blinker before having the audacity to slam suddenly on their brakes, you have the right to honk the horn until you cease being angry.

Going to the Houston Zoo. Houston students get a discount. Hello, you get to see jungle animals.

Eating at restaurants whose names contain a specific dish. Going to places like The Cheesecake Factory and House of Pies is always a good idea. Especially when the specific food mentioned is dessert. However, I would not suggest going to a place if it were called The Hummus House or the Lima Bean Lair — those do not sound good.

Starting to measure distance by minutes, not miles. Houstonians do not say, “My GPS says the restaurant is only 3.2 miles away.” No, Houstonians recognize that — depending on the time of day — 3.2 miles does not take five minutes; it will take at least 15. Acceptance is the key to not letting this sad reality get you down.

Going to a live show, depending on favored hobby. There are so many live events in Houston. No matter whether you are a fan of sports, music, theater, art or poetry, there is a venue with live entertainment.

On top of that, there are so many other things that I want to do in Houston that I haven’t done yet, like visiting Moody Gardens, walking or running a Blacklight/Color Run, going to Discovery Green, singing badly at a karaoke bar, seeing the Art Car Parade and many other things.

If you have a favorite thing to do in Houston that you feel is a necessary experience for all Houstonians, leave a comment below.

Opinion columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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