Sunday, May 1, 2011

Geography...Texas Style!

North, South, East and West have been defined for the millenia and are easily understandable concepts that should be applied universaly however, in Texas, they have their own interesting take on them...particularly in North and West Texas.

First off a map of Texas to make sure we're all on the same page before we get this gay geographic romp started.

Yes, the shape of the state sort of resembles a star (OK, maybe after a few shots of tequila that leave you sitting a bit lopsided) but it's the second largest state in the increasingly fractured Union that's had a very colourful history including an ill fated 10 years as an independent nation that required the US stepping in to rescue it from anarchy and being re-absorbed into Mexico.

What's more interesting are the definitions of what's North and West Texas which I became aware of when I moved here and required some re-adjustment of my thinking after some rather vehement corrections by the natives.

First off, the panhandle area that sticks up (Northward I may add) and more or less separates Oklahoma and New Mexico is, believe it or not, considered to be West Texas. I know, my logical mind had a problem with this too but I was firmly corrected that this part of the state which is quite further north than North Texas (which lies below the Red River which is the border with Oklahoma) is indeed West. So, University of North Texas which is in Dallas is south of West Texas State which is to its northwest...or something to that effect..

Hmmm...that doesn't make any sense but, there are similar oddball geographic occurences (which mostly seem to occur in the South) such as the town of Apex, NC which is nowhere near the apex of the triangle created by drawing lines between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. I was informed by a local that this was due to its being the highest point in the area so therefore it's the apex of the landscape. It didn't work for me either folks but, whatever...

Little quirks like this make things interesting and sometimes even amusing, especially at cocktail parties when you're in other cities and you're looking for a bon mot to share with a crowd with an eye out for the ridiculous...

1 comment:

eArnie Painter said...

If you'd driven through West Texas and the panhandle you might understand better why people refer to it this way. For the record, I lived in Amarillo (in the panhandle) and I've lived in San Antonio and Austin and I've NEVER referred to the panhandle as West Texas. I've never referred to it as North Texas, either. Just as the Panhandle.