Gov. Greg Abbott needs to get the heck out of Austin.
See, the governor doesn’t like our city. It’s too liberal for him and doesn’t fit the Texas conservative mold, he said so while speaking at a dinner put on by the Bell County Republican Party.
“As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different,” he said. “Once you cross the Travis County line, it starts smelling different. And you know what that fragrance is? Freedom. It’s the smell of freedom that does not exist in Austin.”
In 1999, I drove 13,000 miles all over the state of Texas researching a book called “Texas Curiosities,” the goal being to find unusual and amusing spots around the state. In my travels, I discovered that Texas is a land of diversity; no two Texas cities are alike. San Antonio is a military town, Dallas is big on marketing, and Houston is an oil city where people move to make money.
That being the case, why isn’t it OK for our great state to have one city left that’s still leaning to the left? Why is that a crime?
Besides, regardless of what Abbott says, I’ve lived in Austin since 1976 and I’ve never felt that my freedom was threatened. But the governor is right. It is true that other parts of the state have a different fragrance than Austin. Take Beaumont. Put it this way: There will never be a fragrance available at your favorite mall perfume counter called Evening in Beaumont. Although it would make for an excellent gag Christmas gift.
But yes, Austin just doesn’t flip our governor’s skirt because we’re too hippie dippie for his tastes. Hence the special session of the Legislature coming up which surely will address some of these issues.
Like our love of trees. Austin is proud of its heritage oaks, so we have rules that stop land owners from cutting down certain special trees.
Did you know there’s a West Texas dot on the map called Notrees? The last time I was there, Notrees had a few trees. But I doubt it has an ordinance protecting them. If someone with a chainsaw went through Notrees and hacked down all the trees — or maybe in this case both trees — I’m not sure anybody would lose much sleep over it.
Then there’s the Panhandle. Talk about tree-deprived. You don’t have to worry too much about trees in the Panhandle blocking your view. What’s the old line? In, say, Floydada you can stand on a Coke bottle and see all the way to Chicago.
Another thing that sticks in the craw of Abbott and our conservative lawmakers?
Austin’s regulations on cellphone use while driving. Our conservative lawmakers think Austin’s cellphone rules are too restrictive. They want the state’s ban on texting while driving to override Austin’s hands-free ordinance, which prohibits hand-held cellphone use for the most part, except when stopped. Instead, the state’s ban would allow more messing around with your phone.
Abbott could escape cellphone use restrictions in his car by moving out to, say, Candelaria, a remote settlement on the Mexican border along the Rio Grande upstream from Presidio.
For one thing, in Candelaria and environs, you wouldn’t have to worry about running over anything while texting except for maybe a jackrabbit or a roadrunner.
And for another, there might not be a cellphone tower anywhere near the place. So Abbott getting the heck out of Austin and setting up a tent in Candelaria would solve that problem for our governor.
Bathrooms and who gets to go where: That’s a big issue in this state. Seems like the only things Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks about are his religion and going to the bathroom.
There are all sorts of spots in Texas where Abbott could move to get away from this piece of annoying bathroom business.
For example, there used to be and still might be a bar in Type, a few miles outside the town of Coupland, near Elgin, where the men’s room consisted of a pretty good-sized tree outside in the yard, surrounded by sheets of metal for privacy and the ground around it being littered with beer bottle caps.
All those guys taking a leak around the tree can’t be all that great for the tree’s health, and I would assume would eventually kill the tree with all that second-hand Lone Star. So Abbott wouldn’t have to worry about an Austin-style ordinance trying to save the tree.
And another thing: Hey Abbott, where’s Costello? I know that line is completely off subject here. But I just wanted to squeeze that in there for the yuks, OK? Onward through the fog.