Chris Johnson

Houston, we have a problem – and he’s flying in from Georgia

As I was sitting in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Thursday, I felt the need to check in on Facebook and let everyone know that I was headed to Houston, a quaint little town of 2.3 million in southeast Texas.

I don’t know why I felt the need to tell everybody. I don’t really know why any of us announce on Facebook that we are flying somewhere, although it’s more interesting than posting a picture of your lunch on Facebook. If Gladys posts that she’s flying to Toronto, I’m at least half-wondering for a tenth of a second, “Hmm, I wonder what business she has in Toronto.” But if Hank post a picture of his meatball sub, I’m not the least bit intrigued.

“Gee, I hope it doesn’t get cold while he’s taking this photo. Sure wish I had a meatball sub. I wonder who makes the best meatball sub. Oh well, I need to cut the carbs anyway.”

Nope, none of that crosses my mind. But posting our travel plans seems imperative, especially when we’re bored while sitting at an airport gate. Maybe we are trying to impress everyone that we are jet-setters seeing the world while they’re at home relaxing on their back porch. Then again, I hate flying and would much rather be on my back porch than standing in an airport at 7 a.m. wondering if it’s too early for a beer and saying things like, “Well, I’ll be. I didn’t know Wendy’s had breakfast.”

My jet-setting is unlikely to impress anyone anyway. It’s not like I’m going to Paris, London and Rome. I’ve flown to work in small African and Central American villages and to such exotic American destinations as Gary, Indiana, and Shreveport, Louisiana. Even on this trip, I was only landing in Houston, then heading down I-45 to the small suburb of Dickinson to meet some good folks who’ve been helping Hurricane Harvey victims in the Galveston Bay area for nearly two years now.

Nevertheless, my bored self posted my travel plans on Facebook. Look, world, I’m jet-setting again — even though I was flying for the first time this year, something for which I am utterly grateful. Some folks took notice of my travel plans.

My friend Tim used to work in the area and began reeling off the great places I should eat so I could sample the great tastes of Texas. Only there for less than 48 hours, I wound up having time for a pouch of Cheez-Its and a Waffle House.

My friend Jackie asked, “Did you wear a cowboy hat?” I explained that my rental car upon landing was a Toyota Yaris and that I was pretty sure it was illegal to wear a cowboy hat in Texas while driving a Yaris. (By the way, I rather liked my little Yaris and the fact that it gets roughly a 1,000 miles to the gallon. I also rather liked paying $2.09 per gallon for gas in La Marque.)

So, I didn’t exactly have a Texas-y experience on my first trip to the Lone Star State. (I don’t count an extended layover at DFW a few years ago after my plane from exotic Shreveport was late due to mechanical issues.) In fact, it looked an awful lot like suburban Atlanta, only with one-third of the traffic jams. Where the traffic wasn’t jammed, it moved at roughly 110 mph with big trucks and sports cars zooming past my little Yaris. Maybe I should have worn a cowboy hat while driving it, for they would have at least slowed down to yell, “Hey, boy! You ain’t from around here, are you? You can’t wear that hat in that Chinese car! That’s illegal, and it just ain’t right! By the way, try Billy Bob’s Brisket Emporium before you leave! You’ll thank me, boy!”

I guess I won’t know whether wearing a cowboy hat in a Yaris — or speeding — is illegal in Texas because I literally saw zero police officers in two days. None. At least in metro Atlanta the cops pull over speeders for sport and fun.

Meanwhile, my Facebook friends probably think I’m still in Texas because I forgot to announce that I was flying back home to Georgia. I guess the Peach State just ain’t jet-setty enough to impress folks.

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