Home on the Range – A former New Yorker's guide to the Texas adjustment

“Have you tried the H-E-B up the road?” asked the bearded barista at Starbucks as he grabbed my breakfast — a cranberry-orange muffin — from the display case.

“It’s Easter. It’s closed.”

The bearded barista smiled, realizing how right I was and how silly his comment had been.

“Where are you from?” he asked, knowing I was not used to, nor pleased, that the otherwise fine folk of H-E-B lock their sliding doors when bunnies are about.

Now, in New York, we love our Jesus, our rabbits, our pretty egg hunts, but this was balls to the wall re-dick — that being: so grossly ridiculous the situation at hand doesn’t even deserve more than four consonants and two vowels to describe the matter, let alone an honest word in the dictionary. Re-dick! This was my birthday weekend. I wanted to make breakfast in bed for my girl; I was out of tortillas, milk, peppers, soap, and worst of all when a girl is camped out on your futon waiting for your eventual return, toilet paper.

To add insult to injury, the Albertson’s just around the corner folded shop two weeks back and the H-E-B was the only game save Wal-Mart, a 20-minute drive south of my doorstep. This never would have happened in New York.

My fiancée had taken me to the Alamo Drafthouse the night before to see Grindhouse (which actually features Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse in the second story) and I was still drunk with grand delusions of what a fine zombie killer I would make, not to mention how awesome my fiancée would look with a machine gun as a prosthetic limb. My dip toward rage must have been apparent to the bearded wonder fetching my muffin; he offered me a free shot of some new-wave caramel-espresso junk that tasted like a bunny egg.

But it was too late. My gears were turning and I was planning a way to obtain my peppers and toilet paper.

I’m a simple man; I’m a writer, but my tax return says “College Professor.” Sunday mornings are important to me. I sleep in until seven (I traditionally rise at 4:30), have mud-black iced coffee, cook breakfast tacos in my boxers, watch the Sports Reports on ESPN, then Tim Russert on NBC, then grade papers at a medium pace whilst a sporting contest graces the television with the volume turned to mute until 60 Minutes comes on. With ever-present writing deadlines, lesson plans, and students to evaluate, I consider Sunday to be the one day of the week for me, the one day of the week I can listen to my fiancée talk about gardening and compost piles and all the other things she is interested in without her feeling as if she is blowing my time. And those Easter-lovin’ bunny fuckers at H-E-B weren’t about to ruin it for me.

It has been some time since I have broken into a building. (Mind you, the last time I did so it was my building, and I was locked out, and I never had to answer to anyone for that.) I know the
H-E-B like the back of my hand — I do shop there almost every day — and I would need to be in and out in 60 seconds before the fuzz busted me. I think I learned that from a Tarantino movie. And I knew just how I would do it.

I would slam my Toyota Tacoma through the plate-glass doors, take a hard right and drive past the deli to the fresh-produce partition. There I would grab peppers and onions. That should take 15 seconds. Across from the pepper stand are the tortillas. 20 seconds now. Then, past the frozen food case, around the meats and cheeses to pick up some eggs. That should come close to 30 seconds of thievery. Toilet paper is directly across from the dairy products. I am now at 35, maybe 40 seconds, leaving a solid 20 ticks of the clock to drive up to the “Holiday” aisle, drop my blue jeans, and piss all over the unbought Easter candy as I pump my fist in the sky like a Grindhouse antihero!

And with that final bladder-cleansing thought, I was interrupted by the bearded barista getting my muffin. “Try Thundercloud Subs. They are open. That would be a fun Easter brunch.”

Logic, reason, and above all else, accountability, returned to me. I
shouldn’t be re-dick. Let H-E-B have their Easter.

I had a New York Italian sub from Thundercloud. But not before I pilfered some toilet paper from my friendly neighborhood Starbucks. 

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