I found this hilarious and sadly accurate blog post by Richard Lawrence Cohen, a traveler passing through my hometown, San Angelo, Texas. Scroll about halfway down the post until you get to this sentence:
"San Angelo looks like the set of the beginning of a slasher movie, before anything has happened or anyone suspects."
He talks about the unfriendly shopkeepers in the downtown area, which is a bizarre concept to me. When I lived there, there wasn't anything downtown. When the mall opened near the more affluent side of town, all the stores moved there and the downtown area (which is maybe 10 minutes' drive from the mall) quickly came to resemble Springsteen lyrics.
The blogger's summary:
"The guidebook says that San Angelo is much more livable than Midland, Odessa, Wichita Falls, or Abilene, because of its diversified, non–oil–based economy. The awful thing is, I believe it."
Zing! And also true. Take that, Abilene, with your fancy zoo and smug newscasters and the only NBC affiliate that serves the San Angelo area, which has no ABC affiliate at all unless you have cable or satellite!
My aunt worked as a waitress at the Mexican restaurant mentioned in the article. As one of approximately three Texans who doesn't speak Spanish, I didn't know what the name meant until just now.
The saddest part is, I'd jump at the chance to visit San Angelo again if I didn't have to drive seven hours to get there. I'd have a corn dog at Der Wienerschnitzel and walk around my old elementary school, and play at the park across the street from my old house. Surely the death trap play equipment has been replaced by safer stuff now, right?