My neighborhood is a nebulous region of Far East Dallas that kind of hovers between Northwest Highway and Plano Road on one end, Garland and Buckner on the other, and that place where the 635 Freeway curves around to go from north to east (or west to south, depending on which way you're going). It's a 1950s enclave of small houses, cheap apartments, a couple of drugstores and a really good Mexican restaurant. In recent years we've acquired a Starbucks on the Buckner end, which is a huge shout-out that gentrification is on the way. But nothing says we've arrived like the sudden opening of--get this--a Pei Wei.
Yes, an actual Pei Wei. That place of cheap Asian-appearing food assembled into weird combinations that sell for around eight bucks a plate. There's no horses in front (that's P.F. Chang's, unfortunately - another demographic altogether) but it makes pretty good sauces. I'm a fan of honey anything with pepper whatever's on special mixed with a bunch of vegetables and maybe some meat, if it's one of those days. Not lettuce wraps, though. Lettuce is a pointless food, unless you grow it in your garden to be fodder for aphids.
There's also a great Chinese place right across the street. I'm actually a little worried about it, seeing as it's going to get a lot of competition from the Pei Wei. Maybe this will be their incentive to dress up their menu and have outstanding specials. Or maybe they'll just move. I hope they don't move; I'm a big fan of their salt and pepper shrimp. And I've been known to sneak a Napoleon when Joan's not looking. (Chinese restaurant. Napoleon. Haven't figured that out yet.)
So my post-1950s place of residence is being slowly dragged into the 20th century. If there's a Pei Wei, can an On the Border be far behind?
Speaking of being dragged kicking and screaming out of the 1950s, a judge in Oklahoma (you've heard of Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain? And the waving wheat, it sure smells sweet--Wait a minute. I hate musicals) just decided that the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage violates somebody's equal-protection rights. Oklahoma. Oklafrick'nHoma. I mean we tell Oklahoma jokes in Texas. Oklahoma's where all the people who are too conservative even for Texas gather in secret to plot and scheme and raise an invading army. It's the buckle of the Bible Belt, where you might get shot for driving a car made in Germany or Sweden instead of the good old U.S. of A. I have a good friend in Oklahoma (in Jinks, right outside Tulsa) and you can see Oral Roberts University from his house, practically. It's easy to tell Oral Roberts University because there are these two praying hands that are like 40 feet high at the entrance. It's not just a sculpture, it's an Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here. And this is typical, okay? The last time I checked, you were in danger of Divine Wrath if you so much as drove through Durant without stopping at the casino (giant tornado descends from the sky, picks up your car, shakes you like a rattle and drops you deep in Sooner territory near OKC). Unless you live in Tulsa. In Tulsa you are safe from Divine Wrath. Not because of Oral Roberts University but because legend has it there's a sleeping goddess buried near downtown, and there's never been a tornado there because nobody wants to piss her off.
Anyway, who knows if this'll stand, but Oklahoma thinks there should be same-sex marriage. So does Utah, in which lots of same-sex couples got married before the Supremes put a kibosh on the whole thing long enough to let the courts hear it out. Now, Utah makes sense. Utah is the marriage capital of the world. (Sorry, Las Vegas, but you're only the wedding capital of the world. For actual marriage, you gotta go to Utah). I didn't go to Brigham Young University, but a lot of people I know did, and when returned missionaries started school there they were told (at least at that time) to get engaged within six months. Girls get proposed to every time you turn around at BYU. And people stay married for long periods of time, have a plethora of children, and it's the whole family values thing taken to the extreme. So why not encourage marriage among those who traditionally haven't been able to tie the knot? It's the only way to get more marriages than are already happening. It makes sense. Even the Mormon Church, which used to be about as anti-same-sex marriage as you could get (see, i.e., Proposition 8, California), has softened its stance recently. Maybe because it became aware that it was going after its own family members, and family is huge in Mormonism. In fact, family is everything.
And now Oklahoma, adding to the midwestern states (Iowa, possibly Illinois). Can Mississippi and Louisiana be far behind? (Louisiana. Home of New Orleans. Hmm, if I were a gambling kinda gal my money'd be on Louisiana.)
Meanwhile, in Texas...