Home in Houston

By Bryan Richardson

I took a biannual pilgrimage to my hometown in August. It’s a small town called Houston, Texas, with a population of 2.1 million people.

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from Manhattan and get to the city that forever sprawls, even if only for a bit more than a week.

I like the idea of driving for an hour and still being in the Houston area. It’s a nice sense of familiarity for the most part. Well except in my room at my parents’ house.

It’s not the room I remember because my parents insist on changing its aesthetics. New paint job, new bed, new TV and missing sports posters.

Besides the trauma of my childhood slowly being removed, I saw family and friends, went to the beach and celebrated my dad’s and niece’s birthdays.

With any trip home, I’m quickly confronted with a few facts that I know but forget not being there.

Not many friends in Houston

I have friends in Houston. I just don’t have many of them, especially in the lifelong friend department.

A lot of people have at least one friend they’ve known since they were five-and-a-half years old. I barely have any high school friends I still communicate with. Basically like two people. My other friendships were made during my post-high school years.

I guess this is one of those things that should be expected because I haven’t lived in Houston full-time since August 2006 when I started attending Mizzou.

Why would this be a problem? My few friends are moving, getting married and/or have new numbers they have not given me. I’m always afraid that my next trip home could be spent exclusively with family.

I love them, but I can’t spend all day at the house. Plus, they currently are a reminder of another fact.

I’m still young

There’s another step of adulthood I haven’t reached yet. Sometime between the multiple meals and weekend getaway my parents funded completely, I realized others are just on a much high floor than I am in The Adulthood Towers.

I always feel really grown when I’m in Manhattan. I have a full-time job. I have an apartment. I pay bills. I complain about things being better back in the day.

Going home to Houston always changes that thought. It’s still a little jarring to go from being a big fish in a small pond to sitting at the equivalent of the kids’ table.

For example, my older sister, 27, is exiting the military and my parents were talking with her about selling her house near Fort Hood.

I would give you an excerpt or two of this conversation, but unfortunately I can’t recall any of it. At that point, there was no difference between me and my two-year-old niece. We both were in our own world because neither one of us would have understood that conversation.

I need a man hobby

In my spare time, I listen to music, play video games, read and occasionally write for leisure. None of this is anything particularly manly.

Playing video games is a man activity but in the immature boy sense. I go to the gym, but I consider that to be as much of a hobby as eating. It’s just something I do to make sure I’m healthy.

What I’m talking about is something like hunting, fishing or working on cars. You know something that lets the world know whenever I do this activity that I am man. Hear me roar.

Going home always reminds me of this failure because my dad has a man hobby: wood work. He’s constantly in the garage with the table saw.

You need a wooden bookshelf? He can do it. You need a wooden trashcan? He can do it.

You need a set of stairs at your church? He can do it. If we had land, I’m sure he would have built an addition to the house by now.

I may not have inherited this skill, but I did inherit a facial hair growing struggle. So there’s that. Thanks dad.









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