Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Houston Code

My friend Larry Scott posted a funny bit on his facebook page, which I reproduce here in its entirety:


When giving directions in Florida , you should always start with the words, "take I-75 or take I-95..."

If you're a snowbird or a non-working retiree, you Absolutely cannot drive between the hours of 6 AM and 10 AM and 4 PM and 7 PM. This is considered to be rush hour and you're not in any rush. No exceptions.

Freeways can only go north and south. Not east and west..

Tolls are a fact of life down here, the state has to make money so deal with it!

I-275 will always be under construction... that's the Law, there is nothing anyone can do about it, period!

A1A and ALT A1A are the same streets.

Traffic lights aren't timed and never will be.

We measure the distance you travel in time, not miles.

If you travel more than 5-10 miles on any road in any part of Florida without seeing an orange 'Bob's Barricade', you're lost!

If you miss your exit on I-75, I-4 or I-275, its perfectly acceptable to back up.

Every street in Florida has both a name and a number (i.e. Adamo = 60th,) just for the hell of it and for the pleasure we get from the reaction of visitors when we give them directions.

Once the light turns green, only 3 cars can go through the Intersection, eight more go through on yellow, and 4 more on red.

Know the difference between Sun Pass , Sun Fest, Sun-Sentinel, and Sun Trust.

Flip flops, tank tops and baggy shorts are also known as business casual.

Your blinker means nothing.

English is our first and second language.

It is perfectly acceptable to brag about the size of your Generator.

We have alligators here in Florida and they WILL bite You... Don't be stupid and try to feed or pet one.

When a hurricane is headed our way, even though you have advanced warning and you are told to be prepared, you're not a true Floridian unless you wait until the absolute last minute to go to Home Depot to pick up plywood or to Publix to stock up water, ice, beer, and potato chips.

You know how to spell Okeechobee. There is an Okeechobee Blvd , Street, Avenue, Town, Lake and County.

A true Floridian does NOT own a boat. They make friends with someone who already owns one. That way you don't have to deal with any of the headaches.

You weren't born here. If you were, you're angry that everyone else moved here.

There's always a Walgreens across the street from a CVS on almost every corner - with more being built every day.

When picking up a woman on South Beach , always check for an Adams apple.

It's normal to sweat when you are putting up your holiday decorations.

There is a city called The Villages where 77,000 old people drive golf carts and dance in the streets.

Jupiter is a city, not a planet.

Seniors have to do their errands during the weekdays. Not Weeknights or weekends - that's for the working Folks.

There are three types of dolphins: Mahi-mahi, Flipper, and also one called a football team.

You can't say; 'this is how we did it up North. If you think that way, then go back. Just Remember I-95 runs both ways.

No matter what they decide in Tallahassee you will never, Ever be able to figure out your property taxes.

Learn how to dress in layers. It will be 95 degrees outside but inside any restaurant or business it's 65 Degrees.

There are three things you will need to survive a Florida Winter: A long sleeved T-shirt, sunscreen and the ability to Mock all those extremely pale' visitors' with the Bright pink ' Florida tans'

The same neighbor who smiles at you every day will be the First one to rat you out if you are violating water Restrictions.


Having laughed my ass off at that, I humbly present

The Houston Code

Directions in Houston are very simple:  whatever it is, it’s probably on Westheimer.

There are two speeds on Houston freeways:  stopped and floored.  Frequently, you can be in “floored” mode, come over a rise in the freeway, and have to instantly convert to “stopped”.  Brakes are good.

  • Corollary:  Under absolutely no circumstances should you impede somebody else’s progress.  If they are coming up fast behind you, the Houstonian way is to move over.  Failure to do so could result in your being rammed.  In the alternative, he might have a gun.  Just move over and let him go by.

The Cardinal Sin is to impede traffic.  Average speed (on all streets, roads, boulevards, country lanes, freeways, and tollways) is 10 mph over whatever the marked speed is.  If you drive slow, or if your car breaks down, or if you have an accident, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY.

We do not have access roads in Houston.  We do not have service roads.  We do not have frontage roads.  These are all for lesser Texans.  We have “Feeder Roads”.  Directions include terminology like, “Stay on the Feeder past Kirkwood, then turn right before you get to Wilcrest…”.   

We have tollways.  They are a fact of life.  We do not care whether you object to them or not.  Texas is a pay-as-you-go road construction state, it was either build them as tollways or not have them.  The thought of not having them is enough to make strong men cry.  If you are from somewhere else, or if you have a nervous breakdown about the tolls, you are welcome to traverse the (not making this one up) 77 red lights on Gessner Rd. between Beltway 8 South and Beltway 8 North.  I’ll pay the $6.80 in tolls and be there in 20 minutes.  You may or may not get there in 20 hours.

It is impossible to figure out addresses on the Beltway.  Forget it and call for directions (“Take the Beltway north from 290 and exit Gessner…”) .  “West Sam Houston Tollway North” and “West Sam Houston Tollway South” are different from “West Sam Houston Tollway”, but all are part of the “West Belt”.  Keep in mind that NOBODY calls it the “Sam Houston Tollway”, everybody calls it “The Beltway” or “Beltway 8”, but all addresses are given as “Sam Houston Parkway”.  The tollway in the middle is the Sam Houston Tollway; the feeder roads on the sides are Texas State Highway 8, colloquially called “The Beltway” or “Beltway 8”.

  • Corollary:  GPS does not work in Houston. Just call and ask for directions.  Really.

Speaking of tolls, GET AN EZTAG.  They’re cheap!  You get a discount on the toll!  It’s easily refilled!  You breeze through the EZTAG-ONLY lanes.  WTF  is WRONG with you people who don’t have one???

  • Corollary:  if you are a Neanderthal or a citizen of another country and do not wish to have an EZTAG, DO NOT block the EZTAG lanes because you flew in front of the line and wish to squeeze in.  We have guns.  We can carry them in cars legally.  We will kill you.

One more item:  Freeways here have multiple names as well.  IH-10 = Katy Freeway (the Katy TOLLWAY runs directly down the middle of the Katy FREEWAY).  That’s until you get downtown, when IH-10 becomes the East Freeway.  This is different from the EASTEX Freeway, which is US 59, which becomes the SOUTHWEST FREEWAY downtown…you get the picture. 

There are 3 circular roads around the city and they are building the fourth.  The one downtown doesn’t count.  “The Loop” means IH-610, at 5 miles out from downtown (on the west).  “The Beltway” means the Sam Houston Tollway, a.k.a. Beltway 8, at 14 miles out from downtown.  Highway 6/1960 is 20 miles from downtown.  They are currently building the Grand Parkway at 26 miles from downtown. 

The rest of the freeways are hub-and spoke.  Clockwise from due north:  North, Hardy Toll Road, Eastex Freeway, Northeast Tollway, East Freeway, Pasadena-La Porte Freeway, Gulf Freeway, South Freeway, Ft. Bend Tollway, Southwest Freeway, Westpark Tollway, Katy Freeway, Northwest Freeway, Tomball Parkway.  They all have numbers and directions, too, except for the Hardy, Northeast, Westpark, and Ft. Bend, which are all owned and operated by the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

If you want to beat the traffic in any direction, leave before 2.  No exceptions.

A red light in Houston means, “Last 3 cars go through free.”

And lastly, the more expensive the car, the smaller the penis.

Rules for Hurricanes:

  1. Immediately extinguish all smoking materials.
  2. Ignore all warnings.
  3. Wait till the last minute.
  4. Panic.
  5. Get everyone you know to panic.
  6. Get perfect strangers to panic.
  7. Make an emergency run to Home Depot, H-E-B, and Spec’s for emergency supplies.

We have two seasons in Houston:  Summer and not-summer. 

If you can’t stand the humidity, don’t bother coming here.  Seriously.  But whatever you do, don’t come here and THEN complain about the humidity.

We are all about air-conditioning. Houston couldn’t exist without it. We air-condition baseball parks and football stadiums. If you’re cold, bring a sweater.

If it rains,

  1. All streets, intersections, and low water crossings will immediately flood.
  2. All Houstonians will, as a matter of course, panic.
  3. All landlines, cable tv, uverse, etc. will instantly cease functioning, and usually the main power, too.
  4. Cell phones will be ok, UNLESS it’s a hurricane.  Then they’re gone too.

Flood control: The streets ARE the drainage system (ever wonder why the curbs here are so very tall?). If one of the great “Houston gullywashers” arrives, just stay where you are. Don’t try it.

  • Corollary: Low Water Crossings and Flood Gauges: those signs are there for a reason. They are marked to a depth of 10-12 feet. The average car is 4-5 feet tall and about 8 inches off the ground. Think carefully, even if math was not your strong suit.

We have bayous (pronounced “bi-yews”, and we don’t care how you pronounce that in Louisiana…). 

The Bayous are full of the following:

  1. Snakes
  2. Alligators
  3. Snakes
  4. Coyotes
  5. Snakes
  6. Rats
  7. There are also snakes.

Enter at your own risk…and for God’s sake, whatever you do (unless you want to actually MEET God), do NOT drink or otherwise come in contact with (in any way) the water from the Bayous.  Who knows WTF is in there?  Whatever it is, it’s unhealthy for humans.

Yankees:  We do not have basements.  We are 55 feet above sea level, and the water table is 1 foot below ground.  Deal with it.

A “Yankee” is anyone from north of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina.

We don’t care how you did it in Chicago.  Really.

Last year, Houston passed New York as the most diverse city in the United States.  We are not bilingual.  English and Spanish are just common languages we use to get by.  We have every language on the globe.  Just drive down Bellaire Blvd. between Gessner and Kirkwood, or visit any Wal-Mart.

Everybody in Houston speaks at least some Spanish.  If you don’t know any, now’s a good time to start.

We’re fat.  We have great food.  We have great bars.  Our motto is, “Never walk when you can drive instead.”

Level 3, the “Purple” level, also known as the “Parthenon” level in the Terminal B Parking Deck at IAH (Intercontinental Airport Houston, I refuse to call it “Bush”), is the exact same thing as Level 2, “Red” level, also known as “Coliseum” level in the Terminal A Parking Deck.  It’s the same floor, in the same building.  Terminal B is at one end, Terminal A is at the other.  (This is important to know, because the mere fact that you departed out of Terminal B does not in any way imply that you will RETURN to Terminal B).

If going through IAH, don’t bother asking anyone who works there for directions.  They don’t know either.  And unlike most airports, there are very few signs.

The PeopleMover in the underground transitway between the terminals is a WEDWAY PeopleMover, identical to and manufactured by Walt Disney Enterprises, just like the old one at Disney  World.  Unlike Disney World, IAH’s hasn’t been upgraded since 1969.  You find it by accident, because there certainly aren’t any signs telling you where it is.

There is no discernable pattern to the building of terminals at IAH, nor any discernable pattern to how they’re connected, nor any discernable pattern to get from one to the other (WEDWAY notwithstanding), nor is there any discernable pattern to United Airlines’ methodology of assigning gates or baggage claim areas.  All of these things are apparently random.  Those who bitch about Hartsfield in Atlanta have obviously never been to IAH.  At least Hartsfield has a discernable pattern.

Texans love to brag about the fact that the state has no state income tax—but they neglect to mention that Texas has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, while offering its citizens government services roughly equivalent to, say, Haiti.

Number of food inspectors in Houston:  1

Number of restaurants in Houston:  11,000

And there are many more of these, but that’s all we have time for today, kids.

1 comment:

  1. My friend David writes: "Next time explain how one can drive eastbound on the North Loop West."

    This is easily accomplished. Imagine a circle. Now superimpose a +. This divides the circle into quadrants, North, South, East, West. If you are on the north side of the circle (The North Loop), and you are in the West quadrant, traveling toward the East quadrant, then you are driving eastbound on the North Loop West!

    Now see how easy that was?!