I stared out the window as the bus crossed the state that had the most pride. I tried to like Texas. I wanted to see why Texans were so proud of Texas. But I saw nothing but empty, parched land.

I headed to the Backpacker Hostel in Irving. I saw an overweight girl with Texas stars dangling from her ears, wearing a Texas T-shirt that clung to her spare tires.

At the hostel, I talked about it with my new friend Gabrielle, from Holland. She pointed to signs on the walls of the kitchen: “American by birth, Texan by the grace of God,” and “Texas, it just feels right,” and “Don’t mess with Texas.” I marveled at the attitude: it just didn’t add up with what I had seen of the state.

Gabrielle said, “You have to laugh at the Texans because they take such a militaristic pride in their state.”
So I did.