I exited the airport and nearly suffocated. Through the layers of an N95 mask covered by my double-lined cloth mask, I inhaled the humid air that made it nearly impossible to breathe. This trip was certainly the last time I will ever visit the state of Texas. Here is my objective assessment:
Guns. Guns are literally everywhere — signs for shooting ranges, billboards advertising ammo, and signs at the grocery store specifying that you can only carry your gun if it’s concealed. How do people live like this, constantly in fear of being shot by their fellow Walmart shoppers?
It’s truly a wonder that every trip to the local grocery store doesn’t turn into a John Wayne-style shoot-out when Texans do not even need a permit to carry a handgun. Thankfully, New Jersey understands the damage that these weapons do to ordinary citizens, and possessing a BB gun in NJ without a firearm permit could land you five years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.
Masks. I saw maybe twenty people total wearing a mask throughout the entire week I spent in that petri dish of a state. It’s like they have no idea that we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. After doing a little research, I found out that it is actually illegal for any Texan government entity to mandate that people wear masks. If it weren’t for people like this, we could’ve stopped the spread in two weeks.
It was truly a relief to be back home where masks are still required in high risk areas like schools. Plus, most New Jerseyians are smart enough to still wear a mask after being vaccinated and boosted.
Friendliness. Everyone is way too friendly. “Hi, how y’all doing?” “Yes sir.” “No ma’am.” “Where are you from?” “How’s the family?” “Have a wonderful day.” The smiles and congeniality from strangers make it seem like everyone is trying to sell you something. The infamous New Jerseyian apathy, blank stares, and sometimes outright rudeness make everyday activities much more efficient and enjoyable. I just want groceries and a bottle of shampoo, not your life story.
Prosperity. Texans love to brag about how many people and companies are moving to the state. They claim that the cost of living is around 20% lower and that it’s way easier to start a business in Texas. This may be true; however, an obviously more influential factor for the masses moving south is that Texas is less affected by climate change than other states. The New York Times explains that as global temperatures rise, the already-hot state will not “might not feel as overheated by comparison.”
Right-wing. Extremist policies in Texas make getting an abortion is next to impossible. Thanks to a recent law which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, it’s now illegal to kill a preborn human after about six weeks. New Jerseyians, on the other hand, respect the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and so it’s perfectly legal to kill your preborn child in NJ. In fact, the state legislature recently voted to codify Roe v. Wade and force public insurance carriers to cover abortions.
Final verdict: 3/10. Texas is infested with gun-toting, COVID-positive, too-smiley, conservative extremists. Plus, their bagels are awful.