You probably think I am writing about the election but I am referring to the Super Bowl Finale in Houston, Texas. I work for a variety of companies who organize events here and occasionally am contracted to meet and greet VIPs at the airport. Well this year there was so much work for everyone and from all accounts visitors loved the welcome they received in Houston.
It is a friendly, if ugly as a bug, city and the weather was damn near perfect. The Bostonians must have thought they were in Mexico! One day I worked a 13 hour shift in every terminal (there are 5) and on the drive home, couldn’t remember which foot worked the brake or accelerator. Muscle memory kicked in… There were so many funny moments. Volunteering is very popular in Houston and everyone was represented by ethnicity, disability, age and gender. After 13 hours of little girls cheer-leading at the terminals, I and my colleagues had nightmares about H O U S T O N!!! The older volunteers were just as enthusiastic. I was meeting a VIP coming from Mexico and the volunteers had lined up to greet them, shouting welcome and giving out free maps (with discounts). Watching the Mexican flight, I was curious about the reaction – head down, no thank you – until I realized that they probably thought they were timeshare vendors! As we all know, football is really soccer or ‘futbol’… The American version is based on a very rough Irish game. Oh, I can hear the boos over the internet!
At another terminal, I nearly got a new husband. A handsome silver fox came in with a Stetson, jeans and a BIG belt buckle. I couldn’t resist asking him, “Are you a genuine cowboy?” “Why, yes ma’am, I am”, he responded while doffing his Stetson. We started talking (he was not my VIP) and I found out that he had a farm in East Texas. “Oh”, I said excitedly, “Do you have Brahmins or Longhorns?” By then he had caught the Scottish accent and you could see that I had become his ideal woman. Blonde, with an accent and loves cattle. Given the argument I had with Teddy this last week, I should have taken his card. I am just jesting – 13 hour shifts make one testy…
Like every major city, immigrants come and join in whatever business their countrymen have gone into. After the WWII in Scotland, many Polish people came and set up as cobblers. Jews became tailors and Italians opened cafes. In Houston, Iranian and Iraqi immigrants often become limo drivers. They had all been chatting with me over the days and one Iraqi driver said hello. His cheeky friend asked why I hadn’t said hello to him, so I responded, “Salam Alaikum”. He then accused me of profiling him and we all fell about laughing. It was a light moment in an otherwise somber week at airports. This week I saw some Patriot fans heading home and asked them if they had enjoyed their visit. Their eyes lit up and they said, “Houston is AWESOME!” I laughed, bid them farewell and thought, ‘so you got laid, too’.