How Houston and Its Diverse Hubs Made Me Who I Am
It’s a sturdy sort of empathy, the kind that makes things happen—whether it’s after the loss of a sports team, or before three hours of traffic, or when the waters are rising.
Explaining those layers to someone who’s not a local, or anyone who’s gone away and come back, can be an ordeal. The city’s like this now, but also it’s also like that. And a little bit of those. And some of that other thing, too. There’s always the melting pot analogy, but, really, it’s more like hot pot—a dish that’s dipped in three, four, and five times, with less regard for the pleasantries than the experience.
Have you eaten? Why not? Then are you hungry?
Bryan Washington’s debut collection, Lot, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books. He has written for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Vulture, BuzzFeed, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, GQ, FADER, The Awl, and Catapult. He lives in Houston.
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Montrose was unofficially codified as the nexus of queer life in Houston. If you held a map to the wall, I could tell you how we came to be on those streets.
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You’re in the city, but you aren’t. You don’t have to spend any money. No one’s asking about your documentation. You don’t have to do much at all except for exist, and open your eyes.
There will be as many different iterations of this storm, and the ones to come, as there are Houstonians. And we have to hear them—they’re what will determine our map for the next one.