19.2.06

El Paso

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before somewhere, but it’s been on my mind lately and I have to write about it. Last night, I was procrastinating my work duties. I felt entitled to it though. I woke up at the butt crack of dawn to take my PPR. I was done in about two hours, but it still doesn’t negate the fact that I’d been freaking out about it all week. I think all went well, though.

Anyway, I was messing around on Yahoo playing games and junk when this guy contacts me via the messenger thing. Turns out, he’s from El Chuco. I was amused because I don’t get to talk to many Paseños these days. It was interesting that he said he prefers San Antonio. It brought back all these memories.

When I used to live in El Paso, all I wanted was out. I wanted to get the farthest away as possible. During my high school years, my friends and I all made plans about how we were going to leave as soon as we graduated. One of us was going to Texas A & M, another to Texas Tech, and me, well, my sister had put out the invitation to Houston. We were going to help each other move and we would all meet up for Spring Break.

When I graduated, all that became well just talk. Most of us ended up at EPCC (El Paso Community College), the lucky ones at UTEP, and the really unlucky ones, well working for the man. Years passed and still, all I could think about was getting the heck out of there someday. Then there came that day that I got the e-mail from my sister, once again, extending her invitation. I knew it was “now or never,” so without thinking about it further, I said yes and started making plans to leave.

A couple months later, I was beyond eager to leave. I couldn’t wait for the summer to end; I made it my personal goal to leave by the 4th of July weekend. Never mind that school didn’t start until late August, I needed to leave before to get things in place. Thinking back now, I don’t know what the hurry was. I like to think that I was dying to get out of Hell Mart.

It’s been about three and half years now, and I wish I could go back. It took me leaving to realize that my hometown wasn’t El Craphole. It’s so rich in many things. Yes, things are much different there. In some ways, life is slower, in other ways, life is much harder, but you can’t deny that the place has personality, lots of it.

Sometimes, I think the saddest thing is that no one really cares. Many of us, who have left and “made” something of ourselves, dream and think about going back, but we never will. We’ll extend a hand to someone else in hopes that they’ll make something of themselves and go back and help out our fellow Paseños. Me, well, I’ll continue to teach these kids that go to a school a lot like mine, but I’ll probably never go back and help out the kids that go to the school I went to.

7 comments:

Ktrion said...

Thanks for this post, BBG!

I grew up in northern New Mexico, which haunts me and pulls me, and at the same time i feel i could never survive there. Those were some of the hardest years of my life.

And at the time, El Paso looked like the promised land, by contrast. :)

One woman's floor is another woman's ceiling.

La Brown Girl said...

Sometimes, the nostalgia gets in the way and it's so hard to think that way. Your floor and ceiling quote might just be my new motto.

Daily Texican said...

That's the way it happens. I wanted to leave el valle, then I wanted to go back. So, I went back. Then, I left again. Now, I'm not sure what I want to do.

Anonymous said...

i guess my floor is your ceiling. houston was the place i came back to. and i'm staying...for as long as i can tell right now. anyway, that's all i wanted to say. jp

Vanessa said...

You described what every senior in El Paso high schools talk about--including me. Crazy, huh?

It wasn't until I left that I realized how special the city is (even the Eastside, despite all my complaints) I was never much of a cheerleader for El Paso until I left. Now it really, really annoys me whenever I encounter somebody who doesn't know El Paso and yet feels like they can poop all over it! To my face!

I think young people yearn to leave because El Paso seems small, too familiar, and little hokey. Greener, biggere pastures are east (Austin, San Antonio, Houston) or west (Las Vegas, Los Angeles). Its part of the mythology of being an El Pasoan. Only a few ever realize that bigger doesn't mean better and there's really nothing wrong with staying home.

Alma said...

Did you write this post with me in mind? Wow! You describe what's been on my mind/heart these past few weeks. I just came back from a trip to mi Matamoros querido...I so long to go back for good.

GuusjeM said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog- I hope your kids did well, I hate TAKS and what it does to the kids- we had one 8 year old so stressed out he was throwing up and several were in tears they were so scared of the test - all 8 year olds who are facing it for the first time.