You Can Always Go Downtown

When I accepted my job at Schipul back in January, I was scared.

It wasn’t the challenge of the new job, no, it was because I was leaving something, Downtown Houston, that had very much become an important part of my identity.

Downtown has long been one of my favorite places in Houston. Shortly after graduating from college, I started hitting the Flying Saucer. While attending Texas Christian University, I had begun the quest of getting a plate at the original Flying Saucer in Fort Worth, TX. During this time, I got to know Downtown, and learned it was a helluva lot easier to figure out that most people around Houston think.

I was one of the thousands of folks that celebrated the Super Bowl and the MLB All-Star game. Downtown had finally arrived, and I was in the thick of it with people I count today as my best friends.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2005, I moved into the East End, and took a job at Society for the Performing Arts. My education in all things Downtown soared to a new level. I was working and playing Downtown, and even started taking METRO to work. Thus Urban Houstonian was born. I bought a Manhattan Portage messenger bag, subscribed to some Esquire and Texas Monthly magazines (because you need something to read on the bus to work), and started blogging about my adventures.

I was getting off the 36 Kempwood/Lawndale at Dallas and Rusk, and hoofing it the rest of the way to Jones Hall and the SPA offices. It was one of the best times of my entire life. Downtown was my neighborhood, my special place where anything was possible.

But that was all set to end when I took the job at Schipul. My urban commute of 5 miles was going to balloon to 22 miles! Schipul offices are OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY?! I was bracing for the daily grind of relying on I-10 for my daily commute. I-10! The harbinger of traffic death in Houston, Texas.

O – M – G!

Some of my friends joked that I was not going to have to start calling myself Sub-Urban Houstonian. The new job eventually necessitated a move JUST outside the Loop. Yes, the Urban Houstonian now lived outside the Loop. Look for my thoughts on that soon on my blog.

But here’s the thing, I’m still a Downtown guy. I’m a  subscriber to the Houston Ballet and Houston Symphony. I volunteer for SPA, and recently got to attend the most amazing performance by MOMIX. In fact, I attend MORE performances now than I did when I was working in the Theater District! And, last night, some fellow Schipulites and I even attended the Houston Downtown Alliance Heart of the City Gala last night at House of Blues.

What I thought I was going to lose, I have gained plus MORE, and I am so grateful to the people and opportunities that have allowed that to happen this Thanksgiving. Through them I’ve learned . . .

Everything’s waiting for you . . . in Downtown.

2 Replies to “You Can Always Go Downtown”

  1. Michael, I know how you feel regarding the allure of downtown Houston. When I worked at CenterPoint as a tech writer, i took the Park and Ride bus into town. There is something awesome about all the buildings, the pigeons and the people littering the one way streets. Schipul's location freaked me out at first too but it has become a second home of sorts. anyway, great post and thanks for sharing.

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