Editor's Note: About two years ago, Cathy Parsons moved from Music City (Nashville) to the Bayou City (Houston). In a periodic column, she writes about her new life here.
A few weeks ago, someone who once heard me say that since I moved to Houston it seemed like I was on a permanent vacation asked me how things were going. You know, since I have lived here for more than two years, do I still see the city with rose-colored glasses?
I am delighted to say that my love for the city is stronger than ever. In fact, I consider myself a student of the city. So one day, I hope to have a M.H.—Masters of Houston. The best possible advanced degree, to my way of thinking.
I still get freaked out when I drive on the higher elevated freeways and have yet to learn all of the names of the major roads, but I rarely get lost anymore.
Since my arrival, I constantly find new things to rave about to my fabulous and loving boyfriend RT (who is now my husband), my family and friends back in Tennessee, and anyone else who will listen.
As my job has me driving around the city basically most of the week, it is actually fairly astonishing that I have refrained from having any type of accident at all. I still get freaked out when I drive on the higher elevated freeways and have yet to learn all of the names of the major roads, but I rarely get lost anymore.
I never tire of taking in new sights as my Houston education continues. The growth is simply amazing—with impressive real estate properties breaking ground daily, new shops, high-end movie theaters and a serious restaurant scene that is getting major national press. (And a big shout out to the person who recommended Coppa. It is fantastic!) I love it all. If there has ever been a better time to live in Houston, I can’t imagine it.
A sight for sore eyes
There is, however, one sight that both intrigues and concerns me. It is the particular graffiti target along the bottom of the underpass where Shepherd and Memorial intersect. You know, that pretzel-ly merger that proves very challenging to newcomers.
I dislike graffiti of all types on public property and always have and consider it completely off base, and of course completely illegal. But there has been something about these images at this super-busy underpass that has captured my attention.
I dislike graffiti of all types on public property but there has been something about these images at this super-busy underpass that has captured my attention.
It isn’t the usual swirly names and symbols, but an altogether different visual. I am not sure why, but the same image stayed up for a couple of months and then a new one appeared virtually overnight to take its place.
The first one I noticed was of a pink pig drifting downwards via a purple parachute. There were a couple of words that went along with this, I think, but I can’t remember them now. This was replaced by two black and white mirror images of a man with the words "Fight me" underneath. Fight Club invitation?
This image will remain a complete mystery, no doubt. The latest display has since been covered up and for all I know the person responsible was cited and/or paying a hefty fine for this little project. But my thoughts are if you have some type of artistic bent and can put something out there that makes people (well, me at least) pay attention, then why not turn it into a legal and lucrative venture?
Heck, I would fork over some cash for a cool T-shirt with the parachute pig on it. What about putting this talent to benefit others? Is anyone else following the oh-so-sad stories posted on Facebook by Barrio Dogs and other organizations of the many, many homeless dogs that wander the city streets?
Maybe the person responsible for the graffiti could create art for the purposes of selling it, and then use part of the proceeds to help out a worthy cause, like Barrio Dogs or Trees for Houston or Habitat for Humanity or any number of organizations that are trying to make the city even better. The list is long and the needs are great. It could happen, right? And who knows? This altruistic turn of events might even result in riches and fame along the way.
What do you say, readers: Is graffiti an inevitable part of big city living? And how can we use it positive ways?