Photo: Alexis, Casas por Cristo Intern 2006
Let’s be honest: El Paso is a blackhole. Wait, wait…hear me out.
I’ve used that comparison for many years to simply state that, what happens everywhere else in the country doesn’t happen here, and what works here, can’t work everywhere else. I like to think of it as a sort of ‘badge of honor’ thing.
Consider this: El Paso is four hours away from any other major city. It simply isn’t a hop, skip or a jump to get to anywhere “cool.” So what’s the best thing we we do? We make our own “cool!” That is, we find things that we call our own and we OWN it.
The great emergence of talent in the city right now is something we haven’t seen in a long time. We need to nurture them, support them, encourage them…not just musicians, but the young chefs, comedians, artists, athletes, talent in general. What a wonderful time to be able to say I’M FROM EL PASO.
SLIMEY?? MUDHOLE?? MY HOME, THIS IS…
Now, I’ll be one of the first to admit, I used to be one of those who would say, “El Paso needs to be more like (fill in the blank of any other city that isn’t EL Paso) But then I realized, why be like every other city? Why be like ANY other city? We should be the city that people say THEY need to be like. I know, I know, we are leaps and bounds away from that.
BUT why clone ourselves into something we are not? We need to avoid the homogenization of our country.
If we are like any other city, then why leave? Why visit? If we have the same stores, attractions, and restaurants as other places, why visit? And why would other people in other cities visit us? The truth is, out of town money needs to be spent here in town. That is a major part of what develops our dusty little city.
Let’s have something unique that San Antonio doesn’t have, that the people of Dallas will say, hey, I’ve never seen THAT before. That the good ol’ boys in Amarillo will think, woah, El Paso is more than just a border town!!
There’s a restaurant/bar in Las Vegas called Border Food Juarez/El Paso that has some of the highest ratings on the internet. And guess what, the owner is from El Paso! That says what? That says what we have always known about our food. But why travel 10 hours to Las Vegas when, I bet you…no…I guarantee you that same style food is probably walking distance from where you reading this now!
Of course, it’s more than food here…and I will absolutely share more of the things we have, the things we need, and the things that, believe it or not, are actually obtainable in the next few weeks with you, my fellow El Pasoans.
But for now, I leave you with some homework….what is El Paso to you….on a personal level, what is “its an El Paso thing”…I bet you can come up with a few right off the top of your head, and I bet a few that you may have actually forgot about.