Houston's Hot and Other Heated Subjects by Joy Preble

I live in Houston. It is hot in Houston. How hot? Really, really, really hot. In the summer, we dress for the indoors, where we keep things freezer cold. Sometimes the temperature differential between outside and inside is so great that you walk outside after work and almost pass out from the hot wet rag in the face that is what passes for air from, oh, June through October. Halloween is often a sweaty affair under those costumes and masks.

Once, a while ago, some piece of the City of Houston hired a team to come up with a slogan to encourage tourism. (Although we are one of the most diverse cities in the country, with amazing art and culture and food-- oh the food!-- people don't always tend to come here just to look around). So what slogan did the genius ad folk come up with? You guessed it. HOUSTON IS HOT.  Someone paid $ for that.

Anyway. When I first moved here from Chicago, the weather was a bit of a shock. Now I think of it as reverse winter. We hibernate for four or five months and then,  somewhere around Halloween, we come outside. Fall, such as it is,  comes in fits and starts. Sometimes in the winter, it's still warm and humid. Many times the heat is on in the morning, the AC by afternoon.

But I've grown used to this city and its weather. Lots of other good hot stuff here. Like salsa. A good spicy salsa with our tortilla chips at any of our amazing Mexican restaurants is a Houstonian's birthright. Red. Green. Warm. Room temp. Lots of choices. But a good hot thing. As are the spices in so many other of the myriad of food cultures-- Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Chinese, Cajun... I'm really just getting started. And an icy jalapeƱo-infused margarita? Yup. Just had to throw that one in there.

And the writing and arts community, well, that's hot too. In the good way. I work now at Houston's oldest indie bookstore. Indie bookstores are hot these days. Also in the good way. Our customers are amazing. The conversation is always fascinating. My own work as a writer has heated up. (Okay, here I'll give a shout out to all of Texas. Texas writers rock. ) Books and literacy -- hot.
(Our politics are hot, too, although not always in a good way, but then there are political legends like Ann Richards. Look her up if you don't know her. Our former governor was hot. In the 'she's amazing' way.)

Y'all should come here. Like me, you might just end up putting down roots and staying.


  1. Love your post, Joy! My husband and I lived in Houston for a little over five years before children. Your post brings me back, LOL, and is spot on!

  2. I went to college in Columbia, SC. Their new tourism slogan is "Famously Hot!"

    1. I went to Army basic training at Fort Jackson in July and August. I would have used a different adverb before "Hot!" :)


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