Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » "Where is Victoria?": Differentiation


So there I was in Austin with a bunch of strangers from those big cities. When you make small talk due to not knowing other people, some of the first conversations are about the weather of course. Given our location, many of the topics were about “Wow, what a beautiful capitol building we have.” Somewhere down the conversation came the point of asking the small chatter question that would cure the uncomfortable silence, “Where are you from?”

I am tempted. I was tempted to reply, “Where is that?” When I am was told that the other person was from “Houston” or “Austin” or “San Antonio” or “Corpus Christi.” Why the heck would I do that? Well because I wanted to see their reaction to someone that didn’t know where there hometown was from. It would be a sort of behavioral experiment like standing in an elevator facing the crowd rather than facing the elevator door.

I refrained from doing so, mainly because Victoria already has the mistaken stereotype of being Hickton. However, I did intentionally do away with the common reply to “Where is Victoria?” I never once used “We are the Crossroads.” I figured that had I done so, the conversation about our secret city in the shadow of 4 large cities would have ended. Who wants to talk about a city in a crossroads? There is a very important aspect to being a crossroad, but the way I hear it interpreted makes Victoria sound like a place on the way to somewhere else. This is the last crossroads that would create a good conversation.

No, Victoria is a crossroads because we are at the heart those surrounding areas. It is where all those roads lead like the hub point of a wheel or the strategy of Middle Ages’ monasteries. I would speak of Victoria as the hub and those larger metros as our suburbs. That definitely flipped the conversation around. Suddenly, those strangers to Victoria wanted to know more about this place. They were intrigued or mystified. They had never heard of a town spoken of like this because they were so used to their big city being the hub. It piqued their interest. This would lead to other conversations away from the big city to what is going on in our big town. I suspect that the big city is so large that people are bombarded with so much stuff that it makes it difficult to chat about what is going on. With small city, Victoria has plenty to discuss. In fact, I think I convinced a person to drive from San Antonio to come see Elizabeth Gilbert speak at Victoria College. We were discussing our latest reads and she was finishing up “Eat, Pray, Love.”

As the conversation ended, I could tell she was quite impressed with her city’s hub. Who knows, maybe she will move out of the suburbs and closer to our urban life that includes very large greenscapes before we reach to suburbia.