Well, that’s me and this is official my blogging debut, reader! My name is Matt Rodriguez, I’m 23 and until a couple of years ago, my entire existence had been based out of the same 10 mile radius in Houston, Texas (and loving it, by the way). I had always just assumed it was an innate, naturally occurring thing — you just grew up being a die-hard Houston fan. And I most certainly was.
My mom worked in Downtown Houston for as long as I can remember and I recall as a youngster seeing the buildings she commuted to and being totally enthralled by the Houston skyline. The skyscrapers seemed to me like awesome titans, inspiring greatness in those who had the graces to walk at their feet each day. My mom, being a single mother, worked outrageous hours — usually 12 per day, 6 days per week. That being said, my sister and I had very few opportunities to vacation growing up… it was just not possible for us and it was just something we accepted at a young age. Curiosity for what other cities and states had to offer was quickly replaced by the embrace of Houston and her countless suburbs as home. And what was there for a kid not to like, anyway? Houston had museums, sports, entertainment… ASTROWORLD. All of this being no more than 10 minutes from home made me a city slicker from grade school. I never really even got the itch to visit other places, let alone live there. From where I stood, where could be better? I would graduate high school, be a shoo in to the University of Houston, and with a good job in the city I could get a loft right in the middle of downtown and really experience all the city could bring to the table.
As a teenager I spent nearly every night in downtown anyway. As populous as Houston is, any touring musician was sure to play a show in the “H”. Growing up, I saw every band I’d ever heard of and then some. I had several friends from work who were moonlighting as club promoters. While still in high school, they would invite me out and show me Houston’s nightlife and club scene. I felt like I knew a secret nobody else in my graduating class could imagine. Not even 45 minutes south was Galveston Island. All summer long, my friends and I would load up whatever vehicle held the most people, fill it up with more bodies than was physically comfortable and wing it all weekend on the beach, bonfires and all. Houston was the playground we romped all over.
Here’s a much younger me, probably around 16 with Minnesota rapper P.O.S. in Downtown Houston. His group, a hip-hop collective called Doomtree had been visiting to play a few shows at the time and I was lucky enough to catch up with them hang before their set began.
Soon came my high school graduation, and while some moved on to supposed bigger and better things, I had no interest. My friends were all going stick around anyway and the University of Houston wasn’t exactly elusive. I could kickstart my life again whenever I felt it necessary, but I thought it would be better to take a year off from school, much to my mom’s chagrin. While in hindsight it seems juvenile, even to me, this proved to be one of the most pivotal decisions leading to what my life is today. One of my best friends, Dino, had constantly been in my ear about how wonderful the town he had picked for school was. For months I heard how eccentric, and active, and beautiful this place called San Marcos was and once a week I received a phone call from Dino, regaling me with the series of adventures he’d been on that week. I wasn’t the outdoorsy type myself and hardly interested in school, so very little of his attempted persuasion got through to me. Until I visited. After so much nagging from the guy — apply, apply, did you apply yet? I’ll help you, apply, it’s easy, you’ll love it, apply, apply, etc… I gave him the benefit of the doubt and agreed to come stay a weekend. During Austin Reggae Fest. I love Reggae. I loved San Marcos. I stayed for 10 days with only clothes for about 2 and a half. Game… Over. I never looked at Houston the same again. The hill country was just a much simpler environment. Everybody here seemed to be here for one thing… Just to have a good time. And go to school too, but go to school and have a good time. Over the next 6 months I visited Dino probably five times. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to visit so often that I figured I should just move. And just like that my interest in education was immediately renewed.
I applied to Texas State for the next available semester, which was a spring session. The acceptance letter, breaking the news to family, picking a house, packing and moving all occurred over a two week span. I decided I needed a life experience somewhere far away from Houston and without hesitation I packed up and left. It took some coaxing and practice and a couple years’ time, but I can now officially say I am a bobcat. My views on nearly every aspect of life have changed since my arrival and I don’t plan on looking back. This weblog should be a testament of such and hopefully serve as motivation for some of you to seek out change as well. Welcome to San Marcos, reader!