Yep, ever since we've moved here, we've foreseen a problem developing that could not be ignored. When we announced that we were moving out of the family-friendly confines of the Great State of Texas, right smack in the middle of Charis's 2nd trimester of our first-born, we knew that he would have to be born a Floridian. : (
As any good Texan knows, that basically repudiates you in the all important categories of ability to consume spicy foods and identify good barbecue. To boot, your state flag is unable to fly at an equal height of Old Glory.
But, "Hey," we thought, "Charis wasn't born in Texas, and she turned out to be alright." So, hope remained in spite of the sad realization.
Then, the real horror of the situation started to sink in. Not only would our son be a Floridian, but he will also be born in the city of Tampa. This begs The Question.
What do you call someone from Tampa?
Someone from Houston is a Houstonian. A man from Austin is an Austinite. But what is someone from Tampa called? Let's just say the answer seemed more than obvious.
We immediately began to search far and wide for an answer that would disconfirm what our hearts knew to be true. Yet, it seemed that every person we ran into and asked had come to the same conclusion we had. A person from Tampa was labeled a "Tampon."
Of course, they usually said it with a big smile on their faces. It was just a big joke to them. They weren't from Tampa. They were from somewhere up North. yankees. They didn't realize the years of ridicule our son would undoubtedly be subjected to on our future trips to the Great Lone Star State.
Texan 1: "Hey, kid, where ya from?
Our son: "Tampa, sir."
Texan 2: (With an incredulous look) You're a Floridian?!?!?
Our son: (Face filled with shame) "Yes , ma'am."
Texan 1: (Guffawing) " Not just that, he's a TAMPON, too!!!
All but our son: "hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahha!"
That's a pretty horrible fate for the poor little guy.
One glimmer of a chance remained. We had yet to run into a single person who advertised themselves as Tampa born, Tampa raised.
Tonight, our son was vindicated.
We showed up innocently enough to the local Ford dealership to have a small scratch on our Expedition painted since the dealer we recently bought it from had been gracious enough to say they would pay for it.
Rainier (like the Mount...seriously) was the only person left in the office. He met us at the door. Everyone else had left to try to avoid all the rush hour traffic that was gnarled out in front of the dealership. The daily grind of the traffic was further aggravated by the hostage situation a few blocks north (at a gun range...seriously). It was there, in the empty office, with the SWAT helicopters buzzing continuously overhead, that Rainier confided in us that he was born and raised here. In Tampa.
With trepidation in our voices, we asked him The Question. Initially, he gave us the same joshing smile as all the others and told us what his yankee brother called him. Our hearts sank.
And then he said the word that was like a sweet oasis in the middle of the Sahara. Tampanian. The word rang strong and true across the empty walls of the body shop.
"Tampanian," we said together with relief. Our son would never be a tampon. He might not be a Texan. He may even be a Floridian. But he will definitely be a Tampanian.