Tell me about Odessa, Texas!

I’ve been offered a job in Odessa, Texas. It’s a fairly exciting legal position, but I’m not sure about transitioning from Washington, DC to small-cityTexas. Do we have any OdessaDopers on the Board? What’s it like living there? Google Streetview conveys a pretty bleak impression - is that accurate?

According to, pop: 100,000, hot summers, cold(ish) winters, 200 miles from nowhere. I’d pass.

I know it’s the town in Friday Night Lights, which was a fairly depressing portrait.

Also the town where Baby Jessica spent [sub]some period of time I don’t recall[/sub] trapped in a well.

Odessa has nothing to recommend it. If Texas has an armpit, Odessa is in it.

Before you consider moving to Odessa, think about living in D.C. Why do you live there? If you are just kind of there by circumstance and you aren’t enamored with living in the big city you might be very happy in Texas, but if the big city life appeals to you Odessa is probably not the best place for you.

Odessa is not going to be someplace you enjoy if you don’t like the heat. According to (and just my general memories of living in Texas, if not Odessa specifically) it isn’t unheard of to get to 100 degrees or more during the day in late April/early May. That goes from “isn’t unheard of” to “standard daily temperature” by June and July.

You probably will not like it there if you can’t stand bugs. Grasshoppers swarm in biblical numbers in the “fall” in Texas, to the point that I’ve seen them engulf an entire light poll at a football game in high school. Texas also has a decent number of really dangerous bugs, including various poisonous spiders and scorpions. One of my earliest memories is actually my dad screaming at me to get out of the sandbox as he ran over to stomp a scorpion to death before it stung me.

All that being said, people who love living in Texas really love living in Texas. If you like it there you will be happier than a pig in slop. Unfortunately, IME the opposite also applies. If you don’t like living in Texas you really don’t like living in Texas and leaving the state becomes an all-consuming goal. Go for a visit and stay for several days before you agree to take a job there to give you some idea of whether or not you might want to live there.

I never watched the TV series, but I read the book on which it was based, and I’d concur. (Then again, I’ve never been there, so I only have the one data point.)

IIRC, the city’s economy has historically been linked to the oil industry.

Shesh why is Odessa in all the shows? It was also the home of the Bennetts in Heroes.

I was talking about the book, not the TV show. The book is a non-fiction, journalistic exposé. The TV show is fiction and is set in a fictional town.

That was Midland which, granted, is only about 15 miles away.

And pretty tightly integated economically, from what I’ve right. The local paper, the Odessa American, runs housing ads from both cities, for example. And I believe the same organization runs the buses in both.

Thanks for the informative posts, all - keep them coming! And pbbth, what you’re saying really does hit the mark - I’m in DC for love of the city. That would be a problem if I moved to Odessa.

Ahh, sorry, that wasn’t clear. Having not watched the show, I didn’t know that it wasn’t set at Permian High. And, I agree that exposé is probably the right word for the book. It paints the locals as football-obsessed, at best, and racist, at worst.

That said, the book was written over 20 years ago. According to the City-Data site to which HeyHomie linked, it looks like Odessa’s population is now nearly half Hispanic; I don’t know if that was the case 20 years ago.

Generally they are lumped together. One is not from Odessa, but from Midland-Odessa. As far from it as possible.

And as for the OP’s question, dear god in heaven, it better be the world’s most exciting job and for a lot of money. At the time I was in college in a tiny New Mexico town, our NPR radio station was broadcast on a repeater a couple hundred miles away in Midland-Odessa. Yeah, its that bleak, radio has to be piped in.

I urge you to visit the area, in the SUMMER, and decide for yourself. Look around for all the things you enjoy in your current city, and see what is not out there.

Can anyone speak to the quality of life in Midlands? It isn’t far away, so I might be able to live there and commute to work. Is it significantly better than Odessa?

I am a native Odessan. Born in the Ector county hospital and lived there til 17 (left in 1981) and then in Lubbock, TX (120 miles north) for another 20 years. And yes, I went to “that” high school in the years directly preceding the book.

I spend a month or so there every other year.

Hot in summer, cold in winter, average rainfall somewhere in the 11-13" territory (and usually at least half that comes in one HUGE downpour), sandstorms, thunderstorms with hail, tornadoes, etc.

Built on oil and not much else, although that has improved somewhat in the last decade or so. Area is called the the Permian Basin or “Petroplex”. Odessa is kind of the blue collar town with Midland as the white collar sidekick.

Very redneck republican. Over 50% hispanic now if my Mom is to be believed.

There is money to be made there, but not much else to recommend the place, except for the fact that my whole family lives there. :wink:

However, you would have an opportunity to be a big fish in a little pond.

My mother is on the Board of Regents at the Junior College, Vice President of her Optimist Club and is a big community booster. If you need a tour guide, I would be happy to hook you up with her and/or my sister/BIL who live in Midland (they are younger, hipper and don’t go to bed at 8pm :D).

PM or email me if you would like more info. And, ask away. If I can’t answer, I have a mom, two sisters and forty or fifty aunts/uncles/cousins who can.

All depends on which side of either town you are on.

Yes, Midland is emminently commutable.

I lived in Odessa and worked in Midland for around two years. My mom and sister both worked in both cities as real estate appraisers for years. They would have morning appt. in Midland, noon in Odessa, back to Midland in the afternoon and back home for supper.

After the 2000 census when both cities were lumped together under the “metropolitan area” umbrella, they gained alot of national retailers and chain restaurants that would not have considered moving into either city alone.

Midland probably has more to offer than Odessa, but not by much. To put it in perspective, much of the book “No Country for Old Men” takes place in Odessa, but I believe most of the scenes that weren’t shot in New Mexico were shot near Marfa, presumably because Odessa was just too bleak. Odessa makes Abilene look somewhat lush and green by comparison. I really don’t want to scare you out of it (or talk you into it either, for that matter), but be prepared for some culture shock if you move from D.C. to Midland-Odessa. Plenty of people live there and love it, but I would definitely recommend visiting first.

Hey, if you move there and hate it, you’re only 300 or so miles from Austin. :slight_smile:

I would also add, that unless forced by illness coupled with extreme financial distress…you couldn’t pay me to go back and live there.:eek:

Yeah, this is kind of what I meant by you either really like it or you really don’t. Everyone I know that likes Texas looooves it and will brag on facebook about how they just bought a house for $112,000. Everyone I know who hates it haaates it and could not be bribed back with free property and unlimited hookers.

Hah! Yah, that was one of the first things I checked when I got the offer. “Can I commute from Austin? Oh … no, absolutely not.”

Really one of those moments where you say to yourself: “Texas is big. Really, mind-bogglingly big. You might think it’s a long way down the street to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to Texas …”

I’m from New England. We limit our states to a sensible size there. Heck, Rhode Island could more-or-less fit inside a Texan cattle ranch.