Yes, hippies, that’s right. Get out of the patchouli bath and pay as much attention as your pot-addled span will allow, because it’s time for another lesson in American Geography, S. Style.

Today: Some Of That Stuff In The Middle (previously, see The Bottom Right-Hand Corner)

Texas
Visited in: 1999, 2002, Next Week
High Point: the food at Austin’s Magnolia Cafe, specifically the "love migas," which are, simply put, the fucking best edible creation ever invented; also, the fact that many of my boyfriend’s relatives actually talk like Boomhauer, my idol.
Low Point: that would have to be when Jacob’s uncle yelled across the table: "Now, AH have a question for YOU, as a JEEEEEEW." Me: "Yes?" Uncle: "Is it true that h’when y’all get married, y’all have arranged marriages to keep y’all’s money in y’all’s family?"

What Texas lacks in religious tolerance, it makes up for in landscape, down-to-earth folks, and the lost art of slow talking. Despite feeling like I may at any moment be rounded up and shot, the time I spent on Jacob’s aunt’s farm was really nice, and while they probably thought I was the devil incarnate, I still enjoyed their hospitality. The out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Texas, the one Pee Wee sings about in "Pee Wee’s Big Adventure," is pretty awesome, but if I had one honest nonpartisan complaint about Texas it would be: too much highway and too many ugly personalityless real estate development gated communities. If I had a partisan complaint about Texas, it’d be that the rest of Texas hates Austin and makes fun of it all day long until the Longhorns game is on, at which point everyone watches rapt, even if they are at a barbecue in the middle of the country without access to running water or bathrooms (in case you’re wondering, they rig up a long, long, long extension cord from a trailer and put the TV on a folding chair).

Nebraska
Visited in: every time I’ve driven across the country (a lot)
High Point: driving through without stopping
Low Point: the Country Kitchen in Ogallala, which is connected to some sort of masonic elk’s club or something. Actually it was kind of cool, although why anyone would need a full stack of pancakes with an omelette is beyond me.
Apparently Omaha is where all the new indie rock gods come from because one guy from Bright Eyes grew up there. I can’t pass judgement on Omaha because I’ve never been there, but I can pass judgement on the rest of Nebraska, which seems to have about four residents and absolutely no landscape. I think if Nebraska disappeared, nobody would notice for like a week, until the smell started bothering Iowa. And don’t get me started on Iowa. Iowa can kiss my ass.

Missouri
Kansas City was going to call itself "The Buttcrack Of Civilization," but since Newark, NJ already had the patent on that title, they had to settle for "City of Fountains." I once had to go to Kansas City for two friends’ wedding (the two friends were marrying each other, natch), and it was the middle of the summer and I was stuck without a car and I hate weddings, so maybe my perception of Kansas City was tainted. My friend (half of the now-married couple) refers to it as "The Paris of the Plains," but he might be being sarcastic.

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4 thoughts on “The Beatnik’s Guide to the States Whose Majority of Residents Think We Are Morally Depraved Sodomite Heathens Who Cheat Welfare, Part Deux

  1. love it, love it, love it. i’ve never been to any of these shitholes, so i totally appreciate the schooling. now i know what i’ve been missing, and feel more confident about my decision to conserve gas and move to NYC instead.

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  2. I hear they have good barbecue in Kansas City, MO. Also, my brother was born there. Therefore, I have an odd, displaced affection for Kansas City, really for no good reason at all.

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  3. The meaties in KC did confirm that barbecue, Patricia–I didn’t mean to paint these places as shitholes, Shauna, I’m sure they have nice areas. Just nowhere near the highway (although that is hardly a surprise).

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