Whenever I travel out of state (or out of country, as unoften as that happens), I’m asked where I’m from. A social nicety; others are simply making conversation – no matter how much I’d rather talk to them about the weather or my views on acid wash jeans – and “where are you from” seems to be standard. But, this question always makes me want to lie about my home. Not because I’m embarrassed, but because everyone else is. When I say “I’m from Kansas,” (pronounced “Kaaansas”), it causes judgment.
Thanks to the likes of The Wizard of Oz and a high population of tractors, Kansas has a rap for being not only in the middle of nowhere, but immune to technology. I have been asked if I have Internet, what “types” of cars we drive, and whether or not TVs are allowed. Those from big cities, especially along the coast, don’t understand the ability for things to exist everywhere. Say, it’s OK for New York to have computers, and LA can have all the Wi-fi they desire, but for those things to exist in the areas between as well? Impossible. It’s as if they believe Kansas is the Amish headquarters of the world; cars are pulled by horse, and we farm with handheld plows. Apparently, the inventors of technology, when deciding upon future growth, played a giant game of hopscotch across a map, and Kansas was where the rock landed. It got jumped.
And then there’s a whole other misunderstanding of the United Statesian* culture all together – the foreigners, who couldn’t tell Old Jersey from West Connecticut. For them, I tell them to find the U.S. on a map, and put their finger to as close to the center as possible. In reality, this is still a few hundred years away from home, but for anyone who considers the Midwest a part of the Deep South, it’s close enough.
Of course, like anywhere else, Kansas has both its pros and cons. For example, public transportation exists only hours away, and driving can cause hazards like deer, rodents, or getting stuck behind a slow-moving grain truck. But, thanks to a small town, I never have to wait in line for errands. When heading to the bank or the post office – which are a short two-minute drive away, I can be in and out to find the same song playing on my still-running car’s radio. And businesses still take checks, which is nice because how else would I use up my 200 free checks that come with my free checking account?
Like any good theater tickets, the best part of Kansas is its being centrally located. If Texas ever chooses to secede, we’ll have Oklahoma as the buffer, while Canada is a safe three states away. Even Steven.
Tea at its Finest
In mid-Kansas, we sit on the edges of tea territories, where tea is a drink of choice, but how it’s served depends on the drinker. If you drove north, it’s unsweetened, and south, even by a few hours, it’s served pre-sweetened. But because we are on the seam, as a locationary buffer, many places offer both options – as if they were the Hannah Montana of beverage providers. Others just serve up the regular version with a basket of sugars and honey. Sweet tea DIY.
When it comes to hating sugar in your drinks, location can make all the difference. As my blog’s name may have given away, I drink a lot of tea. Hot tea, iced tea, room temperature tea, including all flavors and brands. But one thing I do not do is add sugar. I love Cajun, good BBQ, and the idea of jumping into cars through the window, but sweet tea makes me want to puke. But even if I did like the sugar mixed in, I’d still like to have the option of doing it myself.
That’s what I love the most about the Midwest: complementary packs of sweetener.**
*This is something I’m trying out.
**The real stuff, not fake Splenda or corn-based poison.
Tea pot picture courtesy of NatalieDee.com.