Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Sunflower State

When I first moved to Connecticut, the people I met had all kinds of questions about my home state.  None had ever been to Kansas- surprise, surprise- so I became their primary reference guide.  Over time, I discovered that their questions could be grouped into four main categories:  Geographical, Agricultural, Tornadic, and Other.  While I certainly didn't mind- in fact, often welcomed- queries about my upbringing in the midwest, after a while I did get tired of being asked whether or not I had ever milked a cow.  Here's a little taste of what I was often asked.

  • Kansas- that's one of those states in the middle, right?
  • Hmmm, Kansas- that's one of those square states, right?
  • Did you grow up on a farm?
  • Have you ever milked a cow?
  • Have you ever touched a cow?
  • Have you ever touched a pig?
  • Have you ever touched a chicken?  I mean a live one?
  • Have you ever ridden a horse?
  • Do you know any cowboys?
  • Wait, what did you say?  What's 4-H?
  • Have you ever ridden on a tractor?
  • Have you ever seen a tornado?
  • What's it look like?
  • What's it sound like?
  • I heard that the sky can be completely clear and blue and a tornado can just come right down without warning.  Is that true?
  • How can you live in a place that has things like tornadoes?
  • Do you like "The Wizard of Oz?"
  • Isn't Kansas, like... kind of claustrophic?
I only received that last question once, and was completely bewildered by it, until my co-worker explained that he would feel claustrophic if he ever lived in a place so far from any open ocean.  I told him that Connecticut, with all it's trees and high population density felt far more claustrophic to me than my wide-open-spaces home. 

I have to say that I probably received more tornado questions than any other, closely followed by those in the Agricultural category.  One of my favorites is one that was actually posed to Derek.  A man asked Derek where he was from, and when he responded, "Iowa," the man followed up by asking, "So, you get a lot of hurricanes out there?"

Derek paused, then clarified, "Hurricanes?" 

The man missed his chance to correct his gaffe when he said, "Yeah, hurricanes."

"Nope, we don't really get any hurricanes in Iowa."  I think it showed great restraint on Derek's part for not giving any number of smart-aleck remarks that had to have come to mind.

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