You can find this on Facebook. My map is pretty bare compared to a lot I’ve seen. Many people have visited nearly every state in the union. I’m not especially a joyful traveler, i.e., I don’t really care much for the process. After the initial excitement of “starting” I’m pretty much happy to be drugged and awakened at the destination. I find “sightseeing” tiresome. This may in fact be genetic or at least experientially induced, because as a child we traveled hardly ever. We traveled to upstate Michigan and a couple of times to see relatives in Canada but that’s it. My father often remarked that “he had seen all the traveling he ever needed in the war.” So that was that.
So I have seldom traveled for pleasure, but rather for a reason. Business mostly or moving.
That has not stopped me from having rather definite opinions about most places, having seen them or not, or having at best tasted of their airports or highways and little else but a place to placate a growling stomach.
I rather assume that most of my impressions are wrong, at least the ones that are based on the aforementioned.
However, I shall relate some of them.
Shall we start with those I know best?
- MICHIGAN: born there, raised there. Flint to be exact. Lived in Detroit for many years as a working adult, already spiraling in major decline. Flint nothing more than the poorest of step-sisters. If Buffalo is the armpit of America, Flint is a dirty factory town with almost no redeeming qualities. When traveling, to say you were from Flint brought stares of non-comprehension, to say Detroit brought an instant compassionate grimace. Full of lovely trees and forests in the upper portions and lots of lakes. Good places to raise a family but know that everyone north and west of Detroit hates the city for sucking the lifeblood of the state into its hungry jaws of need. Upper peninsula is like another country with more affinity for Wisconsin than down-staters. Cold and snowy in the winter, hot and humid in the summer and nearly always partly cloudy which used to piss me off as a young girl chasing a tan. Would rather push a hot poker in my eye that ever live there again. Seriously. You are not a true mid-western state, and you are way too unsophisticated to be an Eastern state. I do know a lot of fine people who live there and I don’t know why they do. Provincial as one would expect. If you must visit, stick to Ann Arbor and East Lansing.
- CONNECTICUT: Lived there two years. Loved it immensely. New England is the place where it all began. Where constitutions were hidden in the hollows of trees dating from the 1660’s. Where cemeteries host the remains of revolutionary soldiers. Where a day trip can take your through five states and back home. Where the Atlantic is but a short drive. Where I-95 covers in part the Old Post Road that brought mail from the newly instituted Washington D.C. to Boston. Where the lights of NYC are but an hour’s train ride away. Where David Letterman lives and Paul Newman did, and Katherine Hepburn and Eugene O’Neill. It is the setting for A Long Day’s Journey into Night. Where houses bear signs designating their date of build in the 1700’s, and the whole place wreaks of history. What’s not to love? Where you realize that lots of street and county names in Michigan originated from. Home of Yale. Cosmopolitan as it gets.
- IOWA: Lived there twelve years. Hated the very thought of it. Where dumb football players originated. Where one of your best friends can be a self-employed high school drop-out who is a man of all trades and would be unrecognizable cleaned up and another of your best friends is a retired college professor and can discourse on a variety of subjects with ease. It’s a ying-yang state, proving that to be rural is not to necessarily be a bumpkin. Proving that wholesome farming people are some of the best you will ever meet always willing to lend a hand. Living near a town that is unincorporated where everyone knows your name and nobody is pretentious. Going to a church where there are a dozen retired and current professors and even the CEO of one of the two major hospitals. Where a first class college town exists but an hour away and art thrives in the hearts and minds of people who live in small towns. Truly a state not to be believed by the average person. Just don’t go west, where it all falls apart and becomes exactly what you would expect–red neck nuts who vote for Steve King.
- NEW MEXICO: Lived here two and one-half years and probably for the rest of my life. Visited once for two weeks back in the early 90’s. Realized it was special. Mountains everywhere, most all raised from volcanic activity. Lava is abundant in some places, black rock protruding in forested hills and mountain trails. Some of the most magnificent scenery, certainly to rival Arizona and Oregon and Washington State. Deserts and mesas painted in desert colors. Turquoise skies and red clay sands. In the North and West the Native populations are prevalent, in the South we are filled with a wonderful mix of Hispanic peoples, most from Mexico. The mix of Native and Mexican brings its own special Southwestern flair to decorating, cooking and architecture that is truly New Mexican. It embraces the cultural heritage of its peoples like no other state I believe. Anglos know they tread on land that belonged to others and they are truly blessed guests welcomed to a land that was not savaged by the greed that faced Texas and California, because nobody saw anything here worth pursuing here. It’s roots are deep as New Englands and probably more obvious with petroglyphs and carved declarations abounding on its cliffs. Spanish conquistadors claimed the land for the Church and for the Empire of Spain “Here was the General Don Diego de Vargas, who conquered for our Holy Faith and for the Royal Crown all of New Mexico at his own expense, year of 1692.” etched in the rock at El Morro.
- TEXAS: Been to Houston and Dallas. Not especially impressed. Traveled to El Paso more than a dozen times. El Paso and Las Cruces share a television network and weather. Lots of our commercials refer to locations in El Paso. So El Paso at least doesn’t seem exactly Texan to me. Still, I don’t like crossing the state line. People drive like maniacs. State is just too damn big. Sign not long after entering Texan from New Mexico, says something like Beaumont 856 miles. That is just too far. Traveled through the handle of Texas from Oklahoma. Open, boring land. You just have to wonder at a state that can produce a Stockman, a Gohmert and a Perry in one generation. The water must be bad. Still I have some fine friends who live there, and I wish them well. Some dude who sells cars has his mother hawking for him–old bat who says, “he’s such a good boy”. This to a man in his 60’s. Doesn’t speak well for sanity there.
- GEORGIA: Confine yourself to the airport and you will be fine. I am deeply concerned that venturing too far from it will lead to your being sucked into the vortex that will spit you out in stupid Alabama where all thought goes to die.
- ALABAMA: Already said all that needs be said.
- MINNESOTA: People talk funny. If there are aliens, they left their kids here. They elected a wrestler as governor. They elected Michele Bachmann. They were the real site of the television show Fargo, which tells you just how confused they really are. They may have 10,000 lakes but every one of them suckers is frozen over now. They live there by choice. The capital of stupid has this state in its sights.
- WYOMING: Not to be confused with Montana, but always is. Open skies. Forever ruined because Dick (the Dick) Cheney claims it as home. If ever a mother should have thrown that chick from the nest, this was the child that should have landed on his head. Well, actually he probably did. Think cowboys and cattle and the women who attach themselves to a man wearing boots with cow shit through the house. Ain’t a pretty sight is it? Look up and things are much better.
- DELAWARE: Just a throughway to other places. Nothing to see here folks, move along.
- KENTUCKY: a place only horses and drunks can love.
- OHIO: You have to get really high to forget you are in this god-forsaken waste of good space. It has nothing to recommend it. Two demerits for housing that atrocious university which clings to “THE” as its claim to importance.
- COLORADO: Home to aging hippies and fundamentalists. What a mix. Watch where you walk. A good place to buy pot.
- CALIFORNIA: Psychopathic and schizophrenic at the same time. Everything and nothing. New York on steroids, or the new laid back New Sophisticates. Has it all with a place for every value or moral turpitude invented by humans on the fast track to nowhere. But they all think they are going somewhere. There’s the rub. And the charm.
- NEVADA: only if you gamble.
- MAINE: “Let’s go to sight-see in Maine,” said nobody ever. They re-elected a vile and stupid governor, which means their synapses have long frozen over.
- NEW HAMPSHIRE: Like to think of themselves as independents but they just switch back and forth every two years because they talk funny too and can’t understand each other.
- FLORIDA: shaped like a penis. And they think like one too. Visit soon. Climate change will make it history.
- MISSISSIPPI: has a very strange and sick relationship with the letter S. and I, and P for that matter. Avoid it. Fifty-two percent of its citizens cannot spell it.
- WASHINGTON STATE: Nice except a perpetual cloud hangs over it and makes everyone grumpy.
- ALASKA: proves that pretty is not enough.
- HAWAII: Where God would have placed Eden if in fact he loved us.
Tell me I’m wrong.