Sunday, January 20, 2008

Characteristically Nebraska

I spent the weekend in Nebraska at a small retreat and amidst the hustle of the planned schedule, I was fascinated with my attempt to figure out, "What makes Nebraska, Nebraska, and not, say, New York?"

Observation # 1: In Nebraska, a road is considered plowed if there is less than an inch of snow on it. In New York, a plowed road is defined by the full exposure of pavement.

Observation # 2: In New York there is something called the city, something called the suburbs and something called the country. In Nebraska, the corn field is neighbor to the strip mall.

Observation # 3: In New York we tend to number our exits, thus allowing the driver to anticipate their turn-off point. Apparently Nebraskans find this convention unnecessary.

Observation # 4: If you were to look at the sky in New York on a given day in the morning and compare it to the sky in the evening, it would be relatively similar. If you look at the sky in Nebraska at 9:15am it may quite possibly look a whole lot different by 10:15am.

Observation # 5: Hills and road bends make driving in New York very anticipatory - there is always something new to see around the next curve. Flat straight roads in Nebraska unfortunately deescalate the whole idea of anticipation - except for their unnumbered road exits.

Observation # 6: Food is cheaper in Nebraska than in New York and powers of ten describe the increase in delectableness of a Nebraskan hamburger.

Observation # 7: The water content of the Nebraskan air in January would leave one to believe that the state is built on a giant desiccator. If you value moisturized skin, New York is the better place to be.

Observation # 8: Nebraskan horizons are quite broad and unframed. When you look into the sky, it is infinite and the land appears a mere figment of the space-time continuum. The sky in New York is unquestionably defined by the landscape.

Observation # 9: If the Missouri River was in New York, it may be called the Missouri Creek.

Observation # 10: I asked a Nebraskan, "If you were a tourist, what would you see in Nebraska?" The classic reply, "If you were a tourist, hopefully you wouldn't come to Nebraska!" That says it all!