Not-So-Profound Observations on America
Not-So-Profound Observations on America
like the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville did in the
early 1800s, I've traveled around America for
several months and have
developed some opinions about Americans, though mine probably aren't quite
as eloquent. Here goes:
people in America are pretty friendly. However,
the fewer the people living in an area, the friendlier they are. Of course, that's probably true everywhere in the world.
friendliest people -- along with the biggest jerks -- live in the South.
for folks in Los Angeles, most people like where they are and don't want to live anywhere else.
I tell people that I'm going to Australia and New Zealand, Californians
think I'm cool, New
Englanders are suspicious, while Southerners think I'm nuts.
in the Midwest and New England don't like to visit the south, people in
the south don't like to go north, and nobody (except perhaps me) likes to visit Utah.
are mourning doves everywhere in America, in every state and in every
Every farmer operating a harvester
will wave as
you drive by.
Speaking of waving, many drivers in the rural Midwest will wave as you drive
by on the highway. Those most
likely to wave are men driving older pickup trucks.
The newer and more expensive the vehicle, the less likely the driver
is to wave.
Women never wave first. Regarding "waving mechanics,"
older guys will lift their entire hand off the steering wheel and wave, while younger
guys will usually lift only one or two fingers off the steering wheel (the
Geography of Language
Every person east of the Rocky Mountains pronounces Oregon “Oreee-gone” instead of “Ora-gun,"
like it's supposed to be pronounced.
call dinner "supper." Also, they pronounce "aunt"
as "awnt," not "ant."
call a license plate a "tag."
Westerners call a low area between mountain peaks a "pass," New
Englanders call it a "notch" and Southerners call it a "gap" (as in
Cumberland Gap). Midwesterners don't call it anything because
there aren't any mountains there.
Geography of Food
call a carbonated beverage a "soda" while Westerners call it a
in northern New England like vinegar-flavored potato chips.
in the South like pork rinds and boiled peanuts (why the heck would
you boil a peanut?), and their definition of "barbecue" is sliced
pork with barbecue sauce served in a small bowl on the side.
pizzas have finally hit the Midwest. Three years ago, my friends in
Minneapolis didn't know what I was talking about when I suggested we get a
"take-and-bake." Now they do.
are dozens of roadside stands in Virginia that, for some reason, sell both hams and
fireworks. Related to this, fireworks are really big in the South,
even well past the 4th of July. Southerners, apparently,
really like to
blow things up.
Englanders refer to a soft ice cream cone as a "creamy."
Geography of Ice
ice is popular in the West and the Midwest, less popular in the Northeast
and, for some reason, non-existent in the South.
of cube ice, however, are really popular in the South.
In fact, every person walking out of a convenience store in the
South during the summer carries two bags of cube ice.
Geography of Flying Bugs
love to camp but I hate dealing with bugs. I'm not squeamish; I just don't
like to get bit. Having camped my way around the
country, I can say that there
are annoying flying bugs just about everywhere in the U.S. waiting to attack
you. The species of bug varies with
Northeast has biting black flies.
South has tiny flies called “no-see-ums” that bite and leave large, red marks.
There are also
lots of huge, weird bugs in the South that will suddenly land on your head
and scare the crap out of you.
the Rocky Mountain states, there are lots of deerflies (which are larger than
houseflies and bite) and horseflies (which are larger than deerflies and
Midwest has lots of small, neurotic houseflies that inhabit every
desert Southwest is plagued by no-see-ums and cedar gnats.
Cedar gnats look like small houseflies but swarm around your eyes,
ears, and ankles. They bite and leave nasty, red marks that itch for
course, mosquitoes live wherever there’s standing water, especially in the
South. They also live wherever I happen to camp.
to the rest of the country, the West Coast is blessed by a relative lack
of annoying flying bugs. Maybe that's why it costs so much
to live there.
of the Border ... eh?
while I'm at it, I'll make a few observations about Canadians based on this and
call their dollar coins "looneys." That's because there's a loon
on one side.
Most people in Quebec aren't very friendly unless you speak French.
Canadians add three "o's" to the word
"no" (as in "noooo.") Also, they say "a-boot" instead of
"about" (as do folks in Virginia and Maryland).
Canadians are proud to be from Canada and not from the U.S. Most
Canadians consider themselves superior to and more civilized than Americans.
And judging from the way things are going in the U.S., maybe they're right.