Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't Mess with Kansas Pt. 2: Feelin' Kansas

People like to bemoan the monotony and flatness of Kansas. They talk like traversing I-70 through Western Kansas is some Biblical ordeal. These drama queens travel with a DVD players, ignore the scenery, and focus on the destination rather than the journey. Western Kansas is my litmus test to weed out boring people in my life. If someone tells me that driving Western Kansas is boring, I know I have a boring person on my hands. I have little patience for those individuals. They're boring people who are incapable of creating their own entertainment and who are unable to find something interesting in their surroundings.

The songwriter Tom T. Hall stated the following: "There are two types of people in this world: Those who have traveled the world and seen nothing, and those who have only traveled around the block and seen everything." When you get down to it, how you look matters more than where you look.

For the record, Kansas isn't flat. Anyone who has traveled to the Flint Hills, the Arikaree Breaks, the Gypsum Hills, or the University of Kansas campus know this. Last week I found a globe with those topographical bumps I love so much, and I felt up Kansas. She's not flat. There are certainly flatter states out there:

Illinois.


Louisiana.
I think, Florida might be the flattest.

However, there's nothing wrong with a flat state. If you view the landscape from the right perspective, you WILL find something interesting, and in the process you'll find yourself transformed into a more interesting person.


are we there yet?
Mr. Crankypants

2 comments:

Jenni said...

That's a great quote, Mr. Crankypants. I also got a kick out of you saying that you "felt up Kansas". That must have made even a cranky soul like you giggle just a bit to type that.

Over on Facebook this week folks are doing this doppelganger thing. Post the photo of a celebrity you've been told you look like for your profile pic. I couldn't figure out who I look like, but a friend suggested this photo: http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/211bernard/uploaded_images/badlands9_screen-707754.jpg
Now, I don't know how much I look like Sissy Spacek, but there are two things I love about the photo. Number one, she's holding that lipstick like, "What the heck is this for?" That is so me. Number two, you're likely to find me in a similar position, on my knees or crawling on my belly through the tall grass. It's one of the best ways to see this flat state of ours. It's also a great way to get chiggers.

12th Man Training Table said...

Illinois must be pretty flat, because it's highest point isn't Something Mountain or Whatever Peak, but Charles' Mound. I think a "mound" is one notch above a bump. Maybe between a bump and a nob.

I think east coasters largely don't realize that even the flat midwestern states still tower over the more rolling but closer to sea level eastern shore-boarders. Most of pan-flat Indiana is above 1,000 feet, while in Appalachian country you have to look up to see those elevations.

Sea level is by definition zero feet, and folks assume that rivers must be close to sea level, as they mark the low point in a particular area. But the Missouri River, Nebraska's eastern boundary, sits above 600 feet, and driving towards the setting sun the state quickly rises to four grand by the time you hit North Platte. (Which is why we get about 5 mpg better mileage going Denver-to-Sidney than we do the other way around.)

So a salute to the towering flatlands!