Wednesday, August 02, 2006

“Signal Strength: Very Good,” it says.

Nuts to that. I’d been hoping to come to this dark coffee shop corner and perpetuate the delusion of connectedness. One click and type your friends, who are utterly elsewhere. Like most interpersonal linkages in modern Lincoln, it’s wireless.

So I’m talking to myself. Old school: “Sgt. Peppers’” on the headphones, distracted co-laptoppers arrayed in a defensive perimeter.

Suddenly, I feel all right. I rained today, a sweet overcast epiphany that every day need not be plus-100. The indoor kid strolling by noticed – collared shirt and sweater today. I imagine him on morose July afternoons, wondering what to do until the clouds come and let him wear his itsy-bitsy teeny-weenie favorite grey sweater. I’d tell you your ship has come in, emo-kid, but we live in Nebraska, so I hope your dreams are loaded in the back of an F-150.

I’m only from Nebraska for 6 more days. Then I’m from Nebraska. Sweet glorious difference. And unlike Oklahoma, it’s a nice place to be from.

In fact, Nebraska is the perfect place to be from, because it means absolutely nothing. Nothing. News anchors come from the Midwest because they sound like they’re from nowhere. Being Midwestern in being given all the base elements for a personality and then the choice to stay or go somewhere else and skew those into something interesting. There’s a reason Nick and Gatsby are both Midwestern boys, after all – the same reason Bob Dylan can move to New York and make his own myth, and become a folksinger and a country boy and a biker and a Christian and a Jew, and no one really questions any of it as ingenuous.

But Nebraska is empty in a special kind of way, even by Midwestern standards. Call them flyover states or not, Americans delineate the Midwest certainly better than they do the Middle East. Sconnie is beer and cheese; Minnesota funny accents and Prairie Home Companion; Dorthy is from Kansas. Consider it: the mere mention of our eastern neighbor brings up a special American romanticism. James T. Kirk, Radar, Woody from “Cheers” and the Field of Dreams are from Iowa. Nebraska used to have a good football team, I think.

I’m not sure why this all popped back into my head. I think it was because the Simpsons rerun today make a joke about a disgustingly clean field looking “like Wisconsin.” Frankly, Nebraska doesn’t get on the Simpsons, even as the butt of jokes or possible locations for Springfield. It’s exciting to be moving somewhere with at least enough native character to mock.

Hey, Internet’s back. Good thing I got all those important things out before my attention got distracted again.

10 comments:

chaviva said...

If I had the option to stay at the Washington Post or go to San Francisco and work for Jewish Weekly ... which would I do?

A.G. Moseman said...

Is the San Fran thing a copy editing gig as well, and how does it pay, etc. I can't make major life decisions for you without sufficient info.

I'd go to San Francisco, if possible.

Elissa said...

Fabulous serendipitous typo: "I rained today".

What if we really could?

Chris Jones said...

Resp to Chaviva (whom I do not know): O my G-d, go to SF, even if they pay in oatmeal cookies and company stock.

And Willa Cather herself put it best: the only remarkable thing about Nebraska is that you go and go and go and it's still Nebraska.

A.G. Moseman said...

Chris, that's Amanda, you silly goose.

Elissa said...

Well obviously it's Amanda. Even I knew that.

And *I'm* from Nebraska (sort of), and *I'm* remarkable (sort of).

Chris Jones said...

It's the umbrella. I get confused.

Chris Jones said...

My God. Elissa's quoting Ralph Wiggum at me. "Even I knew that."

chaviva said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chaviva said...

hey chris! hey elissa!

andrew: