Tuesday, July 29, 2008
kentucky: where the grass is blue, the necks are red, and colonel sanders isn't as popular as ronald mcdonald
10 years ago when i announced that i was going to graduate school in kentucky, i was met with the: "i just smelled boiled eggs dipped in cat litter and deep fried in garlic" face. i personally, can imagine far worse places to pack your 'two suitcases at 40kg' luggage allowance, to begin accruing tuition debt at exorbitant international student rates. while kabul and east st. louis no doubt offer a competitive package for inexpensive accomodation and an affordable cost of living, the 'getting shot at/stepping on a landmine while nipping out to the supermarket to buy a (competitively priced) carton of milk, holds about as much allure as trying on lance armstrong's bike shorts after he finished the final stage of the '05 tour de france. but then it's a bit odd what some people come to identify as "home" for themselves (zip codes with an emphasis on genocide rather than generic front lawns, or trailer parks in the midwest where the retail demand for miller light is only surpassed by the high consumer interest in sudafed), no more than speculating why a chihuahua is now an acceptable definition of "dog", or that dressing in voluminous floral trousers, showcasing every colour in the crayon box is o.k., especially when co-ordinated to match the "dog".
in the last decade, i've only seen a handful of KFC's (and certainly never from the interior), have not become destitute as a result of buying a horse, gambling on multiples of them, or just trying to purchase a regular admission ticket to the derby. my taste buds have proven impervious to the local zealour for graeter's ice-cream, or an even more inexplicable and ungodly adoration for ramsi's (a long standing "ethnic" restaurant), earning it's "genre" as mediterannean, because it serves overpriced, flavoured hummus. find me an arab who eats fire roasted garbanzo dip, and i will try to find an israeli that munches on sun dried cinnamon raisin bagels with blueberry brown sugar cream cheese. for me, "the big lebowski" was mostly experienced during REM sleep, so an entire weekend festival devoted to it, is about as appealing as a BLT is to a hasidic rabbi. i have seen muhammad ali twice, never eaten a white castle hamburger, and cannot stomach the american version of "biscuits", "gravy" or anything else that represents the "country cooking served in platters upon 20 foot long picnic tables covered in checkered cloths" food group. i do enjoy looking for rednecks, just not in a 'steve irwin to snapping crocodile' proximity. there are also many things that are not typically associated with kentucky that i have experienced, and would never have had the opportunity to do so, had i not chosen the road south of the mason dixon. now when i tell people that i am moving to maine. i get the familiar "face", followed by "wow, you know, it's really cold up there in the winter".
obviously, living in the bluegrass state the last few years, i have been completely cut off from any news and weather that didn't involve histrionics over 'o-zone levels' and panic over the possibility of an inch of snow accumulation. however, there are just as many rednecks in the northeast as there are in the south, and quite frankly the northerner's tendency to punctuate the "ar" sound at the end of certain words (making them sound like they just got stabbed in the chest), grates on my ears more than a twangy drawl operating slower than jessica simpson's limbic system.