Elen sila lumenn omentielvo!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

What if they crossbred corn with potatoes?

Iowa and Idaho are different places.

It's funny, because I can definitely attest to the vexing thing this video addresses. When I tell people I went to college in Iowa -- going all the way back to when I was a high school senior and I hadn't even left for Iowa yet -- I would occasionally get asked something along the lines of, "Wow...lots of potatoes there, right?" I'd then have to say, "No, that's Idaho. Iowa has a lot of corn."

Imagine the confusion that arose when I started dating a native Iowa girl whose family had since relocated to Idaho!

I never quite understood why so many people over here in the Northeast got that wrong. It's tempting to think that this is a symptom of the whole "Flyover country" thing, when it's assumed by folks not on one of the coasts that the people on the coasts pretty much view everything in between as just the stuff you "fly over" on the way from NYC to LA.

But here's the thing: when I actually got to Iowa, people would ask where I was from. Even though my hometown was sixty miles south of Buffalo, I found it easier just to say "Buffalo, New York". This would almost always get a response along the lines of, "Wow, all the way from Manhattan to Iowa!" or "Why would you leave NYC to come to Iowa?" I'd have to explain that not only is Buffalo not one of the Five Boroughs, it's actually far enough from NYC that I could drive to Cleveland and back in the time it would take to drive one-way to NYC.

I suspect there's not a person alive in this big country of ours who doesn't have a story like this. We've got a lot of geography and a lot of unique place names. For instance, there are almost two dozen places named "Pittsburg" in the United States, but only two that spell it "Pittsburgh"!

And since I went from Buffalo, NY to study at a school in Waverly, IA -- there are both a Buffalo, IA and a Waverly, NY.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Yup, I always like to tell people that Buffalo's closer to Detroit than NYC.