Friday, October 26, 2018

Where is Mianus?

I’ve noticed that whenever Americans are asked where they are from they’ll nearly always reply in the same format of town / city then state. Examples would be “I’m from Beaverlick, Kentucky or “I live in Wankers Corner, Oregon” (although these are real places I’ve never met anyone from either). The only exceptions would be if people are from one of the major US cities like NY or LA which, to most people, would need no clarification of which state their hometown is in. I like it when people do this as my knowledge of the US is pretty limited to the major cities so if someone just said Beaverlick I couldn’t be expected to know that it’s in Kentucky for instance. 

We Brits don’t necessarily do this even when talking to other Brits – the UK is such a small place that even if you live in a tiny village then you’d just mention the nearest medium sized town and the majority of people would be able to roughly place it on a map. If we’re talking to foreigners most people from the south east would say x miles from London on the assumption that most would have a vague idea where London was.

But I like the American way – it’s a conversation starter as I can usually ask someone where they are in relation to a major city in their state or even update my crossword skills and ask where their state capital is. I would have thought that this would be possible for nearly everyone until I had a very odd encounter with someone from Pennsylvania who didn’t know where they lived in relation to Philadelphia. Now I know that Pennsylvania is a pretty big state but to me there’s only 2 big cities that most people would be able to place – Philly being one and Pittsburgh the other. I asked this lady where she was in relation to Philly and she had no idea, I followed up by asking about her local sports teams – if she’d said the Eagles or the Flyers I would have face palmed myself but she said her whole family support NY based teams and were regular travellers to NY which was only 2 hours or so drive away. From a few follow up questions I’d ascertained a few things that narrows it down that you live in east PA, possibly just inside the Delaware River? Yes – just over the river into PA.

OK – now I can picture where you are on the map and you’re about 2 hours north of Philly. This was a surprise to her. She’d lived in this place for years and had no idea how close (or even what direction) Philly was. Now I can understand living 2 hours from somewhere and never going but the thing I found very strange was not even knowing the distance or direction. 

And just in case you were wondering where Mianus is – it’s in Connecticut,_Connecticut, and Uranus is in Missouri,_Missouri.  

Normal poker based drunken idiocy will resume in due course

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