Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Top Ten Differences Between Living in Michigan and Ohio

Chad asked for this list the second week we moved down here. I've finally gotten around to writing it. I hope it satisfies.

10. Interpretation of risk associated with weather.

In Ohio, 3 inches of snow is considered a state emergency. They actually preemptively close schools: This means they close school before it snows. The fear of snow, not actual inclement weather, causes schools to close. Where I grew up, if there were fewer than five buses stuck in ditches, school was open. Here, ever city has an alter whereupon children are sacrificed to Frostzor the Cold One, in hopes of keeping His icy will at bay.

9. Driving skills of the populace.

It is amazing, but Ohio drivers really are worse than Michigan drivers, perhaps worse than any other drivers on the planet, universe, and all of creation. Maybe even beyond that. And by bad, I mean driving through red lights, cars and people flipping through the air, bursting into flames, driving over grandmothers, and welding hunks of metal to their bumpers to inflict as much damage possible. Driving around in Ohio is like driving around the Mad Max universe in a Ford Pinto with Mel Gibson riding shotgun, spitting random racial slurs and vodka; like some kind of Australian post-apoplectic wasteland of Mohawk sporting cannibals crashing 10-ton death machines shaped like giant phalluses into each other. And remember that midget with the boomerang that cuts off that one dude's fingers in Mad Max 1? That was awesome.

8. Perceived risks of imbibing alcoholic beverages on the Sabbath.

In the area of Ohio where we live, people have this strange notion that purchasing alcohol on Sundays does not constitute and unpardonable sin—punishable only by death. There are no public executions of heathens caught purchasing flasks of devil juice on the holy day. It's so boring without the weekly beheadings. On the other hand, Hamilites don't appear to be stuck in some romantic view of the world c. 1500AD like Grandville is. That Ye Olde Timey feel is gone. Many fewer corpses and piles of feces line the streets of Hamilton, so I guess that's a plus. The surfs of Grandville really ought to petition Lord Hemingsford to ask favor of His Majesty the King to lift the ban on the purchase of alcoholic spirits on Sundays and join the real world.

7. Usage of Chili

Nearly every food is coated with chili. From spaghetti to hot-dogs, it's rare to go into any restaurant that doesn't provide the option of having your entree coated with a steaming pile of meaty chili. There are more Skylines (a local chili chain) than McDonalds in most places.

6. The quantity and quality of Indian restaurants

Indian restaurant are all over the place down here. Some come in the tradition of American tex-mex restaurents where the food served is based on how an American who has never traveled more than two states away would think the food should taste like. Most restaurants, however, serve dishes we've never seen in other Indian restaurants. Not that a lower frequency of a given food item appearing in different restaurants makes it any more authentic or anything. It just tastes good.

5. The quantity and quality of jobs

The Western Michigan job market sucks. Not much more to say, really. It just sucks. Southeast Ohio? Not so much.

4. Comparative lack of microbreweries

Explain this to me: Why would a city like Cincinnati (the very bread and butter of the mid-West) not have more than one microbrewery? Sure there were the riots in 2001 that destroyed downtown, and the rampant murders in Over-the-Rhine, and the gas-crazed Mad Max cannibals driving around town, but what does that have to do with beer? I can see basic infrastructure like roads, sanitary drinking water, electricity, and civil order flying out the window when the Sickness killed half the population and left the other half blind and insane, but the beer? Come on Cincinnati. Get your act together.

3. Different geological topography

It's really windy and hilly here.

2. Different stance on recycling

You may think it's strange that this would come in second, but it's really unnerving. We grew up in Michigan, one of only two states in the union that pays its citizens $0.10 to bring back their beverage containers. We also grew up in a primarily Dutch (read frugal, penny-pinching misers) community where the value of ten cents was not something to scoff at. There is a strong, pervasive belief among our parents that somehow returning 20 cans would give us enough money to fill our gas tanks. I can remember how, on countless occasions, my father would hand me a bag of stinking cans, smile and say, "There you go! That ought to fill up the old tank."

So, in Michigan, throwing away a can is akin to throwing away cold, hard cash. And not only that, but magic cash that, despite only having the appearance of $2.00, will somehow fill up your gas tank.

In Ohio, there are is no payment-for-recycling program. You either seek out a recycling plant, pay to have your cans picked up, or just toss them in the trash. Fighting the hard coded compulsion to wash out, line up, and bag those cans is taking its toll. It's a daily struggle.

1. The importance of organized sports

In the days of ancient Greece, everything revolved around the Olympics. People would stop warring, everyone's safe travel was insured, and the next four-year calendar was named after the winner of the chariot race. It's much like that here. When we first arrived, people would drive up next to us at lights and scream, "Hoo Day!" and drive off laughing. It wasn't until much later we realized that this is the war cry of Bangles fans. Elderly, white-haired grandmothers walk around with temporary Bangles tattoos on their foreheads and babies are dressed in the team's colors. It's very disconcerting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure there were the riots in 2001 that destroyed downtown, and the rampant murders in Over-the-Rhine, and the gas-crazed Mad Max cannibals driving around town, but what does that have to do with beer?

you can combine all of the above, next weekend at Bockfest. www.bockfest.com