Memoirs from Kansas, Missouri (and no, I did not error in the title)


One of the perks of my current job is that I get to travel a lot on someone else’s dime.  No, I don’t get to enjoy whatever that location has to offer, but I get to color in another state and that’s pretty cool.

A while back, I got to cross off  Missouri and Kansas off the list.  It’s a testament to how awful the traveling was that my traveling plans only called to be in Missouri while I was at the airport but I spent as much time there as I did in Kansas.

Despite my mockery of the plains thanks to the eternally idiotic John Steinbeck, I enjoyed my brief time in the Heartland of America, and not just because of its politics, with which there is nothing wrong regardles of what some elite reporter thinks.

From the air, you can see there is nothing but greens in Kansas.  Once you’re on the ground, you realize there is nothing but flatness.  You understand how wanting the area is of heights when your driver tells you there is a skiing area about an hour away that doesn’t have a lift but has those machines that pull skiers up.  That’s not a mountain and not even a hill.  It’s a molehill.  “The Plains” is a succinct yet most accurate description of what the area is like.

“Rural” would also be accurate.  Where I went was not thirty minutes from Kansas City International Airport, which, incidentally, actually has international flights unlike Key West “International” Airport.  Apparently, enough Canadians got lost on their way to Florida and settled there that Air Canada has a presence.  Or perhaps people in Kansas fled nowhere with occasional tornados to escape to nowhere with perpetual snow.  Regardless, getting around the place is remarkably difficult.  I had to arrange for a hotel shuttle the night before to get to a location only five minutes away because taxis don’t come around that often.  That didn’t surprise me in the least.  I couldn’t even find a cap at the airport.

For anyone who ever wondered whether those dollar bills claiming to be from the Federal Reserve of Kansas City, Missouri are fake, as I have, rest assured, they are not.  Kansas City is in Missouri.  But it’s also in Kansas (which I actually knew, but officially confirmed).  The cities are connected but they are distinct towns because they are in different states.  I didn’t go to downtown Kansas City, Missouri, but I did see Kansas City, Kansas.  It’s unlikely there is a downtown Kansas City, Kansas since I’m not sure anyone lives there.  The driver pointed to the town as we drove right through it and I didn’t see a single house.

That doesn’t mean that the state isn’t without history.  The famed baseball manager Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel got his namesake for playing most of his career at Kansas City.  Walt Disney, before he made it in Hollywood, oversaw two failed ventures in Kansas City.  And after World War I, Kansas City was apparently the American cultural center, although I probably wouldn’t have known that even if I had lived through the period.

The first thing everyone in Kansas tells you when they find out you’re from New York is that the pace is much slower there.   And people much nicer.  My trips are often unpleasant because they don’t want to be dealing with lawyers asking questions they don’t care about and they’d rather not answer, but I didn’t meet a single person who wasn’t pleasant and helpful during my stay in Kansas City (except, ironically, at the hotel).  Sure the restaurants at the airport closes at 7:00 P.M.–people stuck at the airport due to the weather be damned–but just because it’s Friday night and they have homes with kids to go back to doesn’t make them bad people.  In fact,  I’m glad someone has a life–and a nice, leisurely one at that in Kansas.

Even the nicest people, though, have a breaking point, and apparently that was reached at 10:30 P.M. on my way out of Kansas City, four hours after the last flight was supposed to leave.  The boarding area still left with people waiting for three flights, one of the two unfortunate Continental employees remaining to deal with the mess finally lost it when people flying to Cleveland forgot the meaning of orderly boarding.  “People!,” she yelled into the PA system, sounding exasperated.  “Go in order so we can board quickly.”

That’s the last thing she said that night, even though she boarded our flight another half an hour later.

Thanks for the pleasant memories.

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15 Responses to “Memoirs from Kansas, Missouri (and no, I did not error in the title)”


  1. 1 rattoch July 2, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    i like the midwest better, but do not tell anyone i said that!!! life is slower and the people are nicer. plus they kling to guns and religion lol.

  2. 2 rattoch July 2, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    i think that is what obama said during the election anyway guns and bibles.if i could i would rather live out there. so far obama is a sucky president and is killing the economy even more than bush.

    • 3 joesas July 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm

      Chris,

      As much as I enjoy the slower pace in the Midwest, I have a feeling if I move there, I’ll miss the faster pace around here. We are, after all, both Northeasterners…

      Incidentally, I think Obama was saying what he truly thought when he mocked us God and gun lovers. Forgive us for not being as enlightened as the Anointed One.

      I’m becoming increasingly annoyed, not so much with Obama’s policies (not a fan, but not disasterous so far either), but with his apparent narcissism. He sure loves to hear himself talk…

  3. 4 Miran July 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

    People are much more smiley out there, aren’t they? Plus, there is no road rage like the kind in NJ and NYC. And NO TOLLS!!!!

    But one thing I have to say is this: I’m still nervous around rednecks.

    • 5 joesas July 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

      Miran,

      Yes, they are much nicer! And you’d know about road rages! You’ve been in NJ and MA!

      Why feel nervous are Rednecks? I feel just fine around them.

  4. 6 rattoch July 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Well, I like it out there enough to visit alot, not to move. I think many parts of the country still have alot of racial tensions which is why I am still surprised that Obama won the election.

    Plus, people in the northeast are rude and arrogant. I just think other parts of the country cover it up better.. Like southern hospitality seems a joke to me if you were willing to break from the union. I still think most southern states have that mentaility. It is just that the urban areas were able to offset the vote and it helped Obama win.

    • 7 joesas July 4, 2009 at 7:06 pm

      Obama really didn’t gain any more foothold in the South than any other Democrat. North Carolina and Virginia are demographically more diverse, which explains his victories.

      I sort of agree with your attitude about the southern hospitality, but I appreciate their kindness even if they don’t mean it. Just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t mean I have to, too.

  5. 8 rattoch July 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    HA. I guesse it is better to be fake nice. Than being just a plain MASSHOLE. I hear the biggest Masshols’s attended BU. LOL.

    • 9 joesas July 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm

      Of course biggest Massholes attend BU. After all, it sucks to B.U.

  6. 10 Miran July 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    LOL well, I watched a little 70’s flick called “Deliverance” with Jon Voigt and Burt Reynolds. (It paints rednecks in the worst colors ever.) If you watch it, let me know what you think of it!!!

    • 11 joesas July 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm

      Lol. Does Burt play a redneck? B/c I can so see him in that role.

      • 12 Miran July 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm

        nope, they’re both city slickers who’re terrorized by rednecks. If you decide to rent it, don’t make it a family DVD night. Or a date night. You’ll thank me.

        • 13 joesas July 10, 2009 at 7:35 am

          Ah…. this sounds like a horror flick…. I don’t think I’ll thank you for even introducing the film to me.

  7. 14 Chris Schroeck July 21, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Joe, if you ever get back to Kansas City, there’s a restaurant that you have to go to…absolutely have to, you will love it. It’s called Hereford House, and it’s a Kansas City-style steakhouse. Best steak I have ever had, I had there.

    • 15 joesas July 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm

      You know, I almost went to KC again, but ended up not having to. Next time I’m there, I’m definitely going to Hereford House, for sure! When you say it’s the best steak you’ve ever had, that’s really saying something.


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