A different kind of the same

America is an amazing place, and one of them is its geographical size, which we Americans often take for granted.

This is especially true for us Midwesterners who are accustomed to driving long distances past miles of farm land to get from one city to the next, most of them very much like each other. But this is weird for people from other places, as I was reminded recently when Melle Dielesen was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Dieleson is lead singer of the Dutch garage pop group Mozes and The Firstborn; the band’s self-titled debut album was released in February. NPR’s Rachel Martin asked him about culture shock.

“One of the things is that we had to do a 12-hour drive from Arizona to Texas, and the fact that you can drive for 12 hours, then you get out of the car, and people still speak the same language, people still have the same fast food chains,” Dieleson said. “Whereas in Europe, if you drive for 12 hours, people speak really weird and, you know, they eat different kinds of cheese and you know, stuff, it kind of, it really doesn’t make any sense to us.”

As I drove from northern Illinois to central Kentucky recently, I was so unimpressed to see Cracker Barrel restaurants everywhere. Ho, hum. Even Kentucky Fried Chicken is just ubiquitous KFC anymore, not a special taste of Kentucky.


On the other hand, I was happy to find a familiar Barnes & Noble with its Nook station and Starbucks inside. (I’m a creature of habit when it suits me.)

I am reminded to appreciate this strange sameness of America even as I am about to embark on an epic journey far from the familiarity of Olive Garden restaurant and DSW shoe stores.

While I am away, I’ve prepared a whole slew of fresh new blogs for your entertainment and edification, but I will be unplugged and logged out. I will gratefully respond to your comments when I return. Enjoy! I know I will.


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