I have a blister on my hand from the steering wheel. My right ass cheek is still numb. My elbow is angry and my back is screaming. This is the result of driving about 2500 miles over the course of four days. That’s over 4000 kilometers.
I had never driven east of McCook, Nebraska until Sunday. In fact, I’ve been to more countries than I have states. I don’t really spend much time east of the Rocky Mountain states. It’s safer that way. The mountains make me happy and for some reason calm me down. Which I’ve needed a lot of lately. So driving east into a bunch of flat nothingness kind of stressed me out.
But away I went. I had things to do and people to see. 2500 miles later I have realized just how Scandinavian Middle America is. I passed signs for a Danish windmill and Danish museum. I passed signs for Little Norway. I passed signs for Gothenburg, Nebraska. I drove on Sorensen Parkway and Kronshage Drive. I saw enough Scandinavian names as dentists, doctors, and real estate agents to make me forget where I was. Despite all of this, it had a distinctive Americanness to it all. And not the good kind of Americanness like a root beer float, but the bad kind of stereotypical Americanness.
A woman told me she thought Swedish was just English with a Swedish accent. I cracked a bad joke about that only being the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. She didn’t laugh. Not because the joke was so bad, but because she was serious. She actually didn’t know Swedish was a different language. First I felt bad because it seemed like I was making fun of her when I cracked my joke, then I realized that she probably deserved it.
Welcome to the US. And Scandinavian-America.
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