Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Can't Explain It

When I first started working at my office, it was quite an adjustment. It is hard to start at a new place where you don't really know anyone, so you end up acting super-formal all day, and you don't really know what you are doing, so you feel kind of stupid, and the day just drags on. Ok, so maybe "you" = "me," but I am pretending these are universal feelings and behaviors.

It took at least a year for me to get to the point where I am now. I have a work BFF and other friends I can call to say, "Oh my gosh, I have to get out of the office right now before I punch someone in the face. Let's go get coffee!" And my days are so much better.

The point of this is that there is a new woman in my office who just moved here from my home state (Home of the Huskers). When I met her, she seemed tremendously nice, and I know how hard it can be to get started in a new place, so I invited her to have lunch with me today. We went to one of my favorite lunch spots, and we had a great lunch. My new coworker seems really fun, and the conversation was really easy and flowy, and I did not have to resort to the lame list of stories that I have to pull out when conversations run dry. We talked a lot about Nebraska, and our conversation, in conjunction with this post about Minnesota from the author of Thirty Before 30 got me thinking about Nebraska and whether I miss it or not.

The answer, essentially, is that I don't miss it. Which is not to say that it isn't a great place to live because it really is. And there are so many things that are quintessentially Nebraska that other people don't get. Like the entire state stops during a Husker game, and everyone knows who the Huskers are playing and at what time. And Nebraskans know that "Husker game" = "Husker football game" because hello? That is how it works. And that during a Husker game is the best time to go to the mall because there will probably only be 5 other shoppers in the entire mall, and even those 5 shoppers will be wearing red because it is Game Day. I don't know. For some reason, it makes me happy to talk about Dodge Street and the College World Series and Creighton basketball.


janet said...

I hope you will not be offended if I take this moment to tell my father's favorite joke:

Why do all the trees in Colorado lean to the East?

Because Nebraska sucks.

(I'm sorry! I had to tell it! I actually think all the hot guys who play in the CWS give it a good reputation. My dad is just a Buffs fan.)

Marmite Breath said...

I can't even BELIEVE that you forgot the most important thing about Nebraska!

I forgive you because I love you.

Anyway, yeah, it cracks me up when I go to the grocery store and there's a game on the radio loudspeakers, and I do mean loud. And EVERY BODY is all excited about it and listening to it.

Oh, and they always have dyed red food on game days. Red tortilla chips, red pancakes.

Did I tell you that Az has been working security at the Husker games for two years and he HATES football? He has done a job that lots of people would love!

I will actually miss Nebraska when we move next summer. Never thought I'd say that. The Nebraska autumn is something you have to see to believe, isn't it. Beautiful.

stefanie said...

It sort of works that way in Wisconsin, too... the best time to go shopping is when the Packers are playing. This worked out well for me, as I never really cared when the Packers were playing. (Yes, I realize if I still lived there, I could be deported for that comment. Hopefully they will still let me back in for Thanksgiving.)

Also, yay for the new work friend.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Wow! I didn't even know you were from Nebraska. I've never met anyone from there. I always wondered what it'd be like to be from the Midwest... the only places I've been are Chicago and Cincinatti, and I wasn't hugely impressed with either. But millions of people live there, there has to be some great things about it!

Noelle said...

I drove the width of Nebraska once, and it was rather nice. As a kid growing up in Jersey, I never thought of what it was like in the parts of the country that weren't near enormous cities. There were many football teams to talk about, but when you said, "the city" everyone knew that there was only one.

KM said...

I've only driven through NE. At night. When I was 14 (don't worry, I wasn't the one driving). I'm sure it's great, but I've never lived anywhere other than MN and I do really like it.

Yea for the new work friend. I think it is so important to have a support system at work because there are certainly many a day when it's either punch someone in the face or run out for coffee!

Sparkling Cipher said...

Maybe I should move to Nebraska. People around here don't get like that over games. I had this brilliant idea to go grocery shopping in the middle of the last Super Bowl, because nobody would be there, everyone would be watching the game, right? Holy sardines! I had to fight my way down the canned veggie aisle.

And you are a much nicer new coworker than I am. I kind of hide out until other people have helped them adjust. I have this fear of blurting out unflattering opinions of coworkers and hearing, "Um, you know I'm so-and-so's brother, right?"

Anna said...

Thanks for the link!

I have always had an odd fascination with Nebraska, Omaha especially. Unfortunately I don't know anyone that lives there so I have no concrete reason to visit and I don't think I could sell my husband on going there for our next vacation.

You will not find empty malls or grocery stores here on game days. People just don't care enough or possibly there are just too many other distractions that keep them from focusing on one sports team.

Or? It could be that our teams are never really all that good (says the girl with Gopher football season tickets).

L Sass said...

Omaha the supposed to be the next Austin, you know, right?

As a transplanted Minnesotan, I understand your Nebraska-tude. I think part of it is that, if you grow up in a place, that place will always be a part of you, whether or not you are actively homesick for it.

For me, being Minnesotan is a big part of my identity. People often confuse that with dying to move home, but a lot of it is about surviving in New York, where it is so easy to get drawn into the boring (and expensive) contest of who can be "New Yorkier." But that doesn't mean that I regret my choice to live where I live.

double_g said...

Yeah, I don't really miss Nebraska either. I have fond memories of my time there, but I don't see myself ever moving back. But it still ruffles my feathers some times when people act so shocked that there are people who actually live there.

The most common response I got while living in California when telling people I was from Nebraska: "Oh, I drove through there when I moved."

Operation Pink Herring said...

I miss lots of things about New Jersey, like being able to say that and not be laughed at. It's a great state. I don't want to move back, um, ever, but I do miss it, especially during the fake Mid-Atlantic "fall".

Being the new chick at work SUCKS. you are such a nice person for making the new lady feel welcome! We have a new girl, and the nicest thing I've done is think about how glad I am not to be her. And tell her not to take the bus to work any more because Crazies ride the bus.