full life

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Since a few people have asked, I took down the map because I didn't want to offend anybody - there are a lot of people who need to be offended, but people on my friends list who live in southern states aren't among those people. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, click here.

The flight from NYC to Denver is about 3.5 hours, so I had plenty of opportunities to look out the window of the plane. From what I understand, driving across the middle of the country is incredibly boring; it certainly looked that way from the air, as there was nothing but huge gridlines encompassing acres and acres of nothingness. And it occured to me that the electoral map is misleading, to a certain degree; the middle of the country might all be "red states", and from the map's perspective it looks overwhelming, but from my vantage point 35,000 feet in the air, the middle of the country is fucking EMPTY. I don't know how to compute the size of the land I was able to see from my plane window, but from Ohio to Nebraska the average view was something like 80 squares of crops, and houses on maybe 10 of them - and, I mean, individual houses, not towns. I guess I sorta knew all this, but I'd never actually seen it before, and it kinda blew my mind a bit.
You haven't lived until you've driven a U-Haul through North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska into Colorado and been absolutely desperate for a gas station at least twice. That is some desolate shit out there. Of course, the entire state of North Dakota only has like 650,000 people in it, so there you go.
I drove througth Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Iowa, and a few other states in the middle last year, and once the novelty of it being so flat wore off (that took about 60 miles), it became so very boring. I was surprised at the lack of people and tall buildings.
However, I'm glad I got to see it, and once was enough for me.
We drove from Seattle to Florida when Kim moved down here. I have lived in the east all of my life, and did not appreciate the sheer size and emptiness of the western states until driving across them. We left Seattle on the first morning and made it about halfway across Montana in a full day of driving. The next day we made it as far as South Dakota, again in a full day of driving. But the day after that we were in Arkansas and then in Florida the next. It seems crazy to think that it takes as long to drive from Washington to South Dakota as it does from South Dakota to Florida, but that was our experience.

And, I don't see why someone would get offended at the map you had posted earlier. Facts are facts. Except to Repiblicans, I guess, who don't really care about facts, as Bob Herbert wrote about in the NYT today.
What's really alarming is that in the sidebar poll in that article, 32% of the respondents believe creationism should be taught in schools. Wow.
We drove to Nebraska once and I remember feeling completely naked. The lack of trees or anything taller than 20 feet sorta made me paranoid. I'm used to copious pine trees and a tall building at least every once and a while. At night, the lights from houses looked like boats on the water. That was kinda cool.
From NC here and I am not offended (other than being offended by my own state being so back woods). At least I am proud that my county in NC was one of the very few that voted democratic (Kerry won by 18% or so here) but I live in probably the most liberal areas in the south.
Funny, I had an opposite sort of reaction when I moved to the East coast and realized how crowded it is out here. Great big expanses of wilderness and empty farmlands seem normal to me. In Florida, even in the middle of nowhere it seems like people are living on top of each other.