When I woke up this morning, I realized that exactly one year ago today, I met Bruce Springsteen. 365 days later, it still seems surreal. Happy Bruce-iversary to me!
Sadly, everybody must have forgotten the magnitude of this date, because there was nary a “Happy Bossday” card to be found.
But I remember, Bruce. Those magical ten seconds are etched into my brain forever. Yours too, I have no doubt. I trust, somewhere in Jersey today, you raised a glass in my honor.
Tramps like us? Baby, we were born to run.
Or born to drive, which is precisely what Tara and I are doing tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover the next two days; 1,800 miles or so, to be exact, as we head east toward the promised land. Our destination, and perhaps our destiny? Rapid City, South Dakota.
The plan is to leave tomorrow immediately after work. I’m coming into the office for a half day, then leaving at lunchtime and working from home the rest of the afternoon. I’ll have the car all loaded up and ready to go the moment Tara gets home. Anxious much? Considering we have a motel reservation in Post Falls, Idaho – 5 hours and 44 minutes away – plus we’re going to jump ahead an hour (hello, Mountain time zone!), I think it’s understandable. On the off chance that she is able to get off work early, I brought my laptop home and am putting in some hours this evening. Looking at maps online (how did we ever plan trips before the internet, anyway? I guess we looked at actual paper maps, animals that we were!), Missoula is another 2 hours and 45 minutes away, which would make our drive to Rapid City on Friday an even 10 hours versus the 12 hours and 43 minutes it will take from Idaho. I’m a regular math whiz when it comes to planning routes, huh? I do not expect this to happen, as Tara rarely leaves work on time let alone early, but I am forever an optimist and it’s nice to dream, right?
Either way, we get into Rapid City Friday evening. If we’re too beat from driving, we’ll grab dinner from my favorite Chinese restaurant in town (which is, amazingly, still in business three decades after I left!) and hang out in our motel room, but if we have the energy then we’re hitting a local Irish pub I’ve heard good things about.
Funny thing: I’ve actually made a bunch of South Dakota friends on Instagram, and thus have the inside scoop.
Ever since we hatched this crazy idea about moving there, I’ve been following a bunch of SD Instagrammers and scoping out geographically relative hashtags, like #hifromsd. And I came to the rather startling conclusion that there is a big difference in attitudes between Midwesterners and Pacific Northwesterners.
Midwesterners are friendly, while people in the PNW are nice. They are polite to a fault; there’s a great Portlandia sketch where two cars arrive at a stop sign at the same time and they both encourage each other to go first. (“You go.” “No, you go.”) It’s funny because it’s true; that very thing happens here all the time! Nobody honks their horns either, and I know for a fact that is a vastly different mentality than East Coasters have.
You might think “friendly” and “nice” are like two sides of the same coin, but there are subtle differences I find hard to explain. For me the most noticeable difference has been in my interactions on Instagram. PNWers leave positive comments (how nice!) while the SD people have gone out of their way to reach out to me with tips and suggestions. One person in particular has gone out of his way to strike up a friendship, and even suggested we meet up for a drink while in town (but he is unfortunately on the road himself when we’ll be there). I’m not passing judgment either way; “nice” is great and “friendly” is also pretty cool. It’s just an interesting and notable difference between people in different regions. We’ve all heard of the famed Southern hospitality and the stereotype of Northeasterners as rude and aggressive. I’m not saying either is true, but there are certainly differences in attitude, philosophy, and mores in different parts of the country. I find it all pretty fascinating.
I guess we’ll see in person if that Midwestern friendliness is a real thing!
I plan to bring my laptop along on the journey, and who knows? I had so much fun blogging from the road back in 2011, I might just do the same this time around!