Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Return to Kansas - Part II

Although I spent most of my childhood there, I don't think I ever really belonged. After all the short-term places I lived as a small child we ended up in Topeka when I was eight. I lived there for 10 years. Then I lived for nine years in Des Moines. I've been here in Portland now for 10 and a half years. Longer than I lived anywhere else. This is home. And it fits me. I enjoyed my childhood in Topeka - but I couldn't live there as an adult.

I think my parents thought I was picking on them when I took this photo and kept talking about it, but really it's just my wonderment at how different life can be in places not so far away, and that used to be familiar. Now when I go back there the things I take for granted don't exist and even common things seem foreign.

See there - all in one container headed to the landfill - yard debris, cardboard, plastic bags and food waste. Here at home - that's at least three separate containers - if not four. Yard Debris. Recycling. Trash. Compost. Only one of those is going to go to the landfill. Now my folks do collect newspapers and aluminum cans in their garage and my dad takes them in a few times a year, so they do recycle what they can - but the city has NO curbside services whatsoever. Nearly everything is simply thrown away. Nearby in Kansas City, they do have curbside recycling - so hopefully it's something that will continue to spread across the country, it's such an easy thing for people to do.

I was happily surprised that I didn't see as many McCain signs as I thought I would. I did see more on my parents block than I have in all of Portland (three - I've only seen three in Portland - I love that!) But it wasn't nearly the overwhelming tide I assumed I'd see. Of course I didn't see a single Obama sign until we got to Kansas City, so my thought is that the people of Topeka aren't fully embracing either candidate. The staunch conservatives will still vote McCain - but they're not going to advertise for him. We get a (pleasantly) biased view of things like that here in Portland. You can safely assume that a majority of the people you talk to are going to be more liberal. If not a registered Democrat - they're an independent who leans that way.

And then there are the things like our NW coffee and beer addictions. My mom brought back some good coffee from their trip to Montana last month, but Sat morning after being wakened at 7:30 am but two little girls - and knowing that since that was the day of the wedding that I'd likely be up quite late - I wanted a big four-espresso shot latte. So I asked where I could go to get coffee. I got a recommendation for the Phillips66 station. And at the Renaissance Festival I went to with Steve and Tracy and the kids - with the exception of one Guinness stand I saw - everything else they served was made by Bud, Coors or Miller. Shudder!

At least, unlike Violet, I had internet access.

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