I'm slightly hesitant to post this so soon after Miss South Carolina. But I trust you know that the differences between the two of us are far vaster than skin deep.
I know about the maps. I just sometimes don't think about the individual states.
My date the other night - the one whose name I couldn't remember - is originally from New Jersey. (And Dagny, apologies in advance for what I'm about to describe.)
We spent a little time talking about New Jersey. The fact that I don't know much about it. That my sister-in-law is from there but I have no idea precisely where. That the accent is interesting but she doesn't have one. That his is very slight. That I stopped there once on my way to NY and had the best cheese fries ever on the Jersey shore.
In other words, all positive, and not particularly substantive. I never deliberately denigrate the place anyone calls home. Just occasionally accidentally.
As I was eating my seaweed salad, he was talking about missing the amazing produce that he grew up with. Fantastic corn, incredible tomatoes, all kinds of fruits and vegetables. He was, in fact, rhapsodizing about the tomatoes.
"Huh. They grow all those things in New Jersey? Really?"
Agriculture, it turns out is huge in New Jersey. Did I not know this? No.
"What," he wanted to know, "do you think most people in the state do for work?"
Goodness. I'd never given it any thought.
"Well, I suppose I thought they commuted to New York."
"The entire state commutes to New York?"
Hmm. I know I'd commute to New York.
"You do know it's called the Garden State?"
"Why do you think they call it the Garden State?"
That bit I'd actually thought about before. Yes, I'm properly cringing as I write the next line.
"People always talk about how beautiful it is. So I always assumed New Jersey was full of lush green lawns."
"Nice lawns? You thought it was an entire state of nice lawns?"
Well, in a word, yes.