Kansas: Why I Hate It and Love It

Sometimes when I drive from Denver to Kansas City, I wonder if I will be doing this drive when I’m eighty. The high, flat plains of eastern Colorado and western Kansas tend to bring out the feeling that I might disappear into an I-70 alternate reality. And by the time I’ve reached the woods and hills of eastern Kansas, I’m so sick of sitting in the Prius’s uncomfortable seats that I stop more than I should, which just lengthens the time I spend in the car.

I took I-70 this time because Highway 50 bored me so much at Christmas, and I noticed more anti-choice signs, including one right at the border with Colorado. More seem to have been added near Salina and Abilene as well.

Here are the subjects I want highway billboards to present: quilting stores, old-fashioned soda fountains, hotels, restaurants, large balls of twine, prairie dogs, and museums. Politics and religion should not adorn the roadway.

I wish the porn store in eastern Kansas would close too because it’s just an excuse for another Jesus sign.

But then I got to Hays (ground zero for anti-choice signs) and ate steak salad at Gella’s Diner, a brewpub in the old downtown. Then I bought a chocolate coke at the nearby soda fountain and walked down to the Stone Gallery to see what had been carved recently.

Hays Stone Gallery new carvings and shelf April 2015

A mongoose and a snake, apparently, and everything else in this picture. I’m not sure how recently these figures were carved, but five years ago there was no alcove in this part of the wall. You can check that by looking at the photo of the courtyard in Kansas Photos: Stone Gallery.

I keep reminding myself that in September I will be flying to Asia. But then I remember that I’m planning to drive to KC in August to see Dad before I go. And before he goes. I had called the facility where he lives to let them know I was coming for lunch, and for some reason they seated us at a table in the activities room. I think not being at his regular table bothered Dad, so he kept saying that “we need to get more people over here.”

One man did make a circuit of the room, carrying what looked like a large red plastic pencil. When I asked, he declined to join our group by walking away.

I really need to get out of Dodge.