We recently spent Thanksgiving in Kentucky with my in-laws. My in-laws, lovely people, are very Christian, so I try to clean up my language the week before. I already know, I shouldn’t say “God” or “Jesus” in casual conversation, and that I probably shouldn’t say “Sweet cheeses” either, but no matter how conscientious I am, something else pops out of my mouth that normally doesn’t. When my sister-in-law asked if it was okay that I watch her daughter (b/c Heather’s four and a turbo-force) I said “Sure, it’ll be baptism by fire.” Or when I woke up before 10 a.m. one day, I greeted everyone “I’m awake! It’s a miracle!” Are these no-no words? I don’t know. We have such starkly different beliefs, we really tip toe around that stuff.
It’s a different part of the country, people, from New York City, I mean. Creationism is a hot topic in the front page of the paper. Northern Kentucky U. just formed “NKU Students Against National Coming Day,” etc. It’s sort of like visiting the set of “Footloose.” No drinking, no cursing, no evolution, no taking the Lord’s name in vain, no dancing. I actually don’t mind those things, and though I think the creationism vs. evolution discussion is sad, I actually NEVER talk about evolution in my daily life, but no DANCING??? How do people decompress without wiggling their bums around the living room? And football–sports seems to be something that everyone is obsessed with in KY (well, everywhere really, but NYC, you can still watch Bette Davis flicks in theaters at least). While I happily eat hotdogs and drink beers at Mets games, I don’t actually pay attention to the event at hand. To do so reminds me of studying for the LSATs–I could get a handle on it, but it takes effort and doesn’t come naturally.
Still, it was maybe my sixth time down in the “land of sacred hunting ground,” as my husband calls it, and every time, I get more comfortable with his family. David’s sister is the best hostess. She makes sure there’s plenty for us to eat, so we snack every 30 minutes (yes!). She does our laundry, lets us do our laundry before we leave. She lets us sleep for hours. We get to recuperate from NYC life under her roof. The other thing about Kentucky is that it’s beautiful–lots of rolling hills and all that. In Louisville, there are exquisite parks designed by the same dude who did Central Park, but what I realized on this trip is that I really don’t need nature. I’m okay with concrete. I like the sidewalks of New York. Instead of trees and hills, we get to gaze at the landscape of buildings and skyline. This causes my poor husband great consternation for a number of reasons I won’t get into right now. He would like to live in Kentucky again one day is one reason, and while I enjoy our visits, I could never be happy there. It’s not just that the state has a microscopic population of Asians. It’s also because when I visit, I feel like a minority in terms of how I dress, how I think, what I like to do, eat, and see. Poor guy.