I’m from Pennsylvania, the most boring state available. I’ve lived here darn near my whole life, save for some stints out west and down south.
Which is where I got the y’all.
In PA they say yinz or yunz or youns or youse, but not often y’all. I used to say you guys a lot, but I realized that I’m not often talking to just guys, and it’s not fair to girls to be called guys all the time. I do say “you meddling kids” sometimes, to my own amusement.
Talking to a collective is complicated.
Anyway, Pennsylvania is generally boring, and that’s where I’m from. Nobody goes to Pennsylvania just to visit, unless you’re my relatives who live in Delaware and they visit each year because there aren’t many other states out there more boring than Pennsylvania except for Delaware and maybe one or two others (I see you, Ohio).
Pennsylvania is a big state and we have lots to offer in the way of small towns and bad bridges and roads, and stuff like hiking and fishing and other outside-y things. We try to beef up the interest by offering the Amish subculture and gabbing about William Penn, but the cold hard fact is that Pennsylvania is not Florida or California, and is most certainly not Hawaii or even South Dakota.
And all the Texans say “Stay out, Yankee wimps.”
Or whatever tough things Texans say. Because Texans are tough, and hey Texas, let’s be friends.
But there are some things about Pennsylvania that are quite nice, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve lived here for a long time. Truth is, it would be nice to live anywhere else that is easier to spell than Pennsylvania, my goodness who came up with that name? IT’S SO HARD TO SPELL.
Here are ten cool things about Pennsylvania:
1. The landscape. Pennsylvania is pretty. I mean it – it’s pretty, and I totally took it for granted when I grew up here. Put away your visions of strip mines and coal slag, and think about rolling mountains and hills, and lush, lush flora. The Appalachian mountain range is part of our backdrop, and it’s an old and gorgeous girl. The mountains here are tall if not neck-breakingly so, and we have waterfalls and stuff befitting mountainous regions, but instead of bare rocks, ours are covered in vegetation that changes year-round.
2. The climate. PA has a beautiful change of seasons, which means that in the throes of winter when I want to cut my limbs off to stop the freeze that spreads through them toward the bulk of my body, I think: in four short months it will be 90 degrees and all will be right with the world. And when it’s over 90 and I’m quite certain there are parts of me that are melting, I think – in four short months I will be wearing sweaters and boots for real and I won’t be posing just to look cute.
3. Close to other places you want to see more than your gorgeous yard. We have it all: lakes, rivers, mountains, amusement parks, historical areas, resorts, cities, farms, suburbs, shopping, etc. etc. etc. ETCETERA. I grew up in a rural area, and there were still things to do on an off-day. Usually ride around for hours on country roads, but there was always something to see.
4. We call it PA. If you live in PA, you call it PA (pee-YAY). Tip: if you come across someone who says they’re from Pennsylvania, ask them: How long have you lived in PA? They will regard you as one in the know and you will be in. You know what I mean when I say in. You’ll be there. Just a little secret from me to you.
5. College! People in Pennsylvania are smart, kids. They stay in school and build schools for you to do your learning. There are like twelve hundred state schools or something crazy like that (Total made up number. People in PA are smart, but not about everything at one time. Plus, look it up, jeez.).
6. People aren’t all up in your grill. We see you, but we don’t fall all over you to show it. We wait for you to approach. We don’t care if you drive by and don’t wave. But if you do something wrong, somebody’s going to call you on it. You’re not so special. Other states might consider us rude. Love us or don’t love us; we don’t really care. On the other hand, if you have a booger on your face or spinach in your teeth, someone will tell you. And if they don’t, they’re not making fun of you about it. Clean yourself up and get over yourself already.
7. History. Philadelphia was the first capital of the world. What I mean is that it served as the capital of the United States for a time. Can you say that, Orlando, Florida? No. You can’t. I’ve driven down the road to see the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s grave, and oh, we boast little places called Gettysburg and Valley Forge, two pivotal sites in our fine nation’s history. Our Declaration of Independence AND the US Constitution were signed here. And do you like being polio-free? Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine in Pittsburgh, duh.
8. Fallingwater and Andy Warhol. Lest you think we’re boring McHistory-tons, we also have Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece and the coolest Andy Warhol museum this side of Mars. I’ve only seen one of these things, to my great sadness. We also have this cool place called the Music Museum, this totally oddball house that my daughter visited once and will tell you all about it if you have several hours to listen.
9. Burning towns and Abandoned Turnpikes. Ever hear of Centralia? It’s a near ghost town, and it’s in PA. There’s a fire burning underneath it. For over 50 years. And we have a bunch of stretches of the Pennsylvania turnpike that are abandoned and totally creepy. You can hike/bike/explore them. It’s not my cup of tea, but it might be yours. Go ahead and do it. Don’t wait for me to approve your getting on with your freaky needs.
10. It’s home. So I have a soft spot for PA, despite it being boring in its non-Alaskanicity. Who doesn’t love the state they live in? When I lived elsewhere for a time and came home, I could breathe. I was not an outsider any longer. Pennsylvania, despite my misspelling it EVERY SINGLE TIME, is part of who I am. I fit in here. I know the people and they know me. And I am cool with that.
Take that, New York.
This post inspired by:
Prompt #6: List 10 things you love about the state you live in.