Oklahoma City wore me out. I enjoyed it though. One thing the city had that I’ve missed so much was wind. Oh, how it was lovely to feel the wind again.
We traded our maps with the other class’s students. I was right next to Sam, a bubbling fountain of energy with a map so big you could literally sleep on it. It was also a yoga mat so it would even be comfortable to do so. They brought us cookies and puppy chow in an apparent attempt to kill us with sugar, but our Alabama guts are so fortified with sweet tea I doubt they even noticed. There were an awful lot of them, but I guess I’m just used to having a tiny English class. The maps they map to represent their city or small parts of their city were highly varied. No two were even remotely alike. Some were small enough to slip inside a textbook, and one (Sam’s map) was large enough that it had to be a carry-on item on the plane ride home because it wouldn’t fit in anything.
The campus itself was lovely. The cafeteria was so impressively wonderful that it inspired talk of starting a rebellion here at home. Those thoughts will stay with us until we rise up and claim either our own waffle bar or death. I didn’t see as many squirrels as I do at AUM. I do love squirrels so. I saw one try to climb a window the other day. The glass was smooth, like glass is wont to be, and the thing just fell back onto the grass. It tried seven more times. Anyway…
I got a sense that they all had more state pride than Alabama does. After talking about it with the other students we decided it was because Alabama is a state of division. Not just the Civil Rights stuff dividing us by race, though that’s still going on. But also by religion. Even between churches of the same denomination. Then football. You’re either an Alabama fan or an Auburn fan and the one you pick, which you must even if you haven’t the slightest interest in football, practically determines your friends for you. Or politics, which I won’t go further into.
I noticed that our server at the Kaiser had a tattoo of Oklahoma state on her wrist, and that, I don’t think, would happen here. An Alabama or Auburn tattoo, sure. I’m trying to think if I’ve actually seen that before, which I’m sure I have but no clear memory comes to mind. Alabama is very much a state of division. It very ‘us against them’ and there is no middle ground. Everyone who isn’t in your camp is your enemy, always.
For my part, I’m an Auburn fan. Why? Because I worked in a drive-through here for four years and the Alabama fans consistently came across as less intelligent than the Auburn fans, and they were usually jerks as well. If someone came through and was a complete ass, there was a good chance you’d see the Alabama ‘A’ somewhere in or on their vehicle.
So in part the trip served as a time to reflect on my own state. I don’t know if the impression of unity I was getting was accurate because I was only there for two days, but it was still enough to get me thinking.
Anyway, Oklahoma City itself was also delightful. The red brick buildings of the district we were next to gave me a warm and cozy feeling. And the food was amazing. Everywhere we went the food was amazing. If I could have brought home one thing with me, it’d have been the Red Cup. My biggest regret of all the things I wished I could do but didn’t get the chance to was trying their breakfast burrito. Someday, I will have to return. And then I will eat myself to death and love every minute of it.