My temporary job has me making phone calls to all sorts of places around North America. I have called Montreal, PR and a good selection of the US.
I don’t know why — I surely know better — but I find myself thinking of places not Ohio as being just like Ohio, but only different. I suppose I’m aided in that viewpoint by my travels largely being limited to the states contiguous to mine, plus the nearest parts of Ontario, which are fairly similar to the surroundings I’m most familiar with. Being in southern California recently punched a big hole in seeing things that way.
It’s not just places, terrain and such, or plants, or environment or climate. It’s people, too. As I call around, I hear all kinds of accents — the variety of Southern ones and Western (not so much California, but Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, etc.), New England, the mix of East Coast cities and regions (Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey), even the differences through the Midwest. To quote U2, “we’re one, but not the same …” It’s worth celebrating, actually, those differences and commonalities.
The work I’m doing is not terribly exciting, but it is interesting. One of the places I’ve called was a small town in the Northwest, where I checked on someone who worked in a funeral home. He was also an official in the county. Both offices were run from the same place. You get used, when you live in a larger area, such as Cuyahoga County, to the idea of everyone having an office. But I grew up in a small-town area not all that different from that town, and I can imagine how everything is in one small building and not in a collection of large, neoclassical buildings.
When it comes right down to it, I’m a small town person and I hope one day I’ll get to go back to one, if not here, perhaps somewhere down South or farther North. 🙂