6 Observations About Kansas a Year and a Half Later

About a year and a half ago, I accepted a job at a newspaper in Kansas. I didn’t really know what to expect, and it certainly didn’t help that “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” is one of my favorite political books of all time. Upon arriving in the “Little Apple,” I wrote a post about my initial observations.

I thought it was about time to do an update. So here are my impressions of Kansas after living here for a year and a half.

6. Booze Laws Still Irritate and Confuse Me

"I'll get you beer baron!" "...No you woonnn't..."

As I mentioned previously, it was quite the shock to find out that hard liquor isn’t sold in grocery stores or gas stations, only liquor stores. It was also surprising to learn only 3.2% beer is sold in grocery stores. Also, liquor stores are only open until 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Living in Chicagoland for most of my life, I can confidently say there would be riots if they tried to pull that crap in Illinois.

It’s strange that there are all these restrictions in a state with a large population of ranchers, farmers, cowboys and good ole’ boys—guys that might like to buy a sixer Sunday night or grab a bottle of Jack at Wal-Mart—because some people in the state are still stuck in a prohibition-era mindset.

Also, Kansas liquor laws have managed to ruin one of the best things about being of age—HyVee’s liquor store. If you haven’t been, it’s like an amusement park, an amusement park full of alcohol.

It’s what Willy Wonka would have created if he had a drinking problem and wasn’t busy gallivanting in glass elevators with children and also enslaving an indigenous race of chocolate-loving dwarfs.

It’s inconvenient is what I’m saying.

5. Sunsets

Taken on my way home from a road trip.

Sunsets in the suburbs occasionally can be beautiful, but even if they are, they’re usually ruined by soccer moms yelling at entitled, bratty children and strip malls.

But in the Flint Hills there’s none of that—just brilliant hues and unspoilt land.

4. I Still Hate Driving in This State

My ire can be distilled down to two issues: construction and awful drivers.

During the summer, there is always roadwork. ALWAYS. Last summer, construction on I-70 turned an hour-and-a-half drive to the airport into a three-hour drive, which subsequently turned into missed flight and nerve-wracking standby seat lottery.

What I picture while driving in Kansas.

If that’s not enough to be pissed about, on the overpasses, the Kansas Department of Transportation posts signs with terrible poems apologizing about the construction and delays. Really!? It’s not bad enough that you’ve caused me to yell stuff at complete strangers that would make prison inmates blush? Now I have to be angry about delays and terrible writing?

Ahem…moving on.

I know it’s lame, but one of the best parts about visiting my parents’ house recently was driving with other people who act like they actually have places to be and things to do. I don’t know when the convention for “Kansans Who Drive Like Jerks” decided everyone has to drive exactly at or, preferably, less than the speed limit.

Also, you know you people can move into the intersection if you’re in the left-turn lane and you have a green light? That’s a thing they teach in driver’s ed here, right?

3. People are Unwaveringly Nice

Obviously, this excludes the yahoos in the Westboro Baptist Church. People here look you in the eyes and smile and are almost always chatty.

Even people who I disagree with politically (in my personal life, obviously not in my professional life because I’m objective) are usually very nice. It makes for an odd situation.

I simultaneously like them, but hate every regurgitated talking point that comes out of their mouths.

2. Even in Kansas, There Are Hipsters

You can play it in Kansas!

I know I live in a university town, but I was not expecting so many hipsters when I moved to Kansas. Yes, there are beards, plaid, black thick-framed glasses, skinny jeans and a faux sense of intellectualism even in Kansas.

Because of this, I’m convinced that one can find hipsters literally anywhere.

1. You Can Have Fun in Kansas

Kansas often gets a bad rap for being boring (and also for those Westboro ding dongs I mentioned earlier), but imagine my surprise when I realized I was actually having some fun here.

I guess it goes to show you can find good friends anywhere.

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6 thoughts on “6 Observations About Kansas a Year and a Half Later

  1. Clip Snark says:

    I can relate to these as I am originally from Kansas, moved to Chicagoland and later back to Kansas to attend KU. I remember when I moved back to Kansas, waiting in line at the grocery store and the next person in line started talking to me. My first thought was “Why are you talking to me?” My next thought was, “Oh yeah, I’m back in Kansas.” 🙂

  2. Mike says:

    That left turn pull forward thing is 100% a Chicago thing

  3. Sandi Ormsby says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I read the entire thing without scrolling forward…

    I was born/raised and have always lived in Southern Calfornia and never visited Kansas. I have, however, been to Devils Lake North Dakota- the most depressing, nothing to do place ever! I think since I had to spend a couple of summers there as a child, I can just about handle any place.

    It sounds like things are a little different from Chicago area. My husband’s family is from there and we’ve visited a few times. Did your job take you to Kansas?

    Oddly, in the blogging world, I’ve made pals with (2) bloggers living in Kansas. Well, one just moved to Massachusettes and I find them very clever, and entertaining! Kansas would never had been a place I’d consider to visit, but would just to meet my blogging pals.

    Feel free to visit my world! There are several of us that comment on one another blogs…feel free to join us!

    Sandi
    http://www.ahhsome.wordpress.com
    Lake Forest, CA USA

  4. Turber says:

    Well, I always thought it really depends on, if you know how to have fun generally. If you do, you can have a good time practically anywhere. Who says you need chocolate, beer and dwarfs? A chateau, wine and crazy people are fine with me 😉 LOL

  5. ….how do they see around the other cars if they don’t pull out into traffic? Maybe just here it’s a life-or-death kind of thing with all the SUVs blocking your way.

    Great post ;D

  6. loc81 says:

    Interesting what you said about the booze laws!
    In Australia you can’t get ANY alcohol in grocery stores (we call them supermarkets) and most “bottle-o’s” will be shut by, say, 9pm on weekdays and 10-11pm tops on a Friday & Saturday night. We are still a nation of pissheads regardless of purchase limitations though!

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