Michigan Expats - Commentary - See All Commentary
By John Galt
So I don’t think I am the first to say it, but California people drive me nuts. Despite what I have heard from the likes of Katy Perry and the timeless Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame, it turns out that, in fact, I do not wish they could all be California girls.
In my free time between planning for the zombie apocalypse and inventing an alternative to toilet paper, I have often pondered what it is in me (or more likely what it is in them) that seems to make our general dispositions incompatible. Now I don’t want to sound judgmental, so instead I will just point out all the flaws I can find in California people, unfairly generalize them, and then draw conclusion from those biases. Sounds fun, right?
I suppose it’s possible that Michiganders are the odd ducks. I don’t think it would shock any Michigan expat to say that we are a bit of a different breed than most other people. I, for one, didn’t realize how different we were until I left and saw how… typical other people are. Maybe it’s learning to live with the ever-present threat of inadvertently becoming bear poop in the U.P. that turns Michiganders a little off kilter, or maybe it’s growing up in the unhealthy proximity of that glorious lunatic known as Ted Nugent. Maybe it’s just the naturally occurring Fargo-esque homicidal tendencies of any place with a harsh winter. Or it could be the paint fumes from the factory. So the question stands: are we the different ones, or is everyone else? Naw, it’s not us. It’s them!
I think part of what makes Michiganders unique is that we are a bit tougher because we are used to working for what we have. So much so that we don’t even think of it as uncommon anymore. We battle the winter showdrifts just to start our car. Most everyone I know from Michigan had a summer job in high school. I don’t think any teenagers have summer jobs in California (well, they probably do but they subcontract it out to those lovely Guatemalans).
In all honesty, I think what drives me nuts about California folk is that odd sense of self-loathing entitlement. There’s a head-scratcher --- self-loathing entitlement. It’s the kind of thing that only a skateboarding emo-teen can pull off while he complains about how terrible his terrible life is as his mom picks him up in her Range Rover in the Whole Foods parking lot. No doubt, it’s funny as hell to see for the first time, but after a while, I start to feel bad for them. I kinda get the feeling that these people are …trapped. They have been so convinced that California is the epicenter of cool that they don’t know how to exit when they realize how bored and unhappy they are.
To be fair, this affliction is by no means unique to California. I am sure you can think of a host of other places (*cough cough* New York) that seem to have that same attitude.
Oddly enough, that’s the upside of being an economic expat. Because of the job situation, I have seen more of the country and the world, looked at it rationally and objectively, and weighed the benefits of various places to call home. Only then can I really look back and say with confidence that I again choose to be a Michigander. That through it all, I most want the circle to end where it began: in Michigan. Those are my people. That is my home.
So, am I being unfair to the unChosen People who aren’t from Michigan? What have you noticed in your new compatriots since you left Michigan? Leave a comment below.