>Posting from: Hesston, KS
Listening to: Brant Bjork – Punk Rock Guilt
Sunny and windy as hell in Kansas. Landing in Wichita yesterday was about the bumpiest approach I’ve ever encountered. I wasn’t fearing for death or anything (even though the day before I left there were two fatal plane crashes; that always leads to a nice pleasant mood when I set foot on the jetway for a trip). I didn’t even get nauseous . . . until I got off and started walking across the tarmac, then all of a sudden I thought I was going to hurl. But I didn’t.
Welcome to Swather Country!
Hesston is a little farming town about 45 minutes NW of Wichita. This place is so farm that the high school calls themselves the Hesston High School Swathers! I think they should call themselves the Fighting Swathers!, personally. You can never go wrong adding the word “fighting” as an adjective to any school mascot. Unless your school is Notre Dame. Then you could be the Notre Dame Fighting Conan the Barbarians and you would still suck, as far as I’m concerned.
What I love about towns like this are the enormous water towers emblazoned with the city’s name. Hesston has an awesome one, and it is huge.
There are a couple of main streets through town, plus the highway. A few awful 70s-style strip malls and some other ramshackle businesses with hand-painted signs comprise the “downtown.” It doesn’t seem to be dying though, and driving around the community it seems tidy enough; I suspect in the spring and summer, when all the trees bloom, it is quite pretty.
The place I’m working is a far cry from the fancy Hollywood lighting manufacturer in sunny SoCal I last visited, though. This is a dusty, dirty, blue collar place. A small business supplying a big farm implement manufacturer that is also here in town. I’d say about half the time these are the kinds of places I venture into; you get a big dog in town and a lot of other smaller shops spring up around it in support. I’m just glad it isn’t high summer when the humidity is about 5000%, because I’d be sweating like a hedgehog at a Jack Russell rodeo.
The place is crawling with Mennonites. There’s a big church just down the street from my swank accomodations, and when I was gym hunting I drove by Hesston College – The two-year college of Mennonite Church USA. The few students I saw out and about were nice and wholesome looking too, totally different from saggypanted-ass college boys and North Face Lolitas that infest Missoula. When I went out to dinner tonight, while I was waiting to be seated I was feeling the grim stares of about 20 stoic faces, probably wondering who I was and why I was there. And wondering when I was going to leave.
Then again, considering the restaurant — a Mexican joint, no less — is connected to my fancy hotel, it’s a wonder I don’t have a line of lusty ladies in bad dresses and worse headgear thronging the door to my room like teenagers hard after those Jonas Brothers kids. If they knew just how dropdead awesome this room is, I know they wouldn’t be able to stay away.
This room is so glitzy I have to drag the desk halfway across the room just so I can get it close enough to a working outlet that I can plug my laptop into. It hardly seems fair I have to check out in the morning so I can relocate to Wichita tomorrow night! Oh well. I like to think there will be a minor Mennonite baby boom about 9 months or so from the passions my otherworldly, and sudden, appearance in town stirred in the hearts of all these suppressed women. Rise up, oh ye Goddesses, rise!