Last night after visiting the Gold’s Gym again (I got there earlier, which must be when they let more of the “normal” people in, because the real studs didn’t start rolling in until about the time I was leaving; I’m sure I set the weight room on fire as I was pressing little 45# dumbbells in each hand over my head, my shirt slowly riding higher and higher up my belly with each effort), I ventured out to browse around the local Border’s bookstore. I was sitting on a bench in the magazine section, reading an interview in The Progressive with Michael Pollan. As I was sitting there, a pretty young college-age-or-so woman asked if she could sit next to me, so I said sure. We exchanged a couple pleasantries and then I got up and went looking around elsewhere.
Ten minutes or so later I encountered her again on the other side of the store, and she literally said, “Do you come here often?” I said no, that it was actually my first time there because I don’t live around here.
Now, lest you think this story debauches into a tale of “hot college chick slumming with brokedown older man” you can set your fears aside. She was just being friendly, and it would not have been chivalrous for me not to reciprocate. So we engaged in a short conversation; she said she has only been up here a short time, and that she is from Atlanta, and that she didn’t know if she would be able to handle the winter (she was already bundled up as if there was a foot of snow on the ground). I told her I was from Montana. After some, “Oh, wow, what are you doing up here?” etc., she paused, then said, “Y’know, where is Montana?” I must have given her a look, because she laughed and said, “I mean, I know it is in America and stuff, but I don’t know where it is, like, on the map.”
That kind of blew my mind. I have heard stories about people not finding, say, Indonesia on a map, but not even knowing what region a state in the USA is, was pretty wild. It knocked me off balance. Crazy.