I'm currently waiting at the airport to leave my 50th state.
We did it! Great job, everybody! High fives all around!
Ahem. So anyway. I've just spent a couple of nights in Oklahoma City -- Oklahoma being the last remaining state I hadn't visited. I arrived at the airport to pick up my rental car, and the man working the desk confirmed every stereotype in two statements:
1) I may have reserved a midsize vehicle, but everyone here drives either a truck or an SUV, so that was my choice (I took the SUV, still too big for my taste)
2) The steak here is the best, so I should go to The Cattleman and ask for the Presidential special; it's George Bush's favourite
But Rental Car Dude aside, I found OKC to be a pretty cool town with friendly people, lots to do, and a seemingly widespread focus on local products. Of course, we all notice what matters to us, so my experience was shaped by what I was looking for, and it wasn't a big steak (much as I do like a big steak).
After wrestling the SUV to my hotel, I went out for provisions and then spent the evening in watching sports. Which is how I would have spent it anywhere in the world. Nothing to report.
Sunday started with a rugby semifinal on TV and then a visit to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Unfortunately half of it was closed, in the process of changing exhibits, so I only got to see the painting / sculpture gallery and the Dale Chihuly collection. Both were perfectly nice, but there wasn't enough modern art for my taste. And Chihuly's glass... Well... It's pretty and all, I get it, but if I have never been interested enough to see anything of his in Seattle where he is from, then it probably won't turn me on in Oklahoma either.
The Oklahoma City bombing memorial was just a few blocks away, so I took a walk over and spent some time there. It's very well done, because while it does include the sad memorial to those who lost their lives, it also includes a real tribute to the human spirit and perseverance, particularly around the large tree that survived the destruction around it. It was balanced and impactful in just the right way.
All of that didn't take long, and I had no other plans for the day, so I stopped into a locally focused grocery store (Native Roots) downtown for a few things. Then I spent the rest of the evening watching Saving Grace, a fantastic, weird, dark TV show that I had forgotten about until I was wandering the city where it's based this weekend.
Today I checked out of the hotel and went right to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, because obviously it had to be done. It is a big building with way more Cowboy, Native American, and general Old West stuff than I could fit into my brain. It's not that I don't think it's interesting or an important part of American history, I guess I just can't relate. I'm a city girl and my ancestors are Europeans who came to this continent in its relatively recent past. But it is really an impressive place, so I was still able to spend around an hour there before grabbing a burrito from a local Mexican joint, heading here to the airport, and soon, back to Seattle.
And I guess I have to thank that one temperamental rental car: I'm glad I never made the day trip down from Kansas City to see just the corner of Oklahoma, because I would have missed out on all this.