Where I'm From

I've always been proud of the fact that I'm from Ohio.  I feel like it grounds me.  I like being from the Midwest.  Aside from the amazing inability to really process anything, the Midwest -- and specifically Ohio -- has given me a lot.

I'm also strangely protective of Ohio.  I will mock my native state to death, but if someone else does it -- someone else who has never even set foot there -- then I take it personally.  I'm allowed to make fun of Ohio because I love Ohio and all the shit it's put me through.  Far more good than bad came from spending my first 24 years there.

It also became something of a calling card for me.  Just as I had become "Kyle in Los Angeles" to so many people back east, in Los Angeles I was the guy from Ohio, or at least the sadist who cheers for all the Cleveland sports teams.  For every time I might have been insulted because I was from the Midwest, there were at least three times that I felt really sure of myself because of it.

So here's the strange thing: I'm no longer Kyle from Ohio.  I've suddenly become the guy from Los Angeles.

It's weird just typing that.

Now, to a certain extent I'm happy to be the guy from Los Angeles, usually if it's within the context of the fact that I now live in the suburbs.  I'm at least a little happy to have a distinction made that this is not my normal environment, so perhaps I should be forgiven for my lack of suburban etiquette.

At the same time, it's somewhat unflattering, because people from Los Angeles are...well, I'm sure you know.  I realize that Los Angeles doesn't seem to have the hive mentality that people in New York or Chicago have, they don't have a shared identity because of their geographic location.  But it is there, at least a little.  And after nine years in that city, I know it's rubbed off on me.

At a certain point, I will no doubt stop putting "the" in front of the highway numbers.  I suppose that will be the first indication that I've assimilated.  Buying a mini-van will probably be the second.

Anyway, it's just strange to me, that I'm now associated with Los Angeles.  I suppose it one final way for that city to hang on to me, like an STD you discover a week after a short, torrid affair.

Now back to my Jack Daniels and writing, two of my constants, no matter where I call home.