Students everywhere are returning to school and writing the all-popular essay, “What I did on my summer vacation.” I’m writing about the thrills and chills I experienced yesterday, on my day off.
For the first time in several years, I made the hour drive to visit the town where I did most of my growing up, and where my mom and stepdad still live – Topeka, Kansas. Yes, the capital city that boasts the worst state government in the nation.
My stepdad, a mechanical engineer, owns a metal fabrication shop on the north side of town. The Husband is now driving an hour to work every day, joining him in the business. It’s a good situation for all of us. And now I can occasionally ride along with him on a Friday (my day off) in order to spend time in Topeka with my mom.
Time with my mom: good.
Time in Topeka, Kansas: not good.
This billboard is right across the highway from my stepdad’s shop. It does a beautiful job of encapsulating just what, exactly, is the problem with my state.
This is the best shot I could get. The words underneath “The Holy Bible,” which are mercifuly unintelligible here, are something like “Timeless. Truthful. Final.” I don’t remember the exact wording because upon reading it I was overtaken by severe fundamentalist-induced nausea and vomiting.
What I didn’t manage to get a shot of (HAHA!) was the billboard right next to this one, which celebrated the awesome power of gun ownership and the God-given right of each of us to “pack.”
I loved hanging with my mom yesterday. Pure leisure. We went out for coffee, did a little shopping, then came back to her house to make lunch, chat, peruse the latest IKEA catalog, play with the dog, and knit. At the end of the day we picked up our husbands from the shop and went out for Mexican food for dinner. Just lovely.
But the Mexican place we went to was dangerously close to the capital building. That view, and imagining the ignorant, selfish, and backwards lawmakers who hang out there, kind of put a damper on my appetite.
Today I’ll have to shake off the taint with some classical music, good books, and NPR.
With luck I’ll survive that day off.