Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Is the Space Pope reptilian?"

Today I dragged Ryter up to Concord to see the planetarium. The show was kind of lame, which was a bummer because sometimes the shows there are pretty good, but this one seemed to be designed for people who knew absolutely nothing about outer space. It's especially bummerful because I had kind of been hoping to prove to Ryter that there are some fun things to do in this state. He has this idea that we have to go to Boston to do anything outside of his apartment besides go to a mall. And yes, most of the attractions in New Hampshire seem kitchsy to a kid who once lived in New York, but I love this state and I've been finding stuff to do in it for nineteen years. I wish I could find a way to show him that New Hampshire's more than just the state with the most legal ways to get yourself killed.

Anyway, any hope I had to convince him that we're not a bunch of rednecks and Massachusetts transplants was kind of dashed by the drive up there and back, during which we saw:

1. A church mounted on cement blocks
2. Kids kicking a soccer ball at a 10-ft-high wooden cross in someone's yard
3. A daycare called "Precious Angels"
4. 10 antique stores
5. 20 crafts stores, most of which were all in a row
6. A place to buy large wooden moose cutouts for your yard
7. A guy wearing his shirt around his head instead of on his back, army fatigues and workman's boots, sitting in a Jeep with no doors, with himself and his Jeep completely coated in mud as if he'd been splashing around in it for hours
8. A guy with a beer belly in a wife beater and Birkenstocks, duct taping a TV antenna to his chimney
9. Giant bales of hay with white tarps over them, which I at first glance assumed were giant marshmallows
10. And the piece de resistance-- a guy flying the Confederate Flag beneath the American one. Yes. The Confederate flag. In New Hampshire. Less than 100 miles from Canada. In the second most Yankee state in the Union, after Maine.

After all, as Ryter says, the unofficial state motto is: "New Hampshire: At least it's not Maine."

After the show we went to a mini-golf course that would have been much more fun if it hadn't been in the 90's and very sunny, and if we hadn't been hungry and the restaurant out of most food, and if Ryter hadn't been worried about his lizard getting overheated with the lights on and all. Plus Ryter was already kind of irritated about the show not being very good.

Best part of the show, in my opinion, was the guy behind us who, when the presenter asked if we had any questions, said, "Yeah, where's Heaven?"

I know that New Hampshire's not exactly fast-paced and exciting, but there's a lot of great things about it. I mean, the White Mountains are awesome and there's tons to look at, like American Stonehenge and Flume Gorge, and it's beautiful in fall. I guess it helps that I grew up here, and I don't expect excitement to jump out from behind our lovely fall foliage. I like apple picking and meandering down the Appalachian trail and going swimming in a snow-fed river that's so cold you turn pink. I like historical reenactment villages and Canobie Lake, the one amusement park that's nothing compared to a Six Flags. I like the outlet stores in North Conway and walking on rocky beaches and peering at tidepools at Odiorne Point, holding starfish in my hands. I like the Deerfield Fair, where you can stare at giant horse butts and watch people train oxen, and eat various fried foods that are probably toxic. I love the Highland Games, the one place where you can see some of the world's strongest men wear kilts and throw tree trunks, and buy tie-dye kilts and listen to bagpipes echoing softly through the mountains. Hell, I've been to Maine, and I like it there, too.

It makes me sad when people from out-of-state, from cities, look at New Hampshire and see rednecks, transplants and Thoreauian poets. The most that they can say for this place is that there's some pretty scenery, fireworks and guns are legal (though not smoking in bars anymore-- we have a Democratic state government now), and there's no sales tax. And it's not

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