You Know You’re From the Midwest If You Do These 23 Things
Every region of the United States has its own specialties and quirks, but we are partial to the Midwest. It is the home of beer, cheese and beer cheese, after all! And if you’re from the Midwest, you’re apt to inherit a few specialties and quirks of your own, whether or not you moved away from corn fields to the big city. Certain Midwestern behaviors, like measuring distance in hours, smiling at strangers and knowing how to make a mean casserole just stick with you. In fact, if you’re from the Midwest, you’re very familiar with these 23 behaviors.
You measure distance in hours
Grandma’s house isn’t 20 miles away, it’s a 40-minute drive. “I live 10 minutes from the high school” and “We’re about an hour south of Minneapolis” are better ways to gauge distance than a silly unit known as miles.
You drive everywhere but can’t parallel park
Public transportation in the Midwest outside of the cities is hard to come by, so the second you turned 16 you got a license (if not sooner). If a restaurant is a mile and a half away from your house in the suburbs, there’s no way you’re walking, you’re getting into the car. Despite driving constantly, you have no idea how to parallel park. That’s something for city dwellers.
You don’t mind traveling by car for days
You say ‘hi’ to strangers when walking
When taking a stroll in the park or walking your dog through your neighborhood, you nod, smile and say a little greeting to your fellow walkers. You don’t know them, of course, you’re just acknowledging that they exist.
You don’t know how to say ‘goodbye’
When you’re leaving a family birthday party or even just a dive bar full of friends, you can’t just ghost. You have to say goodbye to every single person, tell them how great it was to see them and give them a hearty hug. Saying goodbye is not a quick process. If you want to leave by 10 p.m., you know to start your exit around 9:15.
You apologize — a lot
Sorry! Midwesterners will apologize for literally anything. Did someone bump into you at the grocery store? Sorry! Is your coworker speaking a little too softly? So sorry, can that be repeated? Heck, if you’re a real Midwesterner, you know you should even apologize to tables and chairs that are in your way.
You’re exceedingly friendly
Midwesterners are friendly folks — and you are too. Not only do you say hi, bye and sorry a lot, but you’re down to chat with most people at most times and are willing to lend a helping hand when one is needed. And that kindness is genuine. It’s just in your Midwestern blood.
You secretly judge people by their lawns
This is also a sure sign you’re from the suburbs. And try as you might to be kind, a suburban Midwesterner sees their lawn as a competition. If your neighbors have dry grass, dead flowers or a yard covered in leaves, they’re clearly off their rockers.
You wear layers all the time, always
It can be a frigid 40 degrees in the morning, a steamy 80 degrees in the afternoon and a crisp, cool 60 in the evenings. When you leave the house in the morning, you know to wear an extra cardigan and hat and to pack a pair of gloves in your bag.
You are very nostalgic for county fairs
If you weren’t showing off a goat or a pie as a part of your 4-H project as a kid, you’d at least hang out at the county fair. You spent a week every summer seeing local rock bands, riding questionable Ferris wheels and eating deep-fried versions of every food item you could ever think of.
You live for the fall
You know that fall is the best season. The autumnal weather means you can go apple picking, go on tractor rides, wind your way through a corn maze and sit by a bonfire roasting s’mores all evening.
You know fall = football season
Those other things about fall are totally great, but the start of September means one thing: It’s football season. And you’ll be in the stands every weekend, cheering on your local high school team. You are also ride or die for your state university’s team, whether or not you actually went to school there.
You tailgate semi-professionally
Beyond pure competition, you love football season because it means you can tailgate. Opening up your trunk and making burgers, hot dogs, sausages and other amazing, meaty dishes for you and your friends is an autumnal highlight. Of course, no tailgate would be complete without an ice cold beer (or two or three).
You drink pop
Soda is for coastal types. You drink pop. You also call that delicious, sweet spread on top of a cake frosting (not icing), and you know that a last-minute dinner from a Chinese restaurant is carryout, not takeout.
You know puppy chow isn’t for the dogs
Whether you call it puppy chow or muddy buddies, you know the combination of Chex cereal, peanut butter, chocolate and powdered sugar is the perfect dessert for any and all occasions.
You don’t swim in oceans or pools, you go to the lake
Why take a dip in water full of chlorine or salt when you can go in to a crisp, refreshing freshwater lake? The best summer days were spent on the shores of your local lake, with a cooler full of pop and sandwiches. If your family was feeling adventurous, you’d head to one of the Great Lakes.
You know going to the mall is a big outing
You swear you don’t have an accent
Every single person in the Midwest will swear there is no accent, but sorry, you kind of have an accent. Say that word with a long A again? Yep, your Midwesterner is showing. But that’s OK!
You say ‘ope’
You betcha a true Midwesterner will say “ope,” probably when they run into an inanimate object. Midwesterners will also call a vacuum a “sweeper,” will drop helping verbs and have been known to call a traffic light a “stop and go light.” And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of things only people from the Midwest say.
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