You Know You’re From the Midwest If You Do These 23 Things

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Things Only Midwesterners Do
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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

You measure distance in hours
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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

You drive everywhere but can’t parallel park
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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 don’t mind traveling by car for days
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“Why fly? It’s only a 12-hour drive” is not an uncommon phrase in the Midwest. Whether you’re going to the family’s lake house up in Michigan or down to Walt Disney World for a summer vacation, no distance is too far for a good old-fashioned road trip.

You say ‘hi’ to strangers when walking

You say ‘hi’ to strangers when walking
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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’

You don’t know how to say ‘goodbye’
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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

You apologize — a lot
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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

You’re exceedingly friendly
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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

You secretly judge people by their lawns
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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

You wear layers all the time, always
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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

You are very nostalgic for county fairs
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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 live for the fall
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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

You know fall = football season
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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

You tailgate semi-professionally
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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).

Casserole is your favorite food group

Casserole is your favorite food group
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You have the best casserole recipes, and everyone knows that when you come to the potluck, you’re going to roll up with a winning dish. Bonus points if that casserole (aka hotdish) comes with tater tots.

You know cheese is an important part of your diet

You know cheese is an important part of your diet
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No party in the Midwest is complete without at least three cheese-based dishes. The cheeseball never died in the Midwest, beer cheese is the perfect thing to dip your pretzel in and, heck, even your broccoli is full of cheese.

You make so-called vintage party foods

You make so-called vintage party foods
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The cheeseball isn’t the only so-called retro food that you eat regularly. While deviled eggs, Jell-O molds, fondue and cocktail meatballs went out of fashion across much of the U.S., these are still party staples for you and yours.

You drink pop

You drink pop
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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

You know puppy chow isn’t for the dogs
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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.

Superman is your favorite ice cream flavor

Superman is your favorite ice cream flavor

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Is it just vanilla colored three different ways, or is it three (very subtle) different flavors? Whatever it is, Superman ice cream is great and it defines summer in the Midwest.

You don’t swim in oceans or pools, you go to the lake

You don’t swim in oceans or pools, you go to the lake
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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 know going to the mall is a big outing
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Sometimes there’s not a lot to do in the Midwest. So you’ll spend a Saturday at the the best mall in your state. Not only does the mall have all of your clothing and home goods needs, it also has a great food court, coffee and probably a movie theater.

You swear you don’t have an accent

You swear you don’t have an accent
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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 say ‘ope’
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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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