"Is it snowing in Baltimore? Because it's snowing in Boston."
"Have you ever seen a cow?"
"Do you listen to country music?"
"Do you drink Pepsi? Do they have Coke in Maryland?"
"You'd understand it if you were below the Mason-Dixon Line."
"Can you get into the ocean in Maryland, or is it freezing?"
"You're from The North. You're Liberal."
"What state is Maryland next to?"
"Is Maryland a state?"
"Where is Maryland?"
"You've shot a gun? But you're from Maryland."
"You talk like you're from New Jersey."
"I love crabs! King crab legs."
"You should order the crabcakes here!"
...I could go on forever. Here are my answers:
1. Well, Boston is precisely 7 hours north of Baltimore (without the crazy major-city traffic)...so I wouldn't know.
2. Surprise: I was raised on a farm. I grew up with cows. Have YOU seen a cow?
3. I have David Allan Coe's greatest hits on my iPod. Does that answer your question? Your Rascal Flatts can take that.
4. No, I don't drink Pepsi. I was not aware that this is a northern stereotype. I drink Coke, and yes, Coke is in Maryland...and all over the world...
5. Spur of the moment history lesson/geography lesson...Maryland is below the Mason-Dixon Line! Dummy.
6. Yes, I get in the ocean. No, It's not freezing. Maryland summers are in the 90s and 100s.
7. I am probably more Conservative than you are. Let's chat.
8. You bet. State number 7.
9. Maryland touches Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
10. Maryland is above Virginia. That's the easiest way I can explain Maryland to you. It's on the East Coast.
11. Yes. Again, I was raised on a farm.
12. I'm going to take a wild guess and say you've never been to New Jersey.
13. No hon, no.
14. See number 13.
Fueled by endless stupid questions and ignorant comments, this post is dedicated to my home state. Which I love dearly. I really do. Here we go:
An open letter to those of you who seem to misunderstand Maryland...
This sarcastic [and undeniably bitchy] letter was inspired by Y-O-U. I truly hope that you read it. Maybe we can finally clear up some of this confusion that you brought upon yourself by insulting me and my state.
It is also a wholehearted expression of love for where I grew up. That part is not sarcastic, I promise.
I was born and raised in Howard County, Maryland. My parents still live in the house I have lived in since the day I was born. I was born in Howard County General Hospital in Columbia. My parents' home is in Woodbine. Just about everything I do is in Ellicott City. Here is a little geography...Woodbine is almost exactly, down to a matter of 10 or so minutes, the same distance from Baltimore City as Owings Mills, Cockeysville, Towson, and many other surrounding towns. Google it. So no, Baltimore County folks, you do not take precedence over this city. I do not live in the middle of nowhere like you presume - I live in the middle of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. That's a big deal if you ask me. I may live in in a rural town, but it is right in your backyard. Howard County is fantastic. Explore.
To all of my southern and western friends, I will explain to you Maryland's climate, which really is not your fault for misunderstanding - you've never been there. We have four very distinct seasons. Our spring is dewy and mild, rainy and wet. Our summers are hot...and no, I don't mean 70 degrees, I mean 90s and 100s. Our fall is crisp and warm, starting to get very chilly. Our winters are cold and snowy - some years 3 feet of snow, some years only flurries on Christmas Eve. It varies. Just like everywhere else.
My personal favorite is the conversation about the Mason-Dixon Line. "Southerners" LOVE to throw this one at people...and most of the people who've thrown it at me have been surprised (for some reason) to learn that they are incorrect - I am below the Mason-Dixon Line. Take a peek:
That being said...I'm pretty well traveled. I've spent a good amount of time in every single state on the East Coast. I used to spend a month in Maine every summer. It's different there, too. Unless you're from Maryland or surrounding areas, you aren't expected to know this or understand it, but we really aren't Northern, either. We are "Mid-Atlantic." You don't have to get it. That's just what we are. That's just how it is. We are, geographically speaking, in the middle.
I didn't make this post to yell at people. Ok, well I kind of did, but I'm finished now. Now I want to talk about positive things. Things that I love about my state that other people from other places can't really grasp...
I live next door to a farm -- but I live in a neighborhood -- but I live between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. -- but I live a short roadtrip from the ocean -- but I live a short drive from the mountains. I can get to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in an hour, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in a little less than an hour, and Virginia in less than an hour, too. I can cross the North Carolina border in 4 hours. It also takes me 4 hours to get to New York City. 3 to get to Philadelphia. Are you mindblown yet?
Maryland is nicknamed Mini-America. Something Marylanders LOVE about our state is that we can experience so many different places without having to drive too far. Maryland is beautiful...we really do have it all. I was lucky to grow up, literally, in the center of it all; I live in dead-center Maryland.
Marylanders love their flag more than just about any other state loves theirs. You'll see our flag on anything and everything.
Marylanders love crabs. No, friends, not king crab legs. Lucky for you, there is a whole world of seafood that you have yet to explore...and it's all in Maryland. Blue Crabs, people. The most fantastic things you'll ever eat. Put 'em on a pretzel, in dip, in soup, on pretty much anything. Old Bay, too...(I carry it in my purse...judge me).
Marylanders scream "O!" during the National Anthem. This is often embarassing for me, because I subconsciously do it everywhere I go, and I do it alone. Oops. Go Os?
It's Ravens, O's, and Natty Bohs, "Hon," Berger cookies, lacrosse, Terps, it's a lot of things.
Many people are surprised to learn that I only drive through 2 states to get to school: Virginia and Tennessee. Granted, I drive the entire length of those two long freakin' states, but its just two.
Maryland is a really special place. I went to school in the number one public school system in the country. Howard County and Montgomery County are consistently in the top 5 wealthiest counties in the country, making Maryland the richest state in the nation. It's not the middle of nowhere folks! It's DC's beautiful backyard, filled with hills, trees, tractors, trucks, and windy back roads.
I grew up going to Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, only a few hours away. I realized when I went to school that this is [obviously] not the amusement park everyone grew up going to. There's only one! And I'm lucky to be close to it. It's also the Hershey Factory. This awes my friends at school :)
I grew up going to Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina beaches, not gulf beaches. I grew up camping in western Maryland or West Virginia. I grew up going to New York City for the day on a whim. I grew up going to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, boating for the day on the Chesapeake Bay, or picking crabs on the back patio. This was my upbringing. I'm lucky.
It's a beautiful, wonderful, place, and it's so misunderstood. To contradict my frustrations, though, I think the misunderstanding is a blessing. It means that Maryland is just the best kept secret. A place for people who appreciate its diversity, its opportunities, and its beauty.
It's a place that I miss very much. The place that makes me say "I'm home" out loud with a giddy smile every time my flight attendant says, "We have landed, welcome to Baltimore."
The place that makes me smile when we turn onto Morgan Station Road, down our crazy driveway, and all the way to our beautiful white house.
Moving away was the smartest thing I've ever done. I now appreciate my home state and my upbringing more than I ever would have thought possible if I stayed where I was. Coming home is a real treat now. Nothing I will ever take for granted.
Well, I'm going to go watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants now...which, did you know, takes place in Maryland? Fun fact.
I sincerely hope that I answered your questions. I am so proud to be a Marylander. See ya in a few weeks, Woodbine.