America, I worry about you sometimes.


Dear Texan Chick Whose Name I Have Forgotten,

I didn't expect us to stumble into any deep conversations while we were pretending to look busy at the commercial shoot last Friday. I was game for a bit of small talk. Heck, I even had a snippet of chatter planned about the weather.

You, however, decided to discuss the fact that I was visiting from Chicago. It probably would've helped if you knew anything about Chicago.

"Is that the place with the arches?" you asked sincerely.

I stared at you in disbelief. "No. That's St. Louis," I responded patiently. I didn't even bother explaining that it was one arch, not several. Unless, of course, we were talking about McDonald's.

"Oh. Is that nearby?"

"Well, umm . . . Not really. It's on the other side of the state. And across the state border."

No arches, silly.

You still seemed lost, so I mentioned the Sears Tower and then trailed off into an awkward silence just before the camera crew swept through our office. I fidgeted with my pencil until they left, and then breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard someone yell "CUT!"

Anyway . . . I'm writing to tell you that I'm sorry for bolting out the door so quickly. I'm sorry that I probably wrinkled my nose when you assumed that I knew nothing about cheerleading. (I was a cheerleader in junior high and high school, when I wasn't busy teaching my Calculus class or knitting my way through AP English.) I'm sorry for snickering at your lack of knowledge about prominent cities in the United States of America. Most of all, I'm sorry that I didn't kidnap you and take you on a road trip right then and there.

Hopefully, we'll meet again, and I can help undo years of brainwashing. Lesson #1: St. Louis and Chicago should never be confused. Ever.

Until then, have a lovely life, my dear.

Much love (and much concern),