On the Road: A Miamian in Arkansas

Categories: Culture
ark--baldknobber.jpg
White people.

That was the first thing that went through my mind.

I'd been in the 3-0-5 for the last nine months. After taking a trip to Arkansas, I remembered that most of America is filled with white people -- beautiful, passionate, cordial, yet sometimes ignorant, white people. America is weird. And this is definitely a weird time to be in America. We're crumbling. We're not the most educated or driven. Although blessed, we're also a mess, especially culturally.

For example, the most popular restaurant in Arkansas is McDonald's. I waited 30 minutes to get served. I stood behind a Latina woman and her child. Listening to the Latina try and order food was sad. It went like this:


McDonald's Employee: Welcome to McDonalds. Can I take your order?
Latina: Que?
What?
Que?
Huh?
Que?
What do you want to eat? the worker asked.
(The Latina pointed to a Happy Meal.)
Hamburger or chicken?
Que?
Huh?
Que?
What?

I intervened. Quieres hamburghesa or pollo?
Pollo.
She wants chicken.

Hablas espanol? the Latina asked me.
No, vivo en Miami. Todos hablan español tan sé un poco.

You don't look Spanish, the employee said.
I'm not. I have Rosetta Stone.
What?
Rosetta Stone.
Huh?
I live in Miami.
Oh, neat.

da da ding-ding ding-ding ding-ding ding-g-g

(first ever dueling banjos onomatopoeia,
reverse-racism, yes. but a cool transitional narrative device)


All I wanted from McDonald's was a caramel latte. They were out. After waiting 30 minutes, and practicing Spanish, I left unsatisfied and headed across the way to Waffle House.  

ark--hashbrown.jpg
 
Welcome to Waffle House!                   

Let me save you from this crazy waffle world?            
Huh?
Run away with me!
What?
Come with me to Miami!
Are you sure?
Yes!
Ok.
The beautiful waitress strips off the Flo from Mel's Diner uniform and she's wearing a bikini. We run out the door and jump into my convertible, peeling out.

Can I take your order??
 
It snaps me out of my weird Zach Braff J.D. from Scrubs voice-over dream.

Um, how much for hash browns smothered all the way??

$4.20

da da ding-ding ding-ding ding-ding ding-g-g


ark--walmart.jpg


In Arkansas, Walmart is like Mecca. People in Arkansas might not invite the comparison, anything Muslim might anger the God of the Dueling Banjos, possibly resulting in the sacrifice of 68 American sluts and a Chevy Pick-up truck. Nonetheless, it sure seemed like there was no better place to be than Wal-Mart. Two things stood out at this Mecca. A majority of the people appeared overweight and there was a whole aisle dedicated to "Hispanic Foods."

One didn't have to be Scooby Doo, drive a Mystery Machine or appear on Jeopardy to figure out the obesity issue.

What is "a direct correlation between all the McDonald's and Waffle Houses?"

Correct.

But the Hispanic Food aisle seemed rude.  Especially since it was like mainly taco shells, an assortment of beans and a motley of spices. What were they trying to say there, huh?


da da ding-ding ding-ding ding-ding ding-g-g


After spending most of my time in Walmart, Waffle House, and McDonald's, I decided to get some serious culture. My options were limited. There was the Baldknobbers Jamboree Show or the Bill Clinton presidential library and National Archives. What to do? What to do?

In all seriousness, Arkansas is awesome.

The Ozarks are amazing.

ark--river.jpg

And the people are great.

ark--peeps.jpg
CC: ArkansasRealtorsAssociation


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7 comments
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JJ
JJ

This is satirical. Arkansas is great. And so are Arkansans.

The article is commentary on Americana, our corporate addictions, multi-cultural awkwardness, and lack of interest in eduction. That's the subtext.

gbm
gbm

I'm inclined to agree with SS. There's little commentary on the issues you mentioned and little evidence of satire. Mostly it sounds like you making statements about a place and a people that you know little about and took little time to get to know. I'd appreciate it if you'd stay out of my state from now on and keep your hateful "subtext" focused on other areas. 

SS
SS

I appreciate the afterthought, but I suggest you improve your writing skills before making a second attempt at satire.

SS
SS

This is the most insulting, narrow-minded and ignorant account of Arkansas that I've ever read. As a native Arkansan and someone who has respect for cultures other than mine, I am appalled that anyone would be willing to openly stereotype a lifestyle that you clearly know nothing about. Growing up in rural Arkansas, I was surrounded by some of the kindest, hardest working people that I've ever met and I cannot express how proud I am to count myself as one of them. As there seems to be little effort, honesty or kindness put into your writing, I think you might be able to learn a few things from those backwards Arkansans. If you'd like to hear an account of the real Arkansas, I'd be happy to give you one. Otherwise, I suggest you keep your mouth shut about things you aren't able to understand.  

gbm
gbm

I couldn't have said it better myself MM. There are a lot of stereotypes perpetuated here in Miami as well, and as an Arkansan I find your summarization to be shallow and blatantly offensive. Way to try and deliver some backhanded compliments at the end to save face. 

EAT
EAT

I love this article. I have a picture I took in Arkansas at the foot of my bed. It's so green! 

MM
MM

great stereotypes!  what part of arkansas were you in?  wherever you were, you apparently you didn't take the time to get a more nuanced perspective.  also, i've seen that same scene at a mcdonald's in the grove and even the wal-marts here in miami-dade have hispanic food isles and overweight shoppers.  those things are not unique to arkansas.

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