I Can’t Escape Oklahoma

During the finals week, I was standing at the bus stop on campus. A woman approached me and said, “I’m sorry, could you help me? Would you happen to know when the graduation ceremony is going to be?”

“I’m going to be there, so I know for sure,” I replied. “It’s on Saturday, at 1 pm.”

“Oh, you are graduating already?” the woman asked with a smile.

I’m used to this kind of thing, so I explained, “I’m a professor.”

“A professor?” the woman exclaimed. “You look like you are barely twenty!”

“No,” I smiled. “I’m 36.”

“That is incredible!” the woman said. “Oh, I know why you look so young. You must be a farm girl. I’m right, aren’t I? You were born on a farm?”

“No, actually I’m a big city girl,” I said.

“Unbelievable!” the woman said. “The way you look and you accent made me think you had to be from a farm in Oklahoma!”

I know I look well-fed but Oklahoma? A farm? Not that there is anything wrong in being from a farm in Oklahoma, of course, but it isn’t the first time I feel completely misjudged by the world. I see myself as tortured, dark, gloomy, unsociable, and Bohemian, while everybody else perceives me as a cheerful, ultra-sociable, networking Oklahoma farm girl.

P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was holding a dozen and a half eggs in a box in my hands as this conversation unfolded. I buy organic eggs from a guy at work and I was taking them home that day. Maybe seeing me with eggs in my hands made the woman think of farms.

2 thoughts on “I Can’t Escape Oklahoma

  1. Welcome to my world. Everyone thinks I’m a sweet, approachable, grandmotherly kind of lady. When in fact I’m thinking get the hell away from me.

    Today is the worst. It’s Mother’s Day, yet another holiday manufactured by greeting card companies that Americans have embraced wholeheartedly as if it were a centuries-old tradition, and I’m staying indoors to avoid all the people who might think I have children.

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  2. I get the same thing! I see myself as this femme, urban, artsy, bookish 20something, but people always ask me if I grew up on a farm or a ranch. I think it’s because I’m tall, have fairly decent muscles, and don’t really mind doing physical tasks, can garden, and know my way around animals like chickens and horses. Apparently being a farmer is chic now (But they don’t call it farming, they call it “urban homesteading”) so it’s always meant as a compliment.

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