The Central Time Zone is a big place any area that includes most of the Dakotas, all but a sliver of Texas, and the entire state of Alabama qualifies as "big" by almost any standards but little thought is given to it by the national corps of pundits, most of whom seem to dwell on the East Coast. And there are distinct disadvantages to the place, I suppose, if you measure the quality of your life by how closely it mirrors fiction in The New Yorker, but the fact is, there are lots of good things about living on Central time:

  • If you stay up until 11:45, you can watch all of Letterman, not just the monologue.

  • It's still possible to find a decent home in many places here without going into six figures' worth of debt.

  • Nobody feels compelled to apologize for driving a domestic car.

  • Nobody feels compelled to apologize for drinking a domestic beer.

  • There are still places out here where you can't be reached with a cell phone.

  • With few exceptions, our multi-ethnic communities are too busy being surprised by the fact of their existence to worry about how best to exploit the situation for political gain.

  • I-95 doesn't come anywhere near here.

  • The Today Show and its network ilk begin at the same time here (7:00) as they do on the coast, but prime time begins one hour earlier, so there is technically one hour less daytime television.

  • By the time the latest fashions get here, all the really bizarre-looking stuff has been discarded.

  • There's a parking space right over there.

  • Poverty is pretty awful wherever you live, but it costs less here.

  • If you buy a sport-utility vehicle, it is unlikely that your neighbors will circulate a petition to ask you to move.

  • Very few Senators from New York come from here.

All things considered, not a bad showing.

The Vent

1 September 2002

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 Copyright © 2002 by Charles G. Hill