So I took a little drive up to the great state of Wisconsin, much like many Illinoisans do periodically. We like to travel up there to make sure that they aren’t up to any funny business – like organizing an army to invade Illinois.
There’s a love-hate relationship between Wisconsin and Illinois. For anyone not from the Midwest, it probably seems like two hungry super models calling each other fat. The folks that live on either coast of the USA have no idea what business goes down in the Midwest, and it’s better that way. The subtleties of Midwestern culture are for a more refined palate.
So, like I was saying, there is a love-hate relationship between Wisconsin and Illinois. Illinoisans will concede that Wisconsin has a far superior landscape throughout much of the state. While both states are flat when compared to, say, Colorado, Illinois is far flatter and a lot less pretty to look at. Wisconsin has lakes and rivers and hills, making it an idyllic situation for weekend get-aways and crazy Uncle Oscars who just want to live alone in the woods gosh-durn-it! As a matter of fact, many Illinoisans have set up a secondary residence in Wisconsin in order to enjoy a more rugged and earthy life experience. You know, the kind that involves personal watercraft and snowmobiles.
Anywho, Wisconsinites love Illinois for the shopping that can be done at our malls and on Michigan Avenue, and for the money that Illinoisans spend in Wisconsin (both on consumable goods and speeding tickets). Which brings me to my first thing about Wisconsin.
thing 1: speeding tickets
To all of the Illinois drivers heading north: You know and I know that there is a really good chance that if you have an Illinois plate, you will get pulled over.
However, I want to be clear about why Illinois drivers get tickets.
See, in Wisconsin, the drivers drive exactly the speed limit. The only time they don’t drive the speed limit is when they are driving a combine, in which case they drive considerably slower than the speed limit.
In Illinois, the speed limit is a suggestion for how fast you can go on the shoulder while passing slower moving traffic. By no means should you ever go anything less than 10 mph over the speed limit in Illinois or someone will shoot you with the gun they use for hunting cats up in Wisconsin. (OK, no, they do not hunt cats in Wisconsin, but they did try to pass a law to make cat hunting legal. It failed, narrowly. ‘Nough said.)
It is the Wisconsinite penchant for driving the speed limit that makes all of the Illinois drivers hurrying off to their cabins for a little rest and relaxation such easy targets: Illinois drivers are going at least 20 miles per hour faster than their Wisconsin cousins. The police don’t have time to figure out who is from Wisconsin and Illinois when your car is breaking the sound barrier on Interstate 94.
thing 2: abandoned cars
Driving through Wisconsin today, I saw no fewer than 5 abandoned cars on the side of the road in 40 minutes. I’ve seen two abandoned cars in the past 6 months in Illinois. What happens to cars in Wisconsin that they are just left on the side of the road??
thing 3: left hand turns
I hate left hand turns. I avoid them at all costs. I will go around the block in order to avoid a left hand turn.
In Wisconsin, there is something really messed up about turning left. First of all, the way the medians are set up for left hand turns in Wisconsin has always thrown me. The medians are set up so that cars making left turns are off-set just enough so that neither car can see any oncoming traffic. After sitting through the light cycle three or four times, I find that I just hit the gas and pray when making a left in Wisconsin. This actually brought me closer to God.
Plus, the U-Turn reigns supreme in Wisconsin. Instead of turning directly left into a shopping center, they would much prefer that you drive past your destination, do a U-Turn and make a right-hand turn into the parking lot.
Ah, I miss Wisconsin!