In the past 72 hours, I have visited 2 new states for me -- Texas... and Oklahoma. "Why?" you might ask. Rob's good friend from his childhood, Jason, got married this past weekend in Oklahoma City to a very cool gal, Cathy. Rob had the honor of being a groomsman.
When we first got the invitation, we just assumed the wedding was in Philadelphia. Or the midwest, where Jason used to be. Careful scrutinizing of the invite showed address, address, address... Oklahoma City. eep. Two hard-core northeastern city-ites had already RSVP'ed "yes" before realizing where the wedding was. So we sucked it up and went to Oklahoma.
We get off the plane and look around at the wide expanse of flat. Trees here and there, but mostly flat. Meh, it's the plains. (by the way, we had to look up WHERE Oklahoma was on the map in the airport). The airport was empty even though it's 3pm. Walking outside the terminal at the "taxi" sign we could almost hear the crickets. Not a car in sight. Fortunately a passing security guard showed us where the single taxi was hiding, behing a giant pillar in the outermost lane. He was a friendly guy, instantly chatting away with Rob (I don't handle "interested" cabbies very well -- too much paranoid new yorker in me).
By the end of the cab ride, Rob and I were giving each other the "oh dear god, what have we gotten ourselves into!?!?!" look. Fortnately, the cabbie was the only scary interaction in the trip. He did have one good line: He reminded Rob, "now, we here in Oklahoma are nice people. It's not Vegas. What happens here will get back to that pretty lady there."... I think I might have snarled at that point.
The city was dead quiet over the weekend. The downtown skyline is 3 buildings about 20-30 stories tall. However, the people (other than the cabbie) were great! The group at the wedding were highly educated, highly intelligent and very interesting people. Jason is in the Air Force, so a number of guests were in the armed forces or married to people in the armed forces -- mostly engineers. Cathy is a trained pilot and flight instructor who now sells private jets for mucho bucks whose friends were mostly aviation people. Both bride and groom are avid fencers and they actually met at the local fencing gym (this is how Rob knows Jason). It was a fun, friendly and eclectic group of people which made for a very nice wedding. Rob stood out a little as the one groomsman not in uniform, but Rob always takes all of that in stride.
Would I go back to Oklahoma as a tourist? No. Would I go back to visit Jason and Cathy? Definately! Am I still scared of Oklahoma (total state-wide population 3 million)? nope =). Just to note that there are over 3x the number of people in NYC alone than in the entire state of Oklahoma. Just for perspective.