This is going to sound nuts.
But for as long as I can remember, seeing Washington boat registration numbers has made me think of Wisconsin.
You see, Washington boats are given I.D. codes that start with the letters WN. Not WA, mind you – WN.
And that almost always makes me fleetingly visualize America’s Dairyland.
I’m not really sure how to explain it. I mean, I understand that boat registrations use different state abbreviations than the post office. And I realize that WN is not even Wisconsin’s postal code (that’s WI).
Still, I see WN and I start thinking cheese and bratwurst.
Truth to tell, I suspect I sort of have a thing about Wisconsin.
In real life, I’ve been there only two or three times. On each occasion, I was just passing through.
In my imagination, though, I could see living there and being quite content.
“How are you today, Mrs. Krueger? It’s a little humid.”
“We’ll survive, Mr. Turner. Here, I made you a sausage roll.”
Hey, the official state beverage is milk. I happen to love milk.
The state animal is the feisty badger. And I’ve always liked badgers, at least the ones I’ve seen on nature shows.
The state motto is “Forward.” Gotta like that.
My fantasy picture of living in Wisconsin features lots of lakes, attractive political candidates, progressive taxes, sharp cheddar everywhere you turn, reliable winters for building backyard rinks and friends offering to buy me beers.
OK, not everyone yearns to reside in the Midwest. I can’t say that I do either. But in my silly little daydreams, Wisconsin is a no-nonsense haven, less trendy than Minnesota and home to more college hockey than Iowa.
I know lots of people enjoy visions of sipping pinot and talking about obscure films in places like San Francisco or Santa Fe. I can understand that.
But my own preference is imagining life in places that strike me as, well, slightly more real.
Now I’ve never actually taken step one toward moving to Wisconsin. It is just a five-second fantasy, after all. I like Spokane. It’s plenty real enough for me.
But don’t we all have idealized places where we fancy that, maybe in some parallel universe, we could be happy and sane?
I guess I just need to remember that, when it comes to boats, WN stands for Washington.
We have cheese and badgers, too.
“Today’s Slice question: What’s the most high-profile Inland Northwest building in which you have never set foot?
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