As is apparent from the title of this essay, I am not a fan of Florida. This stems from me being from Oregon. Oregon is everything that Florida is not, and in all truthfulness that statement would be truer written “Florida for everything, Oregon, not”.
While I am quite sure that Floridians are not fans of Oregon, it is doubtful they give us much thought other than maybe have the vague concept of a perpetually rainy place with enormous trees that keep the sun out and dampness in. Appealing, eh?
Oregon is virtually unknown abroad. It continually rankles me that I have to explain that Oregon is located above California (arch enemy #1), is on the opposite coast from New York (#2) and diagonally opposite from Florida (#3). I have never mastered the phrase “diagonally opposite” in any foreign language so usually I just tell people Florida and California are the same place. Sunny beaches, Disney, convertibles and lots and lots of women with large breasts.
I also have frustration with the state nicknames. While Florida is called the “Sunshine State”. Oregon is the “Beaver State”. Describing sunshine is far easier than describing a beaver and certainly easier than explaining why your state animal is a smelly rodent that cuts down trees. Plus, it is kind of passive aggressive to, on the one hand, market Oregon as famous for trees and on the other hand celebrate an animal whose sole purpose is to destroy them. Thankfully, conversations about Oregon never progress to that point as most foreigners are fixated on the image of “women with large breasts on a sunny beach” and never move much beyond that.
It comes as no surprise that Florida ranks high above Oregon in tourist arrivals, especially when it comes to foreign visitors. Hordes of Brits and Europeans flock to Florida each year, and from what I understand, flights to Florida from across the pond cost less than a day pass at a certain famous amusement park.
At the end of the day, Oregonians can forgo the tourist masses and continue to revel in our obscurity, secure in the knowledge that we live in a peaceful place of natural beauty that is pretty unappealing to anyone who wasn’t born here.