The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

You Can Lead Your Friends to Water, But You Cannot Make Them Mmm.

The girl is drilling her classmates, a circle of international students sharing at a table at the university food court.  She wears black hipster glasses and a puffy coat. Her notes are in order. There are young men–one with a Mohawk–a few other young women, one with a stocking cap topped with a fucshia ball of twine. They nibble, then review, they laugh, begin again.

“Mmm!” The girl exclaims, referring to her list of vocabulary. “Em. Em. Em. Mmmm.” She insists that everyone repeats the sound, and they comply with various levels of annoyance, rolling their eyes. She tries again to encourage participation, this time with an encouragement that another girl finds amusing.

At one more unenthusiastic reception, the leader halts and turns to her meal. The students eat in near quiet, papers rustling around sandwiches, utensils scraping on Styrofoam.  Then as they crumble their empty containers, they praise their drill sergeant, this time smiling, nudging her, trying to get her to grin—Mmm, they note, mmm, mmm!

–Manhattan, Kansas.

kansas, interstate kansas

Kansas. Send this to people who say it’s not a pretty state! 🙂

5 comments on “You Can Lead Your Friends to Water, But You Cannot Make Them Mmm.

  1. hughcurtler
    November 23, 2013

    Kansas has some positively beautiful areas, rolling hills with streams and trees galore — it’s not all just flat farm land!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      November 23, 2013

      Agreed! I’m partial to the state since my father’s family came from Kansas, but I’ve found plenty of landscapes and kind people to support my bias. 🙂

  2. LaVagabonde
    November 24, 2013

    I’ve always enjoyed driving through Kansas, even the flat parts. 🙂

  3. iamforchange
    December 6, 2013

    Did you go to the town… Manhattan, Kansas a quite a quaint spot, as is Manhattan Nevada. Not the fondest of Manhattans in my memories, yet the picture reminds me of many as well as the road trips. Say Hi to the Rockies for me… I miss Denver.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 6, 2013

      Yes, I went to graduate school in Manhattan, Kansas. I must say I am better suited to the Little Apple rather than the Big. 🙂

      I’ll say hello to the foothills for you!

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2013 by in Blogging, Europe, Happiness, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , .

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