The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh


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So—  We just had our big summer family reunion at a lake in Wisconsin.

You know what they say about family gatherings—  That you should never discuss religion or politics— And we don't plan to—  But because my older daughter Maddy has already started school back in LA and she doesn't want to fall behind in her homework—?  While everyone else is fishing or swimming or prepping the barbeque— Maddy needs to works on her collage. . . for U.S. History.

The theme? What does her generation think is the biggest problem facing the U.S. Right away, we're in crisis mode. We have to find an art store to procure poster paper, a glue stick, highlighters, scissors and three current periodicals.

I remind this L.A. teen that we are deep in the woods of Wisconsin -- Yelp says the nearest "craft supply" store is a "Ben Franklin on Wachookooheesha Lake" an hour away.

So instead we drive 20 minutes to "Trig's" grocery store—  "Oh, and can you pick up tortillas and cilantro?" my partner Charlie calls out.  "Sure!" I say.  "Cilantro!  That's what we came to Wisconsin for!"

Trig's has tortillas, but no cilantro. More importantly, there are no scissors, no highlighters. There are glue sticks, and envelopes we can glue together to make poster paper. There are of course plenty of periodicals. There's Musky Hunter Magazine, Catfish Insider, Log Cabin, Gun Dog Magazine and a glossy publication called Concealed Carry.  Which aside from guns, has a surprising amount of fashion—jeans and cargo shorts with many pockets for—  You know!

For a Blue State metropolitan girl like my 16 year old, this glimpse of the magazine tastes of rural Wisconsin is a fascinating sociological journey.  She reads eagerly from her trove to her boyfriend, safely back in land-locked Northridge—  Until I tell her to get off the phone because my GPS lady is now lost and taking us in circles.  "Harris Creek, Harris Lane, Harris Creek Lane, Harris Bog?" 
"Oh, we'll find it," she says breezily, continuing to chat about Musky Hunters.

 And I'm going, "Hey City Girl, this isn't the Galeria. We are seriously lost. In the back country. And all we've got to defend ourselves is a package of tortillas and Concealed Carry Magazine."  (hum the Deliverance theme)

Next week: Dog Fight.