Patrick Smith’s column this week is a delightful meditation on “country-bagging” in which he argues that one does not count having visited a country without leaving an airport or train station for at least a few hours and seeing the place. In this situation, I am a strict constructionist of borders: pass through one, and you can check off that country, state, or territory.
In my lackadaisical quest to visit all fifty states (I’m up to thirty-nine), I count Michigan. My only time in Michigan was waiting in the very nice Detroit airport. A Michigander friend told me that unless I had stood upon and taken in the rich, verdant soil of the Wolverine State, I had not actually “been” there. By that standard, I wonder, has any resident of Detroit has ever been to Michigan?