Unless you’re from Michigan or know someone who is, it may not occur to you that Michigan is shaped like a mitten. I’d grown up in a boring rectangle state and lived for years in California, the long, misshappen left coast.
When my family moved to Michigan in 2000, we were mystified why people put their hands up to show me where they lived. I know, it seems so obvious now, but never in my 45 years had I seen anyone present a body part to describe geography.
At the time, my daughter was a high school sophomore. Having had enough of the hand, when asked where she lived before, she threw her left arm over her head, bent her elbow, and pointed to a spot about 2-3″ from her armpit on the outside of her arm. I love her quick wit and thought it was brilliant.
I’ve come to love my adopted state, but I’m still not comfortable using my hand for directions. My default is using directions and miles in relation to cities. Next year, I’ll celebrate two decades of being a transplanted Michigander…maybe then I’ll start using my hand.