Things in Erin’s Head


Life is all about perspective, isn’t it?

Last week I was in Kansas City, Missouri for a work trip. If you haven’t been, you may have caught a glimpse of it across your TV screen during the NFL draft that took place at the end of April.

I arrived the day after the draft and stayed at the Westin Hotel, across the street from Union Station. Aside from the workers disassembling the giant structures supporting the draft, and clusters of conference goers in the hotel lobby each morning, the people were seemingly… gone. Legitimately I wondered if the locals fled the City because of the draft, because there were very few people around – in an apocalyptic kind of way. Lots of housing, condos, businesses, but there was no traffic and very few people on the streets.

PERSPECTIVEI live in South Florida. A tropical paradise. There are people here ALL THE TIME. During “season” I barely leave my house because of the crowds. So while we joked that it was eerily quiet, I also feel very uncomfortable in large crowds (I’m not a festival girl, y’all), so the empty streets were 100% my vibe.

I hopped on a Segway for a guided tour of the southern part of town. We visited the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, which was quaint and just lovely. There were tulips, Japanese maple, Bleeding Heart flowers, and a fountain with ballet dancers, which always strums a special string in my heart. If anything, I feel like I would have liked to just sit there, for like an hour, and watch the breeze blow through the leaves, and allow inspiration to flow. Plus there was a cat. A resident mouser employed to protect the blooms from nibbling critters.

PERSPECTIVENope it’s not Chihuly Gardens in Seattle with blown glass erupting from the ground and dangling from the sky. It also didn’t require a map. Or a “plan.” Ideal for a brain like mine that works full throttle all day thinking, researching, and creating, and sometimes needs to pause (and I’ve been working hard to honor my need to pause, rest, and reflect).

The tour also included a spin around the Kansas City Art Institute. The private school has approximately 700 students focusing on their Bachelor of Fine Arts in one of 13 majors including animation (Walt Disney took classes here), creative writing, ceramics, art history, painting… It was a unique campus with history, varied architecture, and open spaces. And then… our Segway guide described the campus as “sprawling” which kind of made us go, “huh?”

PERSPECTIVE: I went to college in California (five of them to be exact – but that’s another story for another book). I cruised campuses like Santa Barbara City College (17,000 students) and Long Beach State (37,000 students) so a campus that accommodates 700 students? Perhaps “sprawling” was the wrong word, but it was unique and probably the most important part: it has produced artists who have been notably successful in their craft.

My visit went on in this manner. High expectations, and somewhat underwhelming experiences. Until I put it in perspective. Their planetarium? It’s NOT the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The cute Taylor Swift Laser Show? It was NOT the sensory overload, Robot Bar experience I had in Tokyo. Union Station? NOT New York’s Grand Central. The Missouri River? Mmmm. It’s a working river. Cranes, trains, and bridges. It’s not a touring, nature, beauty of a river like the North Fork of the American whose white rapids I’ve been fortunate enough to ride. 

See… I’m a spoiled, spoiled girl…

I’ve been able to experience all of these magical, once in a lifetime experiences. Experiences others only dream of. While some of my KCMO experiences may have felt “meh” in the moment, I can look back, days later, with perspective, to appreciate the lovely things the Heart of America has to offer. The best? Happy People. There were literally TWO people who seemed to be having bad days (okay and one A-hole Uber driver). Every other person I came in contact with was smiling, light, accommodating, and chill, seemingly loving life.

Because it’s all about love…