Let’s face it: life here in the Great Lakes State is undoubtedly unique. We’re fiercely proud of our quirky traits and one-of-a-kind destinations — that’s why we continue to sing Michigan’s praises to anyone who will listen! But some elements of life in our state are just a little odd. If you’re a true Michigander, you’ve likely experienced these 12 bizarre moments at least once.
1. Walking into an out-of-town Meijer and being taken aback by the layout.
When you’re used to the grocery store in your hometown, you probably feel confident in your ability to navigate its aisles with your eyes closed. But when you visit a Meijer, Kroger, or Family Fare in a neighboring community, there’s nothing stranger than walking in and seeing the pharmacy where the groceries usually are.
2. Wearing a winter coat in May.
You know the drill: here in Michigan, it’s balmy and 75 degrees one day, then temperatures dip into the 20s the next. Every true Michigander has experienced the strangeness of bundling up and venturing out into freshly fallen snow during the middle of our so-called "springtime."
3. Basking in the sunshine on Christmas Day.
On the flip side of the coin, it’s not uncommon for Michigan winters to be briefly interrupted by small doses of warmer weather. Global warming has certainly made itself known here in the Great Lakes State, and most of us have meandered outside in shorts and t-shirts during at least one winter holiday.
4. Being stared at like you’re an alien after asking for "pop."
If you’ve ever dined at a restaurant outside of Michigan and its immediate surrounding states, chances are that you’ve experienced the awkwardness of a server who simply isn’t on board with calling it "pop." We know, those who refer to our favorite fizzy beverages as "soda" are just as adamant as we are about the name — but that doesn’t mean we’ll budge!
5. Taking nausea medication and wishing it were Vernors.
Ever had a few too many slices of pizza and found yourself groaning with discomfort as your stomach churns? The natural next step is to take some Pepto Bismol, right? Wrong. We Michiganders swear by the healing powers of Vernors when our stomachs aren’t cooperating, and there’s nothing worse than being unable to access our favorite ginger ale during a bout of nausea.
6. Awkwardly tearing up in public after hearing a Pure Michigan commercial.
What? Me? No, I’m not crying — there’s just a little dust in my eye. Let’s admit it: we Michiganders are pretty emotionally attached to our state, and those Pure Michigan commercials just seem to tug at the heartstrings! Whether you hear a radio ad far from home or see a TV commercial playing in a local sports bar, sometimes the Michigan pride just gets us a bit choked up.
7. Going to work in an actual blizzard — and not being fazed by it.
A little snow never bothered a true Michigander. It takes a lot for our schools and workplaces to close due to inclement weather, and we’re fairly accustomed to driving in the midst of a full-blown snowstorm. It might sound strange to those from other states, but we Michiganders have all experienced the strange feeling of navigating a car across an icy tundra.
8. Driving in a new place and almost missing all those Michigan potholes.
Potholes are a major nuisance — they’re bad for our cars, they shake up passengers, and they’re a total eyesore throughout the state. But for many of us, they’re simply a part of life in the Great Lakes State. Of course, no one ACTUALLY misses potholes while traveling, but there’s something bizarre about experiencing truly smooth pavement after years of bumpy navigation.
9. Eating a coney dog while out-of-state and barely recognizing the taste.
You call this a coney dog? If it’s not a Detroit original, it’s tough to fully appreciate. Yes, we know there are all sorts of Coney Island restaurants throughout the United States, but nothing beats the classic taste of a coney from Lafayette or American in the Motor City. Out-of-state eateries simply can’t compete!
10. Meeting someone who doesn’t quite grasp the scope of the Great Lakes.
"Oh, Lake Michigan? You can see across to the other side, right?" Not quite. It’s not uncommon for non-Michiganders to believe that our Great Lakes are nothing to write home about, and they’re sadly mistaken. There’s nothing more frustrating yet ultimately rewarding than having to explain that our beloved lakes are more like freshwater oceans — and they’re pretty darn huge.
11. Watching the Lions experience a winning streak.
If you’ve grown up supporting the Detroit Lions, you certainly understand the familiar disappointment that comes along with watching our boys in blue lose time and time again. Sure, we’ve had some golden years throughout our team’s history, but the recent past has programmed us to expect less than the best. That said, there’s no stranger (or better) feeling than realizing that the Lions are going through a winning streak — maybe someday we’ll even make it to the Super Bowl. This could be the year!
12. Finding sand in places it simply shouldn’t be.
We Michiganders sure do love spending time at the beach. Whether we’re lounging on the shores of Lake Michigan, splashing in the cool waves of Lake Superior, or admiring a sunrise over Lake Huron, there’s no shortage of beachfront fun to be had here. But a day at the beach means lots of contact with sand — and every Michigander has peeled off their bathing suit only to discover that sand has somehow made its way into every last crease and crevice of the body. Enough said.
Have you had any of these bizarre and uniquely Michigan-based experiences? Are there any other items we should have included on our list? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!