Jenny and I are sitting in the hot springs pool of the Days Inn in Thermopolis, Wyoming, the evening of our last night here. The weather is calm and clear after a flash thunderstorm appeared earlier in the day. It left a fresh scent in the air, keeping the dust and dirt down or washing it away entirely. As we sit down and relax another group comes to join us. The woman walks up, complaining that her box of wine was now empty as she quickly hops in.

“Where are you from?” She asks.

“Portland. Oregon.” Jenny quickly replies.

The woman thinks for a second to herself, staring at her empty glass.

“I’m from Wisconsin. We’re the only state without an accent!” she proudly proclaims. Saying it with a kind of enthusiasm like it was the state motto on the billboard as you cross the border.

Wisconsin: The Accent-less State.

“That’s neat” Jenny says with a puzzled curiosity, “We’ve never been. What is there to do in Wisconsin? Like, if we were to visit?”

“Well.” She pauses, thinking for a second. Her eyes moving back and forth while her tongue shifts in her mouth, “we’re the only state without an accent!”

A few months later I tell this story to a co-worker from Wisconsin who has as very distinct accent, she doesn’t find it as funny.