I contribute a weekly column to the Platte County Landmark under the “Rambling Moron” name. It’s a great Northland Newspaper and well worth a subscription. The following is an copy of my article which appeared in the 5/25/12 edition – printed with permission.

JACKSON COUNTY: IT’S A WHOLE NEW WORLD 
Posted 6/1/12
I’ve recently started a new job in the River Market area. After living and working in the Clay-Platte area my entire life, even though it’s only about 15 minutes south of my home, this new environment is going to take some getting used to.

First off, bus fumes take a while to get used to. In Platte County, I was used to seeing a bus about once a week. Where I work now, they come by about once every 15 minutes spraying black smoke everywhere. The busses are empty, but I guess that’s because they must’ve just dropped all their passengers off, right?

This is also the first job I’ve gotten where I’ve had to travel with rush hour traffic. I’ve been very lucky that my 20 minute commute in the past has always taken 20 minutes. Now, a simple 15 minute commute might take 25-30 minutes if some idiot breaks down on the bridge in the wrong spot.

Another peculiar thing about working in the River Market area, other than the fish smell from City Market vendors, is that everyone down here wears goatees. Now, I’m used to full beards from my friends in Platte County and the faux Johnson County ‘preppy” look from my friends in Liberty and Clay County, but this goatee thing has me very confused. You don’t get the full benefits of having a carpet for your face, yet you still have to shave every couple of days. Seems like something an indecisive person might wear. Do I want to have a portion of my cheeks that are smooth? Or do I want to still have food stuck to my face? Tough choice.

Once you travel “inside the downtown loop” oh sure, the buildings are taller, but suddenly every road turns in to a one-way street. There’s really no reason for this other than to allow for parking on one side even though nobody parks there. And the location I’m trying to get to is always on the block that I’m at the wrong end of causing me to loop back around resulting in my GPS lady yelling at me. “Turn around when possible.” Well, if it were that easy, Tom-Tom Lady, I’d have been there already.

The office spaces down here are also very unique and ones that I haven’t seen “up north” (that’s how they call us folk, by the way, “You must be from “up north.”) is the combination of bomb shelter mixed with new age. You might have a brick building with dust on the floor surrounded by expensive art deco paintings on the wall and a spiral staircase. I guess that’s a hipster space, but you can’t say the word “hipster” down here otherwise they spit in your coffee and don’t give you the free wi-fi code at the coffee house.

It’s very odd how you can literally travel over a bridge and be transported to a new world, but that’s the way it is down here. I’ll have more reports from the land of the goatees later in the year.

(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. He also hosts “The Kansas City Baseball Vault on ESPN 1510 AM Thursday at 6 p.m. Reach him through his web site, ramblingmorons.com)