A great weekend away, spent in my old stomping grounds of Iowa City.
More to come later, I'm sure, but for now, a brief illustration which serves to explain why Iowa City initially seemed so appealing to me, and why it eventually became a stultifying trap from which I was eager to escape:
Driving down Dodge, one of the many beautiful, tree-lined streets in town, behind a car with an Obama sticker in the rear window. Beside that is another sticker, VISUALIZE PEACE. Unafraid to devolve into a parody of a typical armchair progressive, the bumper sported a I LOVE MY CO-OP sticker. The final touch? The car in question was a Prius.
I swear, I wanted to run the damned thing off the road and kick some hippie ass.
The worst thing about my time living in Iowa City was the terrifying realization that people with whom I shared so much common ground--politically, socially, artistically--were such colossal dicks. It's not just that so many of them were humorless scolds who affected a sense of superiority, it's that they were mostly awful people. As a blue collar worker in a so-called progressive town, I was routinely treated like dirt, like a lesser life form, something less than human. The only people I encountered while working who actually spoke to me, engaged me in conversation more beyond the occasional politely chilly greeting, were the few hardcore Republicans dwelling in this quintessential college town.
It was while living there that I realized actions really do speak louder than words. Not the easy actions--diligent recycling, buying organic, sending money to Amnesty International--but the one that matters every day: treating your fellow human beings with a modicum of respect.