Someone posted on a bulletin board for academics how to balance a great job and a yuck location. Here is what I wrote back:
Some people would say I have a yuck location: small town in mid Atlantic state. Not a great college town (no indy bookstore), but some college town qualities. I TAKE recycling to Saturday recycling and it is this totally social time. I will see 15 people I know, 2/3rds of them university people. I have been here ten years, raised my kids so far here, and it is a good place for me. Three-four hours to big cities, lots of natural beauty, etc.
But we loose people all the time, younger, gay, needing more cosmopolitan atmosphere, people of color who are not welcomed enough OR who just don’t feel at ease.
For people who complain ‘there is nothing to do” I am kind of dismissive. Between this university and others, you can go to SOMETHING almost every night.
BUT, I grew up in a lilly white suburb of a sunbelt city. “Pinko commie” was how my HS classmates often taunted me. I went to college in the mid west. I’ve lived in European cities too. But, when we got the offer to come here, I sort of made peace that it is my destiny to be a bright light of minority thinking and being in a sea of Sarah Palin’s “real America.” But that is a fantasy too, the “real America.” There are interesting folks and quriks and interstitial moments everywhere.
But the life of the missionary of enlightnement and tolerance among the savages of wonderbread cuisine, unproblematic flag-waving, and we-don-t-like-furgners squints is not the life for everyone.