Thursday, February 14, 2008
the loveliest village
The one drawback to the fixed webcam is the image reversal you see here. C'est la vie. I'm composing this dispatch from Auburn, where I'm attending a conference. My "posse," the former Jane Austen Reading Group, has yet to assemble, so I walked to Mellow Mushroom tonight to pick up pizza and a large Abita root beer to go. I strolled down the street, as the sun set, leaving the temperature hovering around 50, and I felt glad. I ate too much pizza in my hotel room and then finished my presentation. It still needs a round of proofreading, but I can't look at it anymore tonight.
Where to begin drawing the contrasts between this former home and school of mine to where I am now? A vast gulf divides us. And I realize how I've become re-midwesternized when I'm surprised that every person I pass on the street says hello, and every man holds open a door. And the accent....oh, how I love it. And miss it. I had a moment of cognitive dissonance this afternoon when I drove into town and was listening to NPR and hearing a thick Wisconsin accent (of course the Dairyland State is receiving major press attention because of the pending political primary on Tuesday).
I can't seem to find the version of myself who lived here, but that's okay. I didn't really expect to, and in many ways I'm very glad that she has been absorbed into who I am now. I think of my life as a series of small transformations, whose additive sum eventually creates a new version of myself.
On my way to Auburn I had the chance to catch up with my friend M for the first time in years. We had a lovely long lunch, and then I was back on the road, in my rental car, a silver Mustang that purrs. Suddenly, my G6 seems rather weak...
Tomorrow I'll reconnect with more friends, and spend some time on my own wandering my old haunts. And remembering how much I came to love this loveliest village on the plains.