Earlier this month U of I professor, and author, Stephen Bloom posted an article in the political section of the website the Atlantic addressing the upcoming caucus season and his observations about Iowa, and Iowans, from the past 20 years as a resident. Being a busy time of year, and as one who tends not to pay much attention to politically focused matters, I didn't get the urge to read said article until I started seeing frequent references to it on my friend's Facebook feeds. So last night just before bed I set aside some time to sort through Mr. Bloom's many, many, MANY thoughts about the state of our state.
Today I wanted to take a little time to write this post to thank Mr. Bloom for sharing his wisdom. Until I took the time to decipher his big, fancy words I didn't realize I was doing this whole "living in rural Iowa" thing (or by extension my whole existence as a lifetime rural Midwesterner...minus those 15 glorious months of living in civilization in the KC metro area) COMPLETELY wrong. As someone who graduated from both high school and college with an A average, I can't stand the thought of not performing to the best of my abilities. Luckily I have a few days off over the next few weeks so I can make some adjustments to our lifestyle to better conform to the Mr. Bloom's picture of rural Iowa.
Apparently when Scott and I decided to leave the civilized world of the Kansas City metro to start and raise our family in rural Iowa, we were unaware that we were dooming ourselves to a toothless, digitless, meth addicted existence where instead of using, and even quite possibly extending, our education for gain and betterment of the world around us, we are simply expected to sit around waiting for death to relieve us of the horrors of our life. Today I informed the girls that, like it or not, their Christmas wish lists were to be adjusted to include nothing but hunting riffles, shot-guns, and camo-wear. I mean we are currently living in a state of emergency being as we do not possess one single gun, or ounce of deer meat, in our house so we must all put aside our personal interests for the good of the whole. Instead of going to the traveling Mummy exhibit at the Science Center next week, we'll need to take time to learn how to use our new gifts, so I guess I should probably get out my knitting needles and make up some new cation orange trigger-fingerless gloves to help us stay warm. I'm sure the dogs will be quite surprised when they find themselves in canine hunters' boot-camp, as apparently they can no longer get by on their existence as loving pets alone.
While we are on the subject of food, I can't believe how many years have gone by without someone fully explaining the rules of acceptable potluck participation to me. I now know that the olive-cranberry-walnut tepenade with herbed goat cheese on French bread crostinis and the chicken-quinoa-root vegetable stew that I took to recent potluck events were in clear violation of the "must contain jello, pork, or meat shaped like a loaf" rule, and I will be sure to mend my deviant ways from this point forward. And let's not forget the famed Red Waldorf cake, a delicatessen I can not BELIEVE I have not had the honor of ingesting. I'm thinking I'm not the only one who didn't received a Potluck Participation Guidebook in my new rural Iowa resident welcome packet. I'm not sure how my vegetarian daughter will take the news that she will now be expected to ingest an acceptable number of factory farmed pork chops each month, but maybe the introduction of hard drugs to her system, and the slow subtraction of digits from her limbs, will eventually break her spirit enough that she will agree to conform.
As for me personally I will be looking for a 12-step-program to help me end my yoga practicing/teaching, gay marriage supporting, spiritually tolerant ways. I now understand that I was wrong to think that Christianity was one of many ways for a soul to find spiritual peace, one that until this point I haven't felt was the right spiritual practice for me personally. Apparently I don't get that choice as a rural Midwesterner. I feel fortunate that we don't have to venture out onto a highway to get to a number of places of worship close to our simple, drab home, though I'm not sure our employers are going to quite understand why Scott and I can no longer make it into work since the use of highways must now be reserved for rare and special occasions. Plus, as new residents in THIS rural Iowa town, we need that extra time we would spend at work getting to know each local resident (as not to be strangers) and trying to figure out how we can form a web of family relationship with someone around these parts.
Mr. Bloom's article was so enlightening I could go on and on here about how much we are going to have to change our lives to fit the definition of rural Iowan, but before we have to give up our high speed wireless internet, laptops, and smart phones to conform to the bleak life we are suppose to be living (which is just as well since it's gonna become very hard to type once we start our accelerated digit removal plan), I thought I would share one last picture here on my blog about my life in rural Iowa. The girls and I went out for sushi today while we did a bit of last minute Christmas gift shopping in the heart of Iowa's biggest city.
It will be a wonderful memory to take with me as I slowly slip into my standard issue rural Iowan meth induced haze...