Friday, August 10, 2007


Okay. So I'm going to be open-minded. There will be things to like here, right? There are good things about every place. Right?

Here's the deal: My apartment is pleasant, light, quiet, and consoling. Everyone I've met is nothing but friendly. But the town...oh, the town. Field Town, I am disappointed in you.

What I'm realizing (in the 3 days that I've been here) is that there are certain things that I like to have nearby. Near enough to walk to, ideally. Or to bike to--but there's no bike shop in town, so even if there were these things in bikeable range, I wouldn't be able to get to them. These are the things that I like to the point of needing:
  1. a yoga studio (or, at worst, a gym with yoga classes)
  2. a decent grocery store or farmers' market
  3. a bookstore (other than the campus bookstore, which only sells course books)
  4. multiple restaurants
  5. a pleasant place to have a drink
  6. a nice cafe
There's a good-looking coffee shop not too far from me, so we've got #6 covered. But 1-5? Not so much. Not at all, actually. The only drugstore/general-store nearby is a CVS. The only grocery store is a major chain with no organic yogurt or vegetables and a sorry selection of cheeses. Main Street is littered with empty buildings. All of this--well, it depresses me. I'm seriously considering starting to make my own yogurt and cheese--but I need to take care not to get too ambitious, given the workload that's about to fall upon me.

It's a shame.

Last night, making dinner, I suddenly felt sad. More than that: I felt afraid. What if this was all a mistake? I wondered. What the hell, in fact, was I thinking? Moving all the way out here, away from everyone I care about and the lifestyle I'm used to (and love), for a short-term, middlingly-paid job that I'm not actually sure yet that I'll like? Am I insane? Is everyone secretly thinking, "Wow, that j, she sure made a nutty decision there"?

Then, of course, I thought about how many of my friends have done this exact same thing, for the same stakes and with all the same discomforts (some in far, far worse places), and I felt a little better.

--Sort of. Because just how bizarre is this profession, that we expect to have to live far away from our families, friends, and partners, going through exhausting moves year after year, often postponing having children, just in the hopes of one day being able to settle in approximately the part of the continent that we'd prefer? Or in the hopes of being able to settle somewhere, period?

I know that this is an old subject, and I don't have anything new to add; nor can I imagine a plausible solution. I've thought about this a lot before, too. But living it--well, it adds a certain reality to the madness. I know that I'll get used to this place, and will probably like it fine before the year is out. (Maybe I'll break down and get a car--surely all the things I want are within half an hour of here. And I used to walk half an hour to yoga, so what's the difference? Other than the fossil fuel consumption, of course.) Right now, though, it just seems crazy.


Sisyphus said...

Ok, the important thing is it's short-term, temporary. Just keep your head down and this too shall pass.

(BTW, did you get your internet hooked up?)

Keep looking around ... I assume there's not much in the way of public transportation? The stuff might be there but you have to find it still. I would go buy a bike anyway cause that will expand your range. Heck, the biking could serve as your yoga substitute?

Or maybe you'll need to get a different sport/exercise. Or buy yoga tapes and do them at home. Or is does the town have a parks & recreation dept.? Ours held classes for cheap and had public tennis courts and stuff --- but you may be in a really really small place. Does the school offer any classes or gym stuff?

There's always the internet for ordering books ... I'll keep brainstorming on the other needs.

Hilaire said...

Oh, man. I hear you. For reasons I will surely blog about in the coming days. (Though my city is not nearly as small as your town.)

I am sorry it's weird, and I have nothing but sympathy to add. It's okay to be weirded out and to not find the silver lining behind every phenom. Especially this early in the game.

heu mihi said...

Good suggestions, and thanks! I've decided to take this move as a sign that I need to get my act together and start an actual home yoga practice. We're on day 2 of that and we'll see how it goes.

Feeling better, at any rate. Moments of culture shock are to be expected...but yes, it's just one year!

medieval woman said...

I'm glad you're feeling better - I know exactly how you feel - at a certain point in time, it all just feels surreal and totally out of your control. I'm glad you found a nice cafe (from your most recent post) and I definitely think you made the right decision - you are going to OWN next year's market! :)

Bardiac said...


When I worked in a small town, I found that other faculty folks tended to do stuff: a yoga group, food co-op stuff, and so forth. I hope you find something similar.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oh, I so know how you feel! Both on being weirded out and on the small town thing. The small town I used to work in was not so much about the yoga, I'm sorry to say. (In fact, I'd think you were living there except that I know their medieval lit person hasn't gone anywhere!) And yes, it is truly bizarre that academics have to go through this rite of passage to get "real" jobs. Totally bizarre.

I want to second Bardiac, though, that you'll probably get to know other faculty really easily because of the smallness - that part was really nice about working in a small town. There's always a lull right before classes when everyone's trying to stay away from campus as much as possible, but once classes start, I suspect things will feel much better!