I’ve been living here in n.w. Iowa* for nearly 3 months and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how easily I’ve acclimated.
How acclimated, you ask? Well, when I first moved here, I could detect more than eleven levels of offensive odor coming from the Tyson hog works on the other end of town; I closed my windows for all but level one, wrinkled my nose at everything above a 3, and tried to stay indoors during 5-11. Now I recognize just three levels of abattoir odor: What a nice day, Oh yeah, we have a slaughterhouse in town, and Holy Mother of GAAHH! I will shut the windows on a GAAHH day if it occurs to me and I’m already up.
How acclimated? Last Saturday I drove 60 miles to Sioux City for the sole purpose of visiting the Hobby Lobby. I bought a book of knitting patterns and 6 skeins of yarn and then I had a bagel and cream cheese at the cafe next door to Hobby Lobby. I was there and back by noon and it was the absolute highlight of my week.
How acclimated? I’m already contemplating entering some of my knitting in the county fair next summer. I’ve had idle thoughts about learning how to can. I ate some jambalaya in the school cafeteria yesterday — jambalaya meant to appeal to native Midwestern students who find dark-light swirl rye bread disturbingly exotic — and I thought it was too spicy.**
So what does my easy and near-complete*** transition into rural life mean? Am I simply that plastic, molded by my surroundings and possessing little or no true character? Was I somehow warped by my extensive childhood viewing of Green Acres and Petticoat Junction and only now discovering my inner gingham dress? Or (and this is the truth, I feel), is Reno, NV, where I’ve lived the majority of my life, really just a big small town, as it used to claim on its welcome arch?
I guess we won’t know the truth for sure unless and until I put my hair in pigtails and take a bath in the water tower.
*I was going to write rural n.w. Iowa, but then I realized it was a thrice-repetitive term.
**I cut the spicy taste with a slice of white bread spread with oleo.
***I WILL NOT eat Miracle Whip. One must hold the line somewhere.