Middle of nowhere
Nick and I made it back from the long trip to Iowa, and just a little worse for wear. After spending 11 hours on the road and approximately eleventy bazillion hours with our butts parked in lawn chairs in near-100 degree heat, we had enough and surrendered. I never thought I'd be so happy to make it back home to a city with at least one Starbucks and a Wal-Mart or Target.

This small Iowa town where Nick's relatives are from reminded me a lot of the tiny speck of a town where I grew up. We didn't have modern conveniences, like overpriced coffee beverages, in my hometown either. And somehow I managed to live a good 20 or so years there, chai tea-free.

At the reunion in Iowa, one of Nick's sisters was getting directions from someone to get to a restaurant. The direction-giver said to turn after the ATM, and my sister-in-law thought it was so hysterical that this little town had only one ATM and that it was such a landmark. But what's even funnier? I can't think of a single ATM in my hometown. If you wanted cash, you had to drive to the bank during normal operating hours, park, get out of your vehicle and spend all those minutes writing out a real-live, made-of-paper WITHDRAWAL SLIP. (Right before you turned around and hiked to school uphill both ways barefoot in the snow.)

So my hometown may not have had a fancy pants high-tech ATM, but we had plenty of other landmarks of our own that I'm sure you'd be jealous of. There were two gas stations (yes, TWO) and there was a grocery store that I had the pleasure of working at. Our grocery store boasted six entire aisles and two checkout lanes, so eat your heart out, Wal-Mart. Also, can I get a WOOT WOOT for representin' as the county seat?

Even though small-town life is what I came from and what I should know so well, being in that little town in Iowa felt strange this weekend. I guess I'm getting so used to traffic and stoplights and stores, rather than grain elevators and brick streets and barbershops, that maybe I've sort of forgotten how it feels to go back to living at a calmer pace. I've forgotten how to just enjoy other people's company, sitting in a lawn chair out in the middle of nowhere, and have that be enough.

But, um, it wasn't enough, so now if you will excuse me, I have to rekindle my long-lost relationship with WiFi, TiVo and air conditioning. Ahh, it's good to be back.


Anonymous alyndabear said...

That sounds very quaint, actually. (In small doses though.) I guess when you don't have anything bigger to compare to, life seems just fine!

Blogger velocibadgergirl said...

MB's town is so small they don't have a Target. In fact, the closest Target is in a city 45 minutes away. 45 minutes away! They have to drive 30 minutes to go to Denny's. No movie theater, either. I can see driving 30 minutes to Denny's and 40 minutes to the movies, but how can people live without a Target??

Blogger heidikins said...

I'm a small town girl myself; one gas station, a teeny bank, no grocery store, and a volunteer fire department that had a huge breakfast fundraiser every year. I don't think we had a 4-way stop until I was in high school. And as a kid it was awesome - we played outside and learned to be content with less... as an adult, it's practically torture. I prefer skyscrapers and Starbucks on every other corner.

Blogger L Sass said...

MY dad is from a town like that. Their town cafe is a POTLUCK. Everyone takes a turn each month to bring all the food and run it. Not exactly Starbucks, but priceless all the same.

Blogger janet said...

did I ever tell you I lived in Des Moines for 2 cold winter months? It wasn't the highlight of my life. Small town Iowa is much different I'm sure. Do your parents go to the caucuses?

I went to Decatur, IL for a business trip a few months ago, and I asked the front desk clerk at my hotel for directions to the meeting address. We had about 5 minutes of her telling me to turn left at the gas station, and me saying "which gas station?". I desperately tried to get her to give me some more detail, like the name of the station, or the name of the street I'd be turning on to, and she just kept saying "The gas station. Once you pass it, turn left."

It didn't occur to me that there could be only one gas station in a town, and only one road on the left!

Blogger Lindsey said...

I love small towns, but if I have to live in one, I have to be able to get to a mall within no longer than 30 min. I grew up in the suburbs so it wasn't as rural as Nick's town, but I don't think we had more than 2 gas stations!

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