Monday, February 06, 2006

Musing on a Viewpoint

Welcome to Indiana
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I took this picture two years ago on our drive from Connecticut to Bloomington. This place is about 45 minutes north of Bloomington. There must have been a gas station or fast food place right next door because I can't figure out why we would have stopped here otherwise. We don't smoke and we don't pray. I can figure out why I would have taken the picture, though. It was probably in the spirit of "Oh look! Isn't this a riot!" I was enchanted by the proximity of the sale of an addictive substance to a sort of holy-rollerish store-front church. Use your free will to smoke? Get some free will (power) to quit? Lots of possibilities. This was one of many little visual vignettes along the way that made me take pause, made me realize that I was in a different world. Some other signs were the countless billboards for Tom Raper RV sales as we crossed into Indiana, the enormous fireworks store just over the state border, the myriad of discount tobacco stores (do people still smoke that much?), an advertisement for a free chicken with a 100 gallon fill-up and the occasional sign touting the services of a local taxidermy business.

Watching the new landscape with the wide eyes of a visitor to a strange land, I realize now that I still had my "tony suburb lenses" in. Naturally, I evaluated places using Fairfield County, Connecticut as the comparison point. Consequently, most places looked tired, run down, not very affluent...etc. Now, I view places using Bloomington as the basis of comparison. This has happened naturally over time. Bloomington is a more accurate visual picture of middle America...middle geographically to be sure, and certainly middle income - probably slightly on the lower side of the national average. (I have to add that for a town its size (and compared to many much bigger) Bloomington soars far about the national average for culture, amenities and an educated, open-minded population.) Bloomington looked tired to me when I first beheld it, but eventually, it started to look just right. Now, when I visit CT or somewhere economically similar, I am struck by how upscale everything is. It looks exotic to me in the same way that this landscape did when we first moved here. It is interesting how living in a new place can change your perspective over time. Place does matter in how you see the world.

I am getting sort of tired and losing my thread here so I am going to quit the topic for now. I do want to write more though about how much things have changed both externally and internally for me and for us because of our move from the Northeast to the Heartland. There are so many obvious things and many more subtle things that unless I really stop to think about it, I don’t even realize that there has been a change in this opinion or that standard. It’s been two years, now. It’s time for a look back and a look forward I think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! I like that picture.