Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"You Just Can't Get Good Sushi There!"

When in grad school, we would occasionally hear a particular kind of East Coaster- you know the kind - complain about job offers in such hinterlands as Chicago, or Minneapolis, or Houston.  You know, those barren wastelands, tumbleweeds rolling across the landscape, no Macy's as far as the eye can see.  "They don't have real bagels!" they would say.  "Do they even have a symphony?  Or a theater?  I mean, really, it's all flyover country."

(I exaggerate for effect, but I did really hear heard people say all these things.)

Well, I'm about to move to a small town in the mountains (population 7,000, and I think that might include the students; two miles across).  The nearest medium-sized town (my old friend's home town; I have probably been there a hundred times and have a very good idea of its amenities) has a population of 24,000 and is 40 minutes away.  The next-nearest city-like objects are over an hour away.

Woe is me.

(It's in the middle of the mountains, next to a beautiful river and several state parks.  WOE!!)

I grew up in a pretty rural area - the nearest grocery was a 15-minute drive down the main road - so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm saying when I wonder if one can get good sushi there.  Except I'm not actually concerned about sushi.  Is there an allergist in town?  (Ha ha ha ha no.) In the next town?  (Ha ha ha our crap insurance won't cover it.) Will I have to drive an hour each way?  (Yes.) Is there even an ethnic grocery in any of these places?  (No.) That doesn't cost an arm and a leg?  (Really no.)  Where will I find kosher meat?  (Ha ha ha.  I could start a kosher meat shop!  Not really.)  Am I going to have to bring a cooler every time I go to Richmond?  (Yes.)

Anyhow, just imagine what you'd worry about if you were moving somewhere 1/50 the size of where you are now, and that's how I feel.


  1. Anonymous11:37 AM

    When I lived in Africa, I used to take a cooler in the car across the border to the almost-first-world grocery store in the neighboring country. I was so grateful for the right to do that as the local population would have had to pay exorbitant prices to import those goods. For them (in the end) it was all the same. The local grocery passed down all those charges and then some for the food they had...when they had it. This sounds like a "walked up the hill, two miles both ways, in the snow" anecdote, but really I'm just say I totally get this. And it's frustrating and terrifying. And for folks that haven't been there, it's hard to understand that both of those feelings are absolutely true. Beauty of a place aside, we still want/need access to doctors and food and the occasional luxury. Babbling brooks don't make up for shopping in Richmond. Here's hoping that the sight of a deer and a dew dappled sunrise are currency for something.

    1. I think I know what you mean. Yes, people in less-developed countries don't have our access to food/healthcare/vaccination, and also they die of a lot of preventable shit. Just because it sucks more in other places doesn't mean we all have to be grateful all the time, you know? I'm a little scared to be living in them thar hills again. The distance to quality medical care is a real obstacle even for people in a place of privilege - an HOUR??? - although I suppose at least I don't have to walk both ways.

      However, I've also spent a fair bit of time in Mountain Town, and I know exactly how lovely it is, so I'm looking forward to THAT part.

  2. The only extended time I spent on a coast was during a summer research project in Eugene, OR. The research group had a Wisconsonite with a strong Milwaukee accent, so they were busy teasing him about that. During the 10 weeks I was there, I didn't hear anyone say "flyover country." They were very likely being polite in my presence.

    Gah, an hour from an allergist... Perhaps one of the doctors in town could become educated enough to help you in an emergency. Wishful thinking, I know.

    Focus on: Lovely town! Mama close! Whole weekends without children asking you for ANYTHING! Berry-picking places galore!

    You're getting through the worst of it. Deep breaths, everything will be fine. Eventually.

  3. It's mainly in big-city coastal places, like NY and LA and SF, that one hears it. Eugene's pretty small; I doubt the people there are like that. (One of my old lab's postdocs is faculty there too, btw!) I have, honest to goodness, heard real people say it to my face. Someone also once told Dr. S that he was sure 'people just couldn't get any kind of decent education at a state school.' But, Snooty U.

    In fact any doctor should be able to take care of an emergency- benadryl, oxygen, and epinephrine isn't that complicated - it's the routine care that I'm concerned about.

    But berries! And my mama! And lots of hiking! DEEP BREATHS!

  4. Anonymous3:15 PM

    I grew up in rural isolation. We grew a lot of our own food, and my weirder health issues were simply not dealt with until I moved to Big City In Another Country. Eheu. I don't know whether to offer you condolences or 'but think of the VIEWS!' cheerleading or both or neither or a cookie.

  5. Anonymous3:08 PM

    I am totally spoiled. Growing up outside NYC meant the first musical I saw was on Broadway. When I thought of a museum, I pictured the Museum of Natural History. Pizza- well, real pizza.

    Being in the Northeast meant I've only ever lived 3 hours away (Boston felt podunk) and still had excellent schools and such.

    Totally spoiled.

    I'm a country girl at heart, but I cannot imagine not having Manhattan a train ride away.


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