Living in a small town in Central Pennsylvania for the past two years has been, to put it nicely, a surreal experience.  While I have appreciated wandering around a multitude of antiques shops on Sunday afternoons among the oddities and objects of other people’s lives, and while I have managed to find an excellent coffee shop to write in and great places to buy local produce or get homemade icecream,* the pervasive, skin-crawling silence of this place has really done a job on me.  I thought the creepiness was just in my head, but apparently such isolation has also influenced my daily doings, as evidenced by the note my downstairs neighbor left before moving out last week:

Thanks for the biscotti!, she wrote, you were a wonderful (eerily quiet???) neighbor.

I can’t wait to live in a city again.  The prospect of having the ambient noise and motion of other people around me– if only to serve as a reminder that I am not, in fact, the only living person left on the planet– is so comforting that I have begun to count down the days to Operation: Exodus as if it were a holiday or  much-anticipated trip instead of another arduous move.  The mere thought of meeting more than the same three people during my daily activites is making me almost giddy!

I get the sense that most of us here at RockJuice are living in or pretty close to cities; I never thought of myself as a city person till I lived in Lewisburg and felt the silence and isolation like a juicer crushing the soul from my body.  And so, I wonder– have any of you guys lived in the middle of nowhere for an extended period?  Did it agree with you? I used to relish the idea of living in a secluded house somewhere (possibly with a turret and maybe also a moat full of fishes and monsters…), but I think I’ve managed to short myself out on the whole low-civilization front.  I suspect that from now on I will have a very limited, weekend-getaway-to-some-quaint-b&b tolerance for small towns.

*Did you know that Pennsylvanians consume more ice cream per capita than any other citizenry in the union?  True story.  There is a reason Philly is (was?) the fattest city in America (ice cream, TastyCake, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cheesesteaks…I could go on).

But enough of this whininess!  In addition to documenting the sushi experience last month, I also took a bunch of pictures of the shenanigans involved in Easter-egg dying with my youngest sister** that I figured people might enjoy (Sorry for the repeats, Stephtacular– I know you’ve seen these already).

**Yeah, I’m 27.   What’s it to ya?

And so, without further ado, I present to you an album titled Secular Easter Gets Profane, or, How to Make My Catholic Grandmother Roll Over in Her Grave:


3 responses »

  1. leDeb says:

    If you can call Lincoln, NE a small town in the middle of nowhere – I did it for 18 years. Only now am I able to go back and fully appreciate it’s small-ness and I love it. I often think that near the middle to end of my lifetime, I will find myself in a place with only birds for company.

    As for your eggs – eggcellent! When we dyed eggs as a family, someone always had to make the “Jesus” egg. We balanced that out by making eggs for all of the family pets, too.

  2. Jo says:

    The middle of nowhere–yes, I know it. Charlottesville, while cute in all of the ways you’ve described (they even had a little boutique that I still think about) was just miserable after four years of flanerie all across Boston. I used to think of Charlottesville as a sort of bubble–if you went more than about ten miles in any direction, you’d bump up against the walls of the bubble. or against the borders of rednecky-nothingness. Either way.

    I used to drive from Charlottesville to visit my family in Western PA, through West Virginia and miles of miles of that rednecky-nothingness. I remember listening to the Cold Mountain soundtrack (a little joke of mine) while heading south across the Mason-Dixon Line on a detour that had taken me off of the highway and onto an abandoned, single-lane road. It was an excellent moment to reflect upon my pronounced (though perhaps only nominal) Yankee-ness.

    Sometimes I get that bubble feeling in Madison, but it never seems as bad. Maybe I do just need to stay north of the Mason-Dixon.

  3. kirsey says:

    I’ve never lived in a small town but often thought of my hometown of Edina, MN as a bubble. Being that people born and rasied in Edina tend to think the rest of the outside world doesn’t exist and then they are afraid to go to Madison, WI for college because there are BUMS that hang out on the street (CAN YOU BELIEVE HOMELESS PEOPLE HANG OUT THERE, AWWWHHHH!). Not all of Edina is like that, but there are a lot. And a lot of Edina people will eventually wind up back there so there kids can grow up in the same ideal bubble, and so on and so on (not saying that that might not happen to me either).

    I now live in a quiet little neighborhood in South Minneapolis and can’t imagine leaving for a very long time. I love the feel of the small amongst the large city. I could never actually live in a small town, I’d go stir crazy and kind of need constant stimulus (like my neighbor kids throwing nerf balls into our yard and my dog constantly barking at them, with love of course).

    By the way, love your trippy blue egg, BEAUTIFUL!

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