I'm not jaded about where I live, and never have been. It is true that Midwesterners in general have a massive front of niceness that is really not at all false--it's a cultural imperative--but it's sort of like they're wearing a porch on the house of their actual emotions, and it may take some time before you feel like you really know them. Oh yes, won't you sit down and have some lemonade, but I think we'll just stay out here because the front door sticks a little bit. But the niceness is real, as far as I'm concerned--it doesn't strike a false note.
My drive home from opera camp winds all the way down the river road and it occurred to me today, not for the first time (or the last), that it is rather magnificent to live along one of the world's great rivers and to walk along it and cross it as casually as other folks walk down the street. I took a long walk during our break yesterday to find some lunch and to take some pictures--nothing special, just a tuna melt and some old bricks and peeling paint. At Lund's, the (female) cashier called me "baby" and seized my wrist to examine my bracelets. (Maybe she didn't grow up in the Twin Cities.) A dumpy young hipster in mismatched browns nearly passed me, and then suddenly asked if my dress was vintage. "It's really cool," he said. I was filled with fellow-feeling, and my lunch was delicious.
On the way home, I pass historic mills and drive beneath the shadow of the Guthrie's jutting promenade. At Lake Street, the bridge over the river into St Paul was crowded with peace demonstrators today. You can see some of them most Wednesdays during rush hour, but for some reason they took my breath away today. Their homemade signs said honk for peace, no blind loyalty to bad policy, end torture, Presbyterians (and all kinds of other religions) for peace. I honked and threw peace signs. Fellow-feeling is easy to come by in the summertime.
During post-game wrapup today at opera camp, someone suggested that the choreographic approach to one of the chorus scenes should involve krumping. I will be laughing about this for the rest of the day. If you would like to see a really embarrassing demonstration of krumping, please go to this clip from Bring It On: All or Nothing. I would really like to skip the hip-hop class tonight, but how can I after re-watching the krumpin?