Friday, July 21, 2006

Disconnected and Displaced

[Watch out folks, here comes another pensive post.]

Last night, while I was driving back from dinner, with my friend Emma, I started thinking about how displaced I am in this rural part of Pennsylvania. I am not sure that it is altogether a bad thing, but it does hit me now and again that I live here. This isn't a way station, like the many places I lived in during my education. I own a house, I have laid down some roots, I like my friends here. And yet, as I drove along route 30, from one small town to the next, I couldn't help but feel like an alien to this place.

I have found little oases in these towns, place that remind me of where I come from. I am an urban creature, who longs for vibrant, diverse communities. But, I live in an area where the families go back before the Civil war. People live in their houses, and rarely do you see them pour out into the public square, milling about, enjoying their neighbors. It is hard to meet people in such a place. You feel like you are always on the outside. And, when you dare to cross that threshold, someone immediately reminds you of your outsider status. It is not impossible to live under these conditions. I have adapted by finding my oases. I hang out largely with other faculty. I have recreated the my urban life.

Still, I feel disconnected. I can't shake the feeling that I am passing through.