I was at a work function the other day and was being introduced to people from several community agencies. I mentioned that I was new to the area and, when asked where I came from, mentioned that my most recent home was Iowa. An older man in the group said “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!” and when “Pardon?” he responded with “Well, don’t you know that Iowa stands for I Owe the World an Apology?”. This was the start of a very short but very weird rant on his part on how lousy Iowa is (it is, in his view, a place filled with racist rubes whose sole form of entertainment is watching corn grow). It was exceedingly awkward, as conversations go, and I found myself feeling rather defensive about my previous state.
Although Iowa wasn’t meant to be the forever home of the Monkey family, there are things about it that I miss, including:
1. My best buddy E. and her sweet family. I lived across the street from my best friend. How lucky was I? I miss them every day.
2. My neighborhood: New neighborhood seems great so far, but old neighborhood will be hard to beat in terms of friendliness and neighbors who were kind and caring and welcoming.
3. The restaurant within the grocery store phenomenon. Perhaps there are grocery stores here that have the same thing, but the I liked the Hy-Vee, where I could do some homework, eat some totally acceptable pancakes and then go pick up some milk on my way home. All the grocery store down the street here does is, well, sell groceries. Where do all the old people go to drink coffee and chat?
4. My son’s old school. I am ambivalent about his current school so I miss the school around the corner he used to go to school.
5. Parts of Iowa are quite pretty, especially this time of year. I wish I had taken one more hike around Lake Ahquabi before I left. Or done a bike ride on one of the great rails to trails routes in town.
6. The traffic, or lack thereof. It took me close to 45 minutes to get to work the other day and my work is about 6 miles away. It was a worse than usual day but still: Suuuuuuuucks. Rush hour in Iowa? A minor slow down most of the time. Easy peasy.
So, in conclusion, dear vehement Iowa hater: Chill. Take a road trip to Des Moines, drink a boozy milkshake at Zombie Burger and maybe not air out your geography hatred quite so openly during work meetings. Weirdo.