So here I am in Iowa City, a pretty delightful little town that has greatly exceeded my expectations! Though it doesn't necessarily satisfy my permanent residence requirements of tall buildings and a little grittiness (yes, even in Minneapolis), I actually kind of feel like I could stand to live here--not something I experience very often in Small Town, Midwest.
I am currently sitting in the cafe above Prairie Lights Books, where the coffee is tasty, the WiFi password is "gertrudestein," and there's a sign taped to the counter advertising "PUNK BRUNCH record and book swap." There's a comic book store, an independent record store, and, of all things, another Mesa Pizza, which sustained my hungry and drained-from-car-ride-self last night. There's a pedestrian mall, a few nice-looking boutiques and a thrift store, a charming combination of old brick buildings and new glass ones, and many cheap, beautiful Victorian-midwestern houses with big porches and towers (my favorite). I am entertaining fantasies of graduating from Augsburg, camping in the Southwest for three months, and then scoring a totally-awesome job at the local bookstore/publisher/letterpress/newspaper here, or later, maybe a teaching job as a young hotshot Ph.D.
The most obvious problem with these imaginings (and the very real city itself) appears to be the overwhelmingly large population of big, dudely, corn-fed bros, who were out stalking the streets with backwards baseball caps at all hours of the evening. A brolight: last night, when we got the bar where GBV were playing, I tried to show my very clearly underage ID to one of the four bros working the door, but as I mumbled something about "under 21...mark me if you want..." he snapped, "You need to start paying attention to what's going on!" as he looped a yellow wristband around my arm, indicating that it was totally cool and definitely legal to serve me alcohol. Oops! Gotta love a hypbrocrite. This allowed me to wash down my delicious Mesa with a PBR, which seemed like an infinitely appropriate combination for this particular show.
So even though I am out of money, and I am probably going to bomb my art history test tomorrow (unless I can get an extension--fingers crossed!), I am not so sad that our stupid flat tire caused us to stay here for a little longer than planned. It was worth it to hear GBV play "Over the Neptune" and to discover a cool new place.