(always learn to recognize a Stepford supermarket)
I’ve already been over the middle class crappery going on in my neighborhood, but the plastic, cheerful facade saturates the entirety of my town. My town even has the word “Haven” in it to emphasize its sense of community, fellowship and sanctuary. On the surface, it’s idyllic; it’s lovely. There are lakes and parks to enjoy, downtown happenings, a few cultural events here and there. The people, however, are a different matter altogether (as I’ve shown before). I realize I live in a relatively small town (around 35,000 residents), so I understand the overall tenor around here is bound to be somewhat provincial.
I just cannot get used to the fakes. Sometimes I feel as if everyone around is pitching for a job at a car dealership. Lots of saccharine smiles, hearty handshakes, and uncomfortable small talk. I think there’s also an unspoken rule that residents must belong to a church or a bible-study group, and while that makes sense community-wise, it also reeks of Stepford conventionality.
Underneath the prettiness and “godliness” of it all though lie some “issues” this town and its county can’t seem to shake. Shady politicians and businessmen, prostitution rings, outrageous income disparities, the closings of needed social services, a huge (no pun intended) obesity problem, and…oh…yes…only two years ago, the proud bearer of the coveted title “Meth Capital of the U.S.”
I’m grateful that I have an oasis within my workplace. It seems as if academia, while full of its own brand of fakes of the sycophantic variety, is the only place where others feel as alien, as out of place as I do. Even my colleagues who’ve grown up here are quick to point out the facade. Once in awhile, they even show the “newbies” on campus (if they actually LIKE the newbies) how to play the part in Stepford.
I’ve been here for 11 years now, and while my visage bears the ever-cursed stigma of a (truly) Bitchy Resting Face, I think I can manage a plastic smile or two when needed.
I just don’t have to bloody well like it.