I love going to new places to knock on doors. There's something about jumping on a plane and heading to the unknown that cause a shift in me, and whatever I was feeling or thinking when I was home somehow gets left there as the mystery of discovering a new place takes over.
There's also something about heading into the unknown that's just... unknown. Many of the places where I get sent to work are far away from Los Angeles, my home, not just in distance but in feel and orientation. And as interesting and exciting as that can be, after about a day or two a loneliness can set in. It's not just being away from the things that remind me of who I am -- my friends, neighbors, yoga class; it's that difference in orientation that causes a bit of a jolt in my system when I realize just how vast and dividedt this country is.
It's a funny thing knocking on doors in faraway places. The plane lands and off you go, feelers on high alert, trying to get a sense of the people and the place you're in. I'm currently in a small town in southwestern Minnesota where tiny towns with populations of less than a thousand dot a landscape of farmland. The towns are quiet, with the only sound being the wind shaking the maple trees and the occasional truck roaring down the highway in the distance. People are working class, connected to the business of farming, and friendly. Walking down the wide, sun-dappled streets, I could feel the nerves in my body relax after the high intensity of L.A.
But today in WalMart I felt nervous. First of all, I'm pretty sure this was the second time I've ever entered a WalMart in my life and frankly, I'm deeply suspicious of everything stores like that represent. But my own urban, liberal and organically-oriented biases aside, I didn't feel comfortable. I felt as if I might get called out for being different, even if I didn't happen to to be wearing my purple faux-fur jacket or my t-shirt that says "Jesus Hates Your SUV". Was it my fear or the fear of the people I was around? Are people in these rural communities as skeptical of we urbanites the way we think they are? Or is it our own slight snobbism that is reflected back to us?