Magazine article The Progressive

I Didn't Inhale

Magazine article The Progressive

I Didn't Inhale

Article excerpt

Almost every town where I have performed believes it is the center of the universe. Townies are shocked that I plan to leave after my gig and return to my own poor excuse of a town. I find each town's civic-centrism oddly endearing and yet a little embarrassing. Clearly they are unaware that Brooklyn, now massing on the borders of Manhattan, is the endlessly, tediously self-proclaimed center of the universe.

If I have the time in a town, I appreciate a good tour. Each tour guide's particular interests shape the highlights.

In Indianapolis, my guide, a passionate animal rescuer, took me through a shelter that sends dogs to the women's prison, where women train them to be companions for people with special health needs.

In Cincinnati, my guide, a developer of low-income housing, proudly took me through many of her projects. She has made a multigenerational marvel out of a former tool and die factory.

Recently in Colorado, my friend, a fervent Boulder Booster, took me on a tour designed to lure me into moving to her fair town, the actual center of the universe. If you don't have a tendency toward altitude sickness or an aversion to sunny days and are hankering for a pioneering move, Boulder, located at the base of the Rockies, might be just for you. Though Boulderites are politically progressive, I did sense some plains-disdain, similar to Auden's shuddering, "Oh God, please, please don't make me ever live there," in his hilarious poem "Plains."

Our tour coincided with the first day of Boulder's Farmers' Market and mostly white families, students, and farmers were out and fully hydrated. The range, from yoga-toned triathloner to shabby slacker, was so unironic I thought I'd see a "Will work for gluten" sign.

We roamed through the outdoor sculpture garden at the Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art. …

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