Friday, May 9, 2003

Living in a mid-sized city in this part of the Midwest is definitely a mixed experience.

In one sense, there is no way that we are the white bread monolith that the more cosmopolitan would suggest - when I take Joseph to the park across the street, he is quite often the only White Boy there (and yes, in his little striped shirt and overalls, does he look White Boy - circa 1953, to boot), in a melting pot of African-Americans, Latinos, a good proportion of biracial kids and, each and every time, at least one little Asian kid there with his or her adoptive parents. Sun-deprived? Sure. Homogeneous? Nah...

On the other hand...

Heterogeneity does not cosmopolitan make. Nancy regularly mourns the lack of interesting ethnic restaurants here, and that's only the beginning, and it's a puzzle, considering the cool ethnic neighborhoods you can find in other cities in the Midwest. Heck, there's not even a decent, authentic German restaurant in this Town of a Million Lutherans.

So anyway, all of this leads up to the most insignificant story: Me sitting with Joseph at Wendy's, him with his chicken nuggets, me with my Southwestern Chicken Salad (our reward for going through the trauma of car repair this morning), and I overhear (surprise, surprise, my husband remarks as he reads this) a woman at the next table instructing a little girl what to look for when she takes her impending trip to Orlando:

"The billboards! Don't forget to look at the billboards! They have the best billboards in Orlando - they're all 3-D and they're lit up at night!"

Offering a ray of hope to the future of Fort Wayne, the little girl was obviously and painfully unimpressed...

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