I arrived on January third, on Second St and First Ave – it was dark and cold. The next few weeks would remain cold, as well as sufficiently dark, but not depressingly so. I moved to an apartment on the border of Iowa City and Coralville, and the latter is where I navigated Horned Beast (my bicycle) for the first few weeks – in the frigid, burning, icy and windy air – to the Hyvee local super market for necessities, the Tierra Coffee for some coffee and reading and writing time, and firstly to the Post Office to change my address, as the USPS website has serious malfunctions in its change of address link.
To the south, as First Ave becomes Mormon Trek Blvd (the name of this road induces discomfort, especially after reading A Study In Scarlet) is found the University of Iowa Community Credit Union (no, not like the Soviet Union), who were nice enough to open an account for me at the last minute before closing time; the staff were most excellent! In the same plaza is a Java House coffee shop - it is the coziest cafe I have ever been in, with fireplace and lots of seating and some of which designated not for people who are studying, so that others may enjoy a cuppa as they sit in an area specifically for socializing, and no, no area is cordoned off from another totally, but by 3 or 4 foot wooden barriers – it all looks very nice, and is very inviting. The Hartig Drug store (“America's second oldest continuously operated family drug chain,” from hartigdrug.com) is in the same shopping plaza as the credit union and coffee shop, and sells some Iowa-created wine for something around $10.00, I tried the Cherry wine – it is excellent – if you like to savor the flavor of true cherries.
Today was the first warm day of the month, warm enough for snow to become muddy water and mush to be sprayed all about me as I road Horned Beast to two separate interviews today. First impressions came about today since it was my first excursion into the University town, and also, and probable primarily because it was a thaw day, and everyone was happy to be out, walking about and even more people riding bicycles! And I found a bicycle shop by accident! Excellent! And a music store, tobacco shop, and military surplus store, all-in-one! That was just a joke to play on expectations, but you can find them all separately, so – also Excellent! What else, a few key first impressions...
People outside, standing still, smoking. People like smoking cigarettes when it is nice to stand outside – very enjoyable! I smoke a pipe, just like your granddaddy, and the same kind of tobaccy too, no funny stuff.
Hills! The maps said nothing about hills! I was out of breath several times today, riding up and down and up and down and etc. on those hills – how invigorating!
One way streets! I couldn't tell at all, until I was almost hit bar a car, then a truck, then another car, then a fire truck, a semi, another bicyclist, and then I begin to not be mystified by the beautiful little town and the many shops that are still new to me, and the many beautiful ladies, and actually notice that yes, Jonathan, Iowa City has one way streets!
Really though, the hills that make up the landscape were the number one surprise, and while not necessarily pleasant, the hills will continue to provide great exercise and beauty throughout the seasonal cycles.
Oh. And floods. Last year, 2008, witnessed a fairly devastating flood. Let's hope no such thing occurs while I'm here, but it will be a new experience on my part if one were to occur; perhaps Horned Beast will become flood friendly.
What do I miss about Chicago? What do I miss about yesterday's sh*t? Same question.
Oh, I am worried now. So as not to offend the ten or eleven decent people living in that not so fair city, I will disclaim: But this is "my truth" - eh, Nietzsche, eh?! Okay, you got me, I will miss the architecture of Chicago, but hey! Iowa City has great architecture too, though on a smaller, less grandiose scale. God, Iowa City is great.
Causes Jonathan Winters Supports
Environmental and social justice causes. Educational causes through interpersonal relationships