Dating an america
Every stop gave us an opportunity to slip into a brand-new identity.
Did we want to spend Saturday nights down at the rodeo, decked out in cowboy boots and bolo ties in Wimberley, Texas?
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Some suitors — like Asheville, North Carolina; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Sedona, Arizona — didn’t make it past the first date; they lacked some essential quality we demanded in a long-term partner.
Other times we hit it off with a city early on, but the more we hung around, the more our differences punched through the surface. But after spending six weeks there, the rose-colored glasses shattered and we saw what the tech boom had actually wrought: an inflated housing market, huge income disparities, and unbearable traffic.
Anytime we booked more than three days in a place, we fast-tracked the getting-to-know-you process by plunging ourselves into the daily scrum.
We shopped for Bibb lettuce at the local farmers’ market, combed the event listings in the alt weekly, and made ourselves “regulars” at the coffee shops nearest our rentals.