... city residents have tended to be “well compensated for their joylessness”.
But nobody talked to on another — everyone kept their heads down, desperate to avoid having to humanize the people you knew only as, say, the source of the music that blared every weeknight at 4PM or the arguments you could hear through your paper thin walls.
But the communities we lived in, outside of Burlington, made zero effort to help residents get to know each other, or develop a sense of community identity beyond the occasional appeal to NIMBYism whenever someone wanted to install a new wind mill or power line.
“The endgame of parenthood isn’t a 90<sup>th</sup> percentile PSAT score or an above-average place in the national earning distribution.
… when there’s just one school, those concerns are largely rendered moot. As a country we’ve become so fixated on “choice” in our educational systems that we’ve forgotten how freeing it can be when you don’t have to choose.
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The thing you have to understand about “it’s not so bad out there” is that once you say it often enough you start to believe it. In that respect you can think of it as a survival mechanism: it normalizes the unfathomable, endless bitter cold, shrinks it down to something manageable, turns it into a linguistic nicety along the lines of a “you betcha” or an “oh yah”. You have to do this because what is the alternative? The alternative is what Jermey Renner’s character says about 20-below temperatures in the movie Wind River: “you breathe that cold air deep in your lungs… it’ll freeze em. Lungs fill up with blood, you start coughing it up.” Every Winter day in Northern Minnesota people are presented with a choice: they can let the cold air burst their lungs, or they can tell themselves it’s not so bad out and go about their business. They choose the latter.