What is means to be from . . .
If you drive north on Route 4 from New Hampshire, you will see a sign as you cross the state border that reads: "Maine, The Way Life Should Be." Behind the sign is a red farmhouse and rolling green hills that lead the eye to the a seamless horizon of primordial evergreens. There are cows dotting the landscape and, in summer, years ago, there was wooden stand that sold fresh corn and tomatoes.
However, Miss Hag. spent the first seventeen years of her life in Maine, and so when I return to this northernmost reach of the United States, the feelings I have are rather different. I enjoy the clean air and the way everyone is so outwardly friendly. But I also remember thinly veiled prejudice and blatant ignorance. The state politics and culture are generally progressive, especially in regards to environmental protection. But, being so far removed from the general populus also creates a certain attitude of separateness which in the wrong person becomes rejection of outsiders.
Today, one of the headlines of the Portland Press Herald regards a bill that is being fought in the state senate. This bill would force libraries to tell parents what books their children check out. It is a prime example of misplaced energies. Whoever proposed such a bill is concerned about what their children might be exposed to, but not so concerned about their right to privacy or the fact that they might not read if they feel they are being watched.
It's this bizarre self-protection that makes Maine a nice place to visit, but certainly not how I would model my life. I'll take Manhattan.