And after over 10 years of residing in this liberal lakeside paradise I feel fairly well qualified to expound on its particular quirks and stereotypes.
Which is why I had to laugh to myself today when I pulled up on my bike to the UW Credit Union ATM out front of the Willy St. Co-op - and there I was (already fulfilling several Madison archetypes myself), surrounded by:
- The old guy who plays bluegrass guitar and busks,
- A little girl making friends with a middle-aged fella and his shaggy German Shepherd, and
- A not-entirely-right-in-the-head gentleman ranting at what I can only assume was an innocent bystander just trying to eat his late lunch about imperialist wars in Libya and Blackwater conspiracies and things of that nature.
The impulse can all too often lead to some craziness, as well.
Much of the neighborhood had come out to gawp (I did, too) at the totaled car and toppled pillar. Earlier, apparently, many of them had come to see if they could help. I took a moment to be grateful that no one was seriously hurt, and to marvel at how fast the car must have been traveling to not only get through the barriers that block off the front of the bank, but to completely upend one of the stone pillars.
Maybe it was the springtime crazies clouding the driver's better judgment. Maybe they'd had a bad day. Maybe they just shouldn't have been driving. Regardless, I love that I live in a city where your neighbors generally give a crap about what's going on around them/each others' well-being, are friendly (for the most part*) with strangers, and are a little more comfortable with everyone's eccentricities. Madison ain't perfect, but it's my kind of getting there.
*The gentleman who swore at me while I was working today would be the most recent exception to the rule that I've encountered.